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Udupi Palace SF open

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nuttie_cat Jun 23, 2008 11:44 AM

Udupi Palace opened yesterday in SF, a block away from Dosa. The menu looks very similar to their Sunnyvale location. Prices seem to be about a dollar higher than in the South Bay. Dosas are priced mostly at $7.75, Uthappams at $6.75.

Mr. cat and I had a Dosa combo deal that offers choice of dosa or uthappam with an idly and vada for $9.75.

I chose Special Rava Masala Dosa and Mr. Cat chose the Mysore Masala Dosa.

The dosas along with the idly and vada came with three kinds of chutneys--a mint, coconut chutney, a plain coconut chutney and a tomato-onion chutney---and a cup of sambar.

The Rava Masala Dosa was nice and crisp and the myore masala had a tangy, sour chutney spread inside the dosa. The potato stuffing in both were great, though I would liked it a little more spicy.

The vada was crispy and the idli soft but a little dry. They should be able to work those kinks out in the next few days.

I think they seem to be really going easy on the spice. Still the dosas tasted great, clean and very homey.

The place looks nice, clean and has a really friendly wait staff. I think its a great and much more reasonably priced alternative to its neighbor, Dosa.

And oh yeah, they only serve vegetarian food and no alcohol.

  1. chefj Feb 1, 2009 11:48 AM

    Having spent a bit of time in south India, Udupi's dosas, sambars and chutneys are much better and more authentic than Vik's or Dosa's. That said, the Berkley and SF branch vary widely from visit to visit, and NONE of them compare to the real deal in India much less someones grandmother's! The south bay restaraunts do a much better job than SF or EB.

    1. augustiner Nov 29, 2008 03:32 AM

      i ate at udupi palace shortly after they opened, and i just had my first meal at dosa. these are the only two south indian meals i've had in my life, so i have almost no frame of reference, but i wasn't very impressed by my meal at udupi palace. i did enjoy about half of my meal at dosa, though i'm sure it was less traditional, for what that's worth.

      i thought my masala dosa at udupi was a little dry and bland, even with the sambar and other sauces. the dosa was impressive, overlapping the plate, and quite crisp, though. the idlis were really dry and dense to me, unpleasant to gnaw through. then the other night a friend and i both did dosa's $39.99 four course tasting option. my beet, cumin, cardamom soup was really rich and tasty, though her sauteed okra dish was disappointing. her dosa (don't remember which, but stuffed with potato, onion, and cashews) was fairly soft and reminded me of the breton crepes at ti couz. my paneer stuffed dosa was rolled up like a fat cigar, sturdy if not that crispy, and delicious. her lamb kofta meatball curry was very savory and tender, as was my chicken with eggplant sauce curry.

      i think it may be possible that i'm just not a fan of indian desserts, because my...rasmalai? cheese patties in sweetened cardamom flavored cream...i just didn't really appreciate it, texturally or flavor-wise, and that's been my consistent reaction to indian desserts over the years.

      i don't know if these textures are traditional or not, but i've been under the assumption that dosas are pretty crisp. if i'm wrong, please school me.

      if this cuisine is supposed to be spicy, neither of them really delivered on that, i'm guessing due to the locale and clientele.

      my meal at udupi was within the first week of their opening, so i plan to go back soon to see how it stacks up to my first visit, but i was rather excited about there being another option in the mission for indian that doesn't even offer chicken tikka masala (though i'm still a fan, i won't deny it!). but dosa, while it feels a little bit like the indian equivalent of eric's for chinese in noe valley, just tasted better to me. which was a little surprising, since i expected it to deliver less on food than scene.

      maybe i should go back to udupi armed with this thread for another round.

      2 Replies
      1. re: augustiner
        Dave MP Nov 29, 2008 08:42 AM

        augustiner - you should try the dosas at Vik's in Berkeley. I think they are significantly better than the one I had at Udupi Palace. The chutneys are also better, IMO - brighter and fresher tasting.

        1. re: Dave MP
          Windy Nov 29, 2008 12:01 PM

          for what it's worth, I preferred Udupi's dosa and chutney to Vik's. I'm not making any claims about authenticity or people's grandmother's recipes.

      2. kirinraj Nov 27, 2008 08:32 AM

        Udupi palace is usually very disappointing to me. Its nothing like my paati's south indian home cooking- dosais are too soggy and greasy and idlis are bland

        8 Replies
        1. re: kirinraj
          wineguy7 Nov 27, 2008 08:48 AM

          kirinraj- where do you go in the bay area to find better versions of these foods?

