Sarvanna Bhavan, New York, New York
81, Lexington Avenue
New York - 10016
Lexington Avenue in Manhattan boasts of several Indian restaurants; it’s also known as 'Little India'. To survive on this street, one must serve delicious and authentic Indian food. Sarvanna Bhavan does exactly that by serving savory South Indian vegetarian dishes.
My friend and I visited this restaurant this past weekend. It has a simple and charming environment, very clean, not smelly at all, and all the customers are given a warm welcome. When we walked in, the restaurant was packed! It is always good to see that there are many Indians enjoying a meal at a South Indian restaurant. Kids, parents, families, friends, couples- you see all of them here.
The service was quick, there was not much of a wait between ordering food and having it on the table. We started with Filter Coffee (a South Indian specialty), it was a bit too strong, not sure why, but it was served in a steel glass with a steel cup to cool it; it was well foamed and we enjoyed it. It was served just the same way as in South India.
For appetizers, we ordered Mysore Bonda (lentil fritters just the way they are made in the grandiose city of Mysore, India). The Bonda was very well cooked, delicious, and was served with Sambhar (lentil soup), coconut chutney, and cilantro coconut chutney . Everything was yummy, hats off to them for getting the coconut chutney right!
For the main meal, we ordered Rava Masala dosa (Dosa is a lentil and rice crepe, but in a Rava Dosa, there is no rice or lentil used, instead semolina is used). The Masala (stuffing) consisted of mashed potato and onion, a typical masala for dosa. This dish came with two chutneys and sambhar, and it was very good!
I ordered Mysore Masala Dosa with onions, and although it was great overall, I was slightly disappointed by the big chunks of onions, they could have been chopped finer. Also, a Mysore Dosa specialty is that the dosa has a thin layer of red Mysore chutney, which in this case could have had a bit more salt spicy; mine was bland. This, too, was served with chutneys and sambhar.
I would rate Aarvanna Bhavan A- for service and A for the food.
Afterthought: If you are looking for a leisurely ambience where you can eat and relax, this may not be the place for you. The number of people coming in and out disrupts the flow a bit. As soon as you finish your meal, the waiters are quick to hand you the check and you feel obligated to leave sooner.
Thank you Sarvanna Bhavan!