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May 15, 2012 02:33 PM

Ruchi - South Indian in SOMA [San Francisco] - Report

A group of us had lunch at Ruchi today. It was my first visit, and I thought the food was good overall.

I ordered the veggie thali lunch, which came with a large dish of vegetable curry (heavy on yogurt, with peas, carrots and green bean), rice, naan, sambar, rasam, a dry cabbage dish, buttermilk, and a dessert (little vermicelli in milk custard). It also had a dab of mango pickle (not particularly spicy) and some chopped salad.

Others at the table had chicken or lamb thalis, which were pretty much the same, except no sambar, and meat dish instead of the vegetable curry.

I wasn't that impressed by the vegetable curry - peas were canned, and the yogurt flavor in the sauce was a bit strong for me. It was not bad, just not my favorite style. The sambar, however, was very good. Nice amount of spice, and a nice balance of flavors. We also had some sambar served with a Mysore Masala dosa (shared at the table), and the dosa was good as well. Crispy outer edges, with a spicy potato filling....served with a spicy coconut chutney and another mild (tomato?) chutney.

I also got to try a bite of Chicken tikka masala (spicier than I'm used to, with tender pieces of red tandoori chicken). Some of my dining companions tried the uttapam and pesarattu, too, but I didn't get a chance to try these.

Here's a link to the restaurant's lunch menu. I'd definitely return, especially for a non-veg thali or a dosa!

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  1. I thought the chicken tikka masala had a very good spicy element to it (like you mentioned). The tandoor chicken was a great addition to it, I would really like to try it in some of the other dishes that were available with it.

    1. Agreed with your assessment, Dave MP (in full disclosure I was one of those dining companions and sharer of the dosa). But question: why do so many restaurants feel they need to do the little iceburg lettuce salad? What's that about? It's such a sad afterthought.

      The dessert was a big controversy around the table, and I can't help but notice that you nearly avoided mentioning it. I found it good: I'd describe it as "unthick condensed milk with rice noodles". The texture of it seemed to make others feel squeamish. Do those same people hate tapioca? Perhaps.

      Meredith (I love tapioca and rice noodles and rice pudding, texture and all)

      2 Replies
      1. re: mudaba

        I was also there (disclosure) and I must say the dessert looked like a petri dish.

        1. re: mudaba

          The dessert sounds like seeviyan (hindi)/shemai (bangla). The "little beans" christinegallary spoke of were probably pistachios. They soften up quite a bit in the milk.

        2. I was with the group (disclosure) and ordered the vegetarian thali also but didn't really care for it. Like Dave MP, I thought the vegetable curry was way too sour and yogurty and the veggies didn't have much flavor. Not having had a ton of Indian food before, I found the buttermilk and rasam a little confusing, definitely too watery, and not adding much to the meal. Naan and rice were average, and I ignored the chopped salad.

          My favorite thing on the thali was the vermicelli custard dessert, and I didn't mind that squishy texture at all since I'm a fan of tapioca and rice puddings. The sweetness level was just right and I liked the few little beans that were stewed in there.

          I found myself wishing I had ordered a dosa, especially the Uttapam, or the spinach chicken which the colleague next to me had ordered.

          Service was a little scattered but to be fair, we did have a large party. Since it's in my neighborhood, I'd give it another shot to try different things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: christinegallary

            I've not been to Ruchi so am not certain of what you were served but wanted to comment on your assessment of the buttermilk and rasam. Think of them as beverages for hydration, then the wateriness might make more sense in the course of a meal. I'm assuming that the buttermilk was thinned with water . . . imagine how refreshing this is on a hot, humid day. The rasam is an aid to digestion, light and nutritious, a palate cleanser with its own subtle flavor.

          2. Went there for lunch earlier today with the goal of just having their dosas. My wife got the masala dosa and I got the mysore masala dosa. We also ordered two chais

            The chai was hot, strong and milky. So definitely quite good

            The dosas were average. The potato filling in them was not very tasty (a bit bland). The mysore masala dosa did not have enough chutney spread on the inside. A few months back we had the madras special dosa (which is more like a dosa-burrito) and that seemed a lot better. The coconut chutney was very good, the sambhar and the tomato chutney were average

            Overall, still a good place for dosas in the city and avoids the drive to the south bay