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Has Anyone Tried Om South Indian in San Rafael?

Haven't had time to stop in, but just noticed this new restaurant while I was getting some tires put on across the street (1500 block of 4th St.). The menu looked good: puris, dosas, uttapam.

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  1. Yes, my son and I went for the first time Monday and loved it. We started with the Medhu vadal (fried lentil donuts served with sambar and coconut chutney) hot out of the fryer. We both thought they were great. I had had this dish before at Udipi Palace and thought these were better. My son had the 5 cocktail Uthappam, thick patties made with dosa dough and filled variously with onions, chilis, potaotes, nuts. Also terrific. I had the Kozhi varutha curry, chicken in pepper sauce and coconut milk with a plain dosa on the side. This stew had a soulful depth of flavor that I think reflects the fact that Om seems to be an authemtic and family run business. Others will have to confirm the authentic part as I am not versed enough on South Indian Food to know for sure. The service was very attentive, everything prepared to order, though it must be said that we were the only customers between 6 and 7 that night. The place is very nicely appointed and I liked the music they were playing so much (Kadri Gopalnath) that I downloaded one of his albums that night.
    I hope to return soon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gumbolox

      >I had the Kozhi varutha curry, chicken in pepper sauce and coconut milk with a plain dosa on the side. This stew had a soulful depth of flavor that I think reflects the fact that Om seems to be an authemtic and family run business.<

      I'd appreciate it if you'd describe how spicy (especially how hot) your Kozhi varutha curry was. Ours Friday night (the chowdown) was very mild. Good subtle flavors and I liked it, but it was definitely mild all around in spite of the "cooked with fiery peppers" menu description.

      1. re: Mick Ruthven

        As I mentioned I am not well versed on South Indian food, just really liked the Kozhi varutha curry. It was not seeringly hot, but I thought it had plenty of flavor. I do enjoy but do not require hotly spiced food.

    2. Returned today for lunch, and was able to order the Tanjore crab curry although it is officially only on the dinner menu. This is a wonderful whole crab dish equal to any of the great Chinese or Vietnamese whole crabs I have had in the Bay Area. Rich spicy curry that was a perfect compiliment to the crab and delicious mopped up with their hot fresh Chapaathi or spooned over the Basmati rice. Enough for 2 at 18.99. After 2 visits, Om is on track to be one of my favorite Indian Restaurants in the Bay Area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gumbolox

        gumbolox, thanks for your postings. We ate quite well there on Friday night, here's the chowdown report -
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349664

      2. I am so happy to hear about that. Did you notice if they have Masala Dosas? If so I'll be there tomorrow.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bodegadawg

          The dosa maker is quite good here. I enjoyed our dinner there so much that when I was passing through San Rafael on my way back to the City last night, I went back again. We'd had an egg dosa and a rava dosa, and while these were wonderful, I wanted to try a plain paper dosa to test the kitchen's skill. It passed with flying colors. Beautiful toasty golden color with a mirror-like sheen, uniformly thin and crispy from stem to stern, marked sourness of fermentation, and my only criticism is that it's too long to fit on a 2-top!

          Image of Paper dosa with chutney & sambar and Pistachio kulfi -
          http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=3...

          The paper dosa is $8.99, and comes with coconut chutney, tomato-ginger chutney, and sambar. I could only finish a little more than half of it. The coconut chutney was a bit blander this evening, the tomato-ginger was great, and the sambar was even better than the night before. I had asked if my sambar could be a little spicier, and even though my server said, "no, it's already made up", I wonder if it was adjusted for me.

          The pistachio kulfi, $4.49, was below average. If not for the pistachios sprinkled on it, this would have no pistachio flavoring and was dominated by sugar. I'd skip it, especially at this premium price.

          On the service, it is warm and well-meaning here, but not experienced yet. When I walked up to the door a little before 9pm, I saw a group of nearly 30 celebrants on the street level seating. They hadn't had their main course yet. My waiter seated me and explained that my food might take a while because of the big group. I told him that I'd order something simple, and asked for the paper dosa. He went into the kitchen and came back saying that it would take 30 minutes because the staff were working on the food for the party group. I told him that I'd come back another time, but he asked me to wait and he'd check with the kitchen again. He returned with a bowl of rasam and a basket of papads that were on the house and an apology from the kitchen for the delay. I expressed my appreciation for his gracious handling of the problem. My dosa came out 15 minutes later, so the wait wasn't as long as expected. When I left just before 10pm and turned to get into my car, I noticed that he was standing at the glass door and gave me a wave, presumably watching to make sure I was safely on my way. So with care and concern like that, I can easily overlook small service flaws.

          I wish I could say that the rasam was good. Served in a largish bowl, it's a big portion. It has little tamarind or tomato flavor to perk it up. The taste was mostly chile water and garlic with some curry leaves and cilantro floating on top.

          More about Om South Indian Cuisine -
          http://www.marinij.com/lifestyles/ci_...
          http://www.bunrab.com/dailyfeed/2006D...

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            The pistachio kulfi, $4.49, was below average. If not for the pistachios sprinkled on it, this would have no pistachio flavoring and was dominated by sugar. I'd skip it, especially at this premium price.
            ------------------------

            I've tried ice cream and carrot pudding - their desserts are a step down. I'd skip 'em.

            Was served a delicious lime sauce with my pakora Wednesday - I'm finding OM consistantly yummy, good for conversation as audience volume is low; a pleasure.

            Service still somewhat bumbling but completely charming.

            Three visits; thumbs up.

          2. re: Bodegadawg

            Ditto ditto ditto! Masla Dhosas rule the world.

          3. Yes, they have Masala dosa, Mysore masala dosa, Madras masala dosa, Malli masala dosa, and Podi masala dosa.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gumbolox

              The dine-in menu also has paper dosa, egg dosa, various rava dosai, and perhaps a few others not listed on the take-out menu.

              Images of the Om's take-out menu (some price changes) -
              http://static.flickr.com/110/31688812...
              http://static.flickr.com/120/31688812...

            2. Thanks a lot for the menus, Melanie.

              1 Reply
              1. re: oakjoan

                You have AlFairfax to thank for those images of the menu.

              2. Had dinner there last night - pretty good chow.

                If I had complaints, it was with inexperienced service and that the same three condiments were served with everything.

                OTOH, service was warm; condiments very, very good.

                Shrimp was done just right, i.e. not over cooked. Chicken deliciously tender. Sauces were firey but not scalding.

                Two thumbs up. Sometimes way up!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Waterboy

                  Shrimp that weren't overcooked at an Indian restaurant was a revelation for me.

                2. Just stopped by Om today to pick up lunch and it was very nice, I thought. I've never had South Indian food before -- used to usual tandoori, etc. So I just picked randomly....

                  I had the egg pepper dosa, with coconut chutney and sambar, the kozhi varutha curry (chicken with fiery pepper sauce and coconut milk) and sag paneer, which isn't on the menu, but was offered when I asked for a veggie dish. They threw in some basmati rice and sambar. They asked if I wanted everything spicy and I said, yes, spicy, please! Lots of food for one meal, but I'll have leftovers tonight and tomorrow. The egg pepper dosa was definitely nothing like I've had before -- very tasty with the coconut. The kozhi curry was very good -- spicy, but not overbearing and the sag paneer was excellent -- very creamy with lots of tomatoes and cheese.

                  It's a good value with pleasant service. I'm definitely going back to try more!