          1. re: wineguy7
            kirinraj Nov 27, 2008 10:43 AM

            Komala Vilas in Sunnyvale has great tamil brahmin breakfasts (many kinds of dosais, idlis, vadais, adai, uthappam) and lunch (rasams, kootus, sambhars, curry, pickle, payasam). Dinner kind of sucks though. Get there early, because it gets crowded with Indian families quickly.

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

            1. re: kirinraj
              wineguy7 Nov 28, 2008 10:54 AM

              Thanks, kirinraj. I will check it out.

              1. re: wineguy7
                c
                ceekskat Nov 28, 2008 09:47 PM

                Try the pongal (rice dish similar to risotto) at breakfast which I've heard is incredible. The one time I went there, 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday after dd's soccer game, they were already out :( For dosas, I prefer Saravana Bhavan in Sunnyvale.

                1. re: ceekskat
                  kirinraj Nov 28, 2008 09:53 PM

                  The pongal is okay. i like homemade alot better, but I know most people can't get that. The idlis and vadais are a must try though. Almost as good as my grandma's.

              2. re: kirinraj
                wineguy7 Jan 31, 2009 06:00 PM

                Mrs. Wineguy and I finally made it to Komala Vilas today for lunch. We really enjoyed it and will return. We also want to try Saravana Bhavan the next time we are going through Sunnyvale.

            2. re: kirinraj
              Atomica Nov 30, 2008 07:44 AM

              I appreciate the recommendation of Komala Vilas (though I rarely have any reason to be in Sunnyvale), but I have never had a soggy or greasy dosa at Udupi Palace (Valencia branch). Were you referring to Udupi Palace outposts in general, or the Valencia St. branch in particular? The dosa I've had there are dry and completely grease-free.

              1. re: Atomica
                kirinraj Nov 30, 2008 08:23 AM

                Oh right. I was just remembering the udupi palace branch in silicon valley. I've never been to the valencia st branch, so I don't know what that is like.

            3. Windy Nov 26, 2008 10:08 PM

              I finally made it here, after months of good intentions but no parking. I've been to both the Newark and Berkeley branches, although not recently.

              The vada was so good. (The guy at the next table was excited about his idli. Does idli have any taste at all?)

              I got a combo with a special spring dosa. Instead of potatoes and peas and carrots, it's filled with a kind of Indian cole slaw. It felt virtuous but tasted delicious. Okay, I would have liked potatoes on a rainy afternoon, but wanted something lighter before Thanksgiving.

              Chutneys really stood out, although I do agree they weren't that hot. I sometimes can't even walk into an Indian restaurant because of the smells, and the excess of butter or turmeric doesn't always sit easy with me. I found everything fresh and flavorful, without any greasiness. My waiter even stopped by and offered me a refill on sambar. (Service was great btw. The problems reported here months ago seem to have worked themselves out.)

              If I lived a few blocks closer, I'd eat here all the time. Get there early to put your name on the list. They do have beer. I hadn't realized there was a wine list or I'd have asked for it.

              Has anyone been to Kasa lately?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Windy
                b
                bigwheel042 Nov 26, 2008 10:47 PM

                Yes. It is a very different beast though (Mumbai-style street food, not South Indian). I recommend the chicken tikka, lamb curry and the potato-based dishes. Not a fan of the turkey - too dry.

                1. re: bigwheel042
                  Windy Nov 26, 2008 11:03 PM

                  True enough. It was the shiny silver trays, fresh flavors, and friendly service that reminded me of Kasa. (Everything but the food itself.)

                2. re: Windy
                  wineguy7 Nov 27, 2008 07:36 AM

                  I agree, Windy. The food and service is great. I just wish they would take credit cards.

                3. r
                  rahir Jul 1, 2008 01:51 PM

                  I went to Udupi last Thursday. Arrived around 8:30PM to a 20 min. wait. The restaurant was busy, which was a good sign, but the disorganized wait process (no sign-up, waiters just picking people to seat first, no real waiting area which meant we were sort of standing over the diners closest to the door) felt awkward.

                  My date and I were sat at the end of one table with another couple at the other end (two chairs empty between us, one on each side of the table). Both of us (the two separate couples) waited about 20 min. to place our orders, and the waiters didn't write them down. This was probably where our troubles started. For the record, date and I ordered the special spring dosa, the spinach masala dosa, and the pineapple uthappam (we felt adventurous). About 15 min. later, the servers brought us the wrong items, but insisted they were correct. Our neighbors got the uttappam that we ordered. Their curry was then taken away from them and delivered to us. Then it was removed from our table after flagging down a waiter (who funny enough insisted we ordered it). Then he returned it, cold, to the couple next to us. A thin crepe dosa was delivered to us, and we thought it was our spring dosa (we were told it would be a surprise, with vegetables...). We began to eat it, and after about 3 min. a waiter swooped down, picked it up, and tried to switch our partially eaten dosa with our neighbors' half-eaten uttappan. We all sort of shrieked, and the guy just stared at us. We explained that we'd already eaten the (misdelivered) food, and if they wanted to correct the order, then they should redo it. The rest of our orders were brought fine, but we all thought it was very odd that at the end we were charged for our original orders. No comps, no apologies, etc. Luckily everything was vegetarian, so we didn't need to worry about meat vs. meat-free dishes!

