MSP Nala Pak or Mysore?
I have been a lurker for a while, and I have really enjoyed reading all the posts here about Twin Cities chow.
I used to love Udupi Cafe, and tried Nala Pak once after it opened and thought it was not as good as Udupi, but still good.
Here's my dilemma: I want to introduce some friends to Indian food fairly inexpensively, but it still needs to be a restaurant. They are parents of young kids and want to get their money's worth out of paying for a babysitter! Also, I don't want to make them travel much further west than Mpls/Columbia Heights.
I love the dosas at Nala Pak, but have not been there in quite a while.
Has anyone been there recently? If you have, would you say Mysore is better? I have not been to Mysore yet.
I ate at mysore earlier this summer, and had a generally very good experience. that said, the dosa was probably our least favorite item there, and i have not been to nala pak for comparison. generally we thought the food at mysore was excellent, well spiced and they certainly offer one of the most "creative" or different, i guess, menus for twin cities.
For my money, the best items we had at mysore were the chaat appetizer (i was having visions of Vik's in berkeley) and one of their eggplant dishes (i dont remember which one it was). overall, i would definitely endorse it, but i cant compare it to nala pak for you.
If you are a serious dossa fan you should at some point get down to India Cafe on Portland in Richfield. It probably won't work for this venture - ambience may be *ahem* too casual for your friends and it's probably outside your geographical circle. But, again, if you are a dossa fan, this place should be on your radar.
TBS India Cafe
7826 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55420
I also haven't been to Nala Pak since it was Udupi but had a very good experience at Mysore a few months ago. The waitstaff was very knowledgeable and friendly and I'm sure would put together a great meal for new comers to the cuisine. Also, I believe they have a buffet on Friday and Saturday nights which I've heard rave reviews of. When we were there I got one of the thali (sp?) plates where you get an enormous amount of food and variety. Other people got dosa which they enjoyed but I have to admit I find dosas pretty plain and prefer to have many stronger tastes in a meal.
katebauer is correct. Mysore only has a buffet on Friday and Saturday nights. This may either be a plus or a minus -- your friends can get a good variety of tastes with a buffet. As long as the buffet's fresh I'd think you'd be OK.
I've only had the buffet there once and it was on Easter. The food was perfectly fine, but I think it had been out for a little while and (not surprisingly) the restaurant was almost deserted. I've had other better meals at Mysore, though, so don't take this as a recommendation against it.
Check out Great India. Its not much further, but worth it.
6056 Shingle Creek Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55430
I have enjoyed the meals I had at The Vegetarian, just a ways down Central from Nala Pak. Plenty of southern Indian stuff like dhosas and uthappam and, like Udupi/Nala Pak, the entire menu is vegetarian (it better be, considering their name!). And yes, it is a table service restaurant.
4022 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55421
It's taken longer than I thought it would, but we finally made it to Mysore. My friends' babysitter fell through, so my husband and I went *this* Friday for the buffet. We thought it was very good. I felt the complimentary dosa could have had more filling, but it was tasty. The items in the buffet were brightly flavored and nicely cooked. Nothing stewed beyond recognition, no muddy flavors. Standouts were the paneer in a tomato/cream sauce and the chili idlis. The uppams were comforting and delicious. We will definitely go back. I wasn't real excited about their veggie pakora, thought it was heavy, but not many places have a light hand with those. Still looking forward to trying the other, I'm sure excellent, recommendations. We just had our kitchen remodeled, and I am now so happy to have my kitchen back that going out to eat doesn't have much appeal right now, but I know I'll be back in the saddle soon! Thank you again to all.