(Long) Mysore Rant and Related MN S. Indian Food Experiences
Has anyone else tried the new Mysore Cafe on Hennepin and 27/28? I was hesitant to go after I found it has the same owners as New Delhi, but it's close and it's Southern Indian (about the half the menu is, anyway) so I decided to try it.
Turns out I should have hesitated a bit more. The food was extremely greasy, heavy, and just plain bizarre. I've had dosas in several other states including New York and at the Vegetarian and Udupi (I mention this not to prove I'm an authority on Indian food but to illustrate how none of the Indian food in my minimally extensive experience is anything like Mysore/New Dehli). Until Mysore, I never met a dosa I didn't like, but theirs was limp, the masala was dry and had cashews in it (is that supposed to happen?), and it was just bad.
The puri bhaji was signifcantly worse--borderline inedible. The potato mixture was unbelievably greasy, flavorless, and again had cashews that were soggy. The puri had a taste and texture I've never experienced, and I don't mean that in a good way. This is fried bread--should be impossible to screw up--but they did.
The only Indian restaurant I've ever had worse food at is New Delhi. They also manage to ruin everything from paratha and samosas to all the vetearian entrees I've tried there. Considering it seems to be a refuge for alcoholics, maybe they figure the food can be greasy and nasty . . .
It just makes me sad and angry that two of the closest Indian restaurants to my house are painfully bad. Then again, I can drive for an extra 5-10 minutes to get cheaper and much better vegetarian Indian at Bombay 2.
Finally, I'm wondering how other people have found the Vegetarian on 40th and Central. I've been there once, and thought it was generally good, but the reviews on (mostly other) websites have had the strong whiff of propaganda (i.e. "I have been to Indian restaurants in every state and country and on two other planets and this is HANDS DOWN the BEST ever!"). Weirdly, there was a large cult-like group of people sitting nearby when I ate there, and they were loudly ranting to themselves and other customers about how the Vegetarian was their favorite restaurant of all time. Am I missing something? It was good, and I would go back, but it didn't restore my beliefs in god, humanity, and the power of lentils.
I am of South Asian origin and my husband is American, both new to the Twin Cities. We love the variety of cuisines this city has to offer, and decided to check out Mysore Café this weekend while uptown. The food was delicious—cold and old, in cases (ex: pakoras, sambar), but still delicious. That was the good part.
Service was HORRIBLE. The place was understaffed, with one Indian greeter / waiter / manager for the entire restaurant and another guy, seemingly of some Caribbean origin, helping out “from another location” (I didn’t know they had another location). He wasn’t even supposed to be there, but with his hospitality and attentiveness, he saved the night for us and many other fellow diners.
The Indian waiter literally ordered us to a table, which was unclean, and refused to seat us at either of the two clean tables right next to it when we requested. Pointing at the unclean table, he said “Please take a seat at this table, other tables are not available.” The other waiter came around seated us at a different table next to the window.
My water goblet had smears of heaven knows what on it. Before we got to take a bite out of our first course, the Indian waiter came by with the check, handed it to my husband (who was in the process of lifting his food to his mouth) and demanded we pay it right then, saying they were understaffed and he needed the bill paid. He continued to interrupt the meal repeatedly, reaching over us at various occasions, demanding something or the other while we tried to eat.
While we were standing in line at the buffet, he approached the people right in front of us who seemed to be hesitating or considering the options, barking “Do you have questions? Do you have any questions? I am asking you if you have any questions? If you don’t have questions just take your food.”
The iddlies, pakoras and poories never got refilled while we were there (approximately an hour) even though who appeared to be a chef came in to check on the status of the buffet. Sambar and korma remained cold. Korma and spicy chicken tasted the same, at least to me.
We had been craving samosas for the longest time, and the Indian waiter refused to entertain this request outright, saying it was not possible tonight—we had to come back later. When we asked the Caribbean waiter, the Indian waiter continued to grumble in the background in a most unprofessional way, saying “no samosas.” The Caribbean waiter came back to tell us later that it definitely would be possible at an additional cost, but the grumbling continued across the way.
After my husband signed the check, the Indian waiter avoided our table altogether, shooting disgusting looks in our direction the entire time we were there, and turning his back to us when he saw us leave. I don’t believe we will be returning, or recommending this place to anyone.
A friend had a similar experience there this week, and left before even ordering because the waiter refused to sit them at a different (and obviously clean) table and was rude to them. I have eaten there once previously, about 8 months ago, and while the waiter/host was odd (wanted us to sit near the window so the place looked busy even though we needed a 6, not 4 person table) he certainly wasn't rude and the food was enjoyable. It's really a shame they seem to be going downhill quickly because it would be wonderful to to have a great S. Indian restaurant in S. Minneapolis.