                  As for the food, I thought the curries were spicy (except for the mint) yet bland. The dosa fillings were also overwhelmingly spicy to where the flavors didn't jump on my tongue; they just tasted overblown. I'm not wowed yet.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rahir
                    Robert Lauriston Jul 1, 2008 07:09 PM

                    With the exception of the rasam, I've never had anything at the Berkeley branch that was very spicy. Not even the chile and onion uttapham.

                    1. re: rahir
                      norjah Jul 2, 2008 10:24 AM

                      I liked the food very much (spinach masala dosa was great), but had similar, ridiculous service as rahir. We were served the wrong food, served our appetizers twice, served food that others had already eaten from(!), and waited about 40 minutes for our dosas. While the dosa was good and inexpensive, it wasn't worth that chaos. I'll give it another month and one more try to see if they can get their act together.

                      Their dosas aren't particularly spicy, so I'm not sure what rahir ordered. I do like their tomato chutney and their sambar.

                    2. e
                      Emilie. Jul 1, 2008 01:13 PM

                      I went this weekend. They have a wine list, which is small but this is unusual enough for Indian restaurants to be noted. I didn't try any but it looked suited to Indian food. I had the Chettinad uthappam (cauliflower + spices on top of the uthappam). It was OK. Someone else at the table had the mixed vegetable uthappam, which was very nice, and not too oily. I really liked the sambar, which is on the spicier side, and the coconut chutney. I found the vada rather bland, but the texture was good. As the original poster, the combo gives you an idly and vada on top of uthappam or dosa. It's a lot of food for a low price. Our waiter was very friendly. He gave us refills of sambar!

                      1. r
                        reneeskiSF Jun 23, 2008 02:09 PM

                        Thanks for the report. Do you know if you can bring your own alcohol?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: reneeskiSF
                          Robert Lauriston Jun 23, 2008 02:18 PM

                          It's a violation of California law to bring liquor to a restaurant that does not have a license. Discussing restaurants that allow it anyway could lead to the owners getting cited and fined.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            Xiao Yang Jun 23, 2008 10:50 PM

                            Udupi Palace has a beer and wine license; I assume it's so you can bring your own.

                            http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/LQSData...

                            1. re: Xiao Yang
                              Robert Lauriston Jun 23, 2008 11:17 PM

                              Excellent. Should be no problem then.

                        2. s
                          sfcitygirl Jun 23, 2008 01:41 PM

                          Terrific news! Thanks for the report. I've been waiting for it to open.

                          1. osho Jun 23, 2008 12:32 PM

                            Adding Link

                            -----
                            Udupi Palace
                            1007 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: osho
                              l
                              lmarie Jun 23, 2008 07:49 PM

                              Does anyone know the hours? Is it open for weekday lunch?

                              1. re: lmarie
                                jpancake Jun 24, 2008 01:56 PM

                                A friend and I went today for lunch; they intend to be open every day from 11:30am to 10pm, but may be closed on Mondays (as they were yesterday when I attempted to go) for the near future. The person I asked said they hope to get their hours nailed down within the next couple weeks, but, for now, it's not set in stone.

                                The spinach masala dosa I had was excellent; it's too soon to make an overall judgement, but on this visit I preferred it over the Berkeley location. We went around 12:30 and they were already doing a pretty brisk business. Given the paucity of South Indian options in the city (I found, on several visits, that Dosa was bland and over-priced), Udupi Palace is a very welcome addition. I think they're going to be quite successful.

                                1. re: jpancake
                                  c
                                  ceekskat Jun 24, 2008 05:54 PM

                                  Appreciate the report. Looks like you ordered off the menu. Is there a buffet as well?

                                  1. re: ceekskat
                                    Robert Lauriston Jun 24, 2008 05:58 PM

                                    Is there a lunch buffet at the Berkeley branch?

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                      jpancake Jun 24, 2008 06:09 PM

                                      In both cases, afaik, no.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                        c
                                        ceekskat Jun 24, 2008 06:17 PM

                                        There is one at the Sunnyvale location though I am not a fan.

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