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South Indian @ Tabla Flavors in Dublin

Melanie Wong Nov 12, 2007 11:57 PM

Can you tell that I’m cleaning up my folders of Indian meal photographs? (g) Following up my brief mention way back when of lunch at Tabla Flavors in Dublin, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31418... , I can certainly say that the flavors and textures of the food were notable and easy to recall these many months later.

Housed in what looks like it was a Taco Bell or other fast food chain outlet in a prior life, Tabla Flavors has counter service and a standard menu of South Indian dosai and staples supplemented with some daily specials, including meat dishes. I asked the cashier where the cooks were from. When he said Andhra Pradesh, I honed in on the lamb curry on the specials board asking if it might be a pepper-fry. He looked astounded at my question, but nodded “yes” saying that it was the Andhran semi-wet style with more gravy and also that he recommended it if we liked lamb. That was an easy decision, as my friend loves lamb in every shape and form. Glad to find someone who was willing to make suggestions, I asked him if he recommended the 70mm dosa. Instead he steered us to the Spring dosa because we’d like the fresh vegetables to start followed by the heavier lamb dish.

To start we had a cut mirchi as an appetizer, and I’ve not had better. Made with jalapeño chilis, these had a moderate bite showing off fresh green chili flavor. That was fine with me because I could easily handle the spice and eat more of them! The chickpea batter fried up to many layers of flakey, airy, non-greasy crunch. Sprinkled with spiced salt, freshly cut sweet onion, and a bit of cilantro, these were totally addictively and even more so when dunked in the cool coconut chutney. The coconut chutney itself was excellent with a warming spice.

Image of Cut mirchi with coconut chutney -
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/218/48...

Our spring dosa was cut into thirds and presented like spokes on a wheel. I’ve never seen this before, but my friend said that’s how it’s done here. That certainly made it easier to share, and we also didn’t have the soggy middle problem because the steam could escape. Polished to a fine sheen, yet not greasy, this was as thin and crispy as it gets. The filling of fresh green beans, scallions, carrots, cauliflower and more blended with potatoes was only lightly spiced, giving it an uncommon delicacy that harmonized so well with the fragile dosa. This came with the same coconut chutney, but also tomato chutney and sambhar. The tomato chutney was even better with a smoky, nutty element. The sambhar was quite good too.

Image of Spring dosa with coconut chutney, tomato chutney and sambhar -
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/223/48...

My lamb-loving companion found much to like about the lamb curry. Months later, he was still complimenting me for picking this dish. While I prefer the dryer style of pepper-fry, I couldn’t deny the deliciousness of this version in combination with the plain, soft, short-grain rice. We asked for this to be “hot” and the heat was dialed-up well past medium by my meter. All the other elements were as intense against the foil of the gamey meat to balance each other.

Image of Andhran semi-wet lamb curry -
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/209/48...

An appetizer and two main dishes were more than the two of us could polish off. This was a very satisfying first visit and I wish it were closer to make a return visit. I’m looking forward to checking out the Foster City location of Tabla Flavors, a little closer to home.

http://www.tablaflavors.com/index_con...

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Tabla Flavors
6830 Village Pkwy, Dublin, CA 94568

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    Cheesy Oysters RE: Melanie Wong Nov 13, 2007 07:54 AM

    Great photos and report. I work close by so I've done a run to Trader Joe's and picked up their chicken tandoori wrap. The times I've had lunch there, I've really enjoyed it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Cheesy Oysters
      Melanie Wong RE: Cheesy Oysters Nov 13, 2007 08:31 AM

      Thanks, lucky you. Dublin's Tabla delivers tastewise with great value too. Have you tried the one in Pleasanton? The online menu is a little different, so I'm wondering how it compares foodwise or in "ambience".

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      Tabla
      4040 Pimlico Dr Ste 116, Pleasanton, CA 94588

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        c
        Cheesy Oysters RE: Melanie Wong Nov 13, 2007 01:10 PM

        Actually I forgot about the one in Dublin and I've only been to the one in Pleasanton, which is near the Trader Joes. My comments were about the Pleasanton outpost.

        1. re: Cheesy Oysters
          Melanie Wong RE: Cheesy Oysters Nov 13, 2007 05:58 PM

          Actually that's cool, more info on Pleasanton. An earlier post recommended the masala fish and the chicken kofta.

    2. c
      ceekskat RE: Melanie Wong Nov 13, 2007 08:20 AM

      Thank you Melanie! Looking forward to trying the FC location & have to keep the Dublin locale in mind when I'm out that way for soccer or visiting Livermore temple. What would we do without hounds like you???

      3 Replies
      1. re: ceekskat
        Melanie Wong RE: ceekskat Nov 13, 2007 08:38 AM

        You're very welcome. I'm just paying it forward for the next hound's tip. We need more opinions, so please do let us know when you try them. Here's the original size of the lamb curry photo so that you can see in detail all the elements of flavor: roasted chilis, curry leaves, tomato, cardamon, cloves, etc.
        http://flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=4...

        Also, I would love to hear more about the Livermore temple. From time to time I've asked about the food options there, could you update us?

        Hindu Temple posts -
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/19689
        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/22606

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        New Tabla
        1088 Shell Blvd, Foster City, CA 94404

        Hindu Community Cultural Center
        1232 Arrowhead Ave, Livermore, CA

        1. re: Melanie Wong
          c
          ceekskat RE: Melanie Wong Nov 13, 2007 07:09 PM

          Living an hour away, I am afraid I am not informed enough about the goings on at the temple. I will ask around. Until CH, it never occurred to me that people may want to try out the offerings at various temples. BTW, I just found out this past weekend that Komalavilas in Sunnyvale has a tasty breakfast of pongal (mushy ghee rice), uppuma & idlis. Never went there for lunch/dinner because I heard it was just okay and also never occurred to me that they serve breakfast. My friend only recommended them for breakfast & said that on Saturdays it gets busy by 8:30 a.m.

          http://www.komalavilas.com/

          1. re: ceekskat
            Melanie Wong RE: ceekskat Nov 13, 2007 09:32 PM

            I've heard the same about Komala Vilas' food, but breakfast is news to me too.

            Guess we've missed Diwali celebrations this year.

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            Komala Vilas
            1020 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

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