We were in Atlanta yesterday and my husband was craving masala dosas. He had directions to the Madras Saravana Bhavan that recently opened under a new ownership at the same location. It serves authentic South Indian vegetarian cuisine. The place was bustling with people. We were seated and the waiter came up with a handheld electronic device asking us for our order. My husband and I both wanted the Mysore Masala Dosa and I had a craving for the Vada Sambhar. The dosa is just like a crepe made from a batter of ground rice and lentils. The vada is a lentil doughnut, deep fried. I asked if they could place the Vada on the side and not immerse it in the Sambhar as they sometimes would do. He said I should order the Medu Vada instead because that seems like what I want and so that is what I ordered.
The food was average to good, considering my husband and I come from the South of India and have had this kind of food almost every day growing up. The Medhu Vadas were brought first. The vadas themselves were not as spicy but dipped in the sambhar or the white coconut chutney, they tasted wonderful. The amount of sambhar for two Medhu Vadas was disappointing. My daughter liked the vada. The masala dosas seemed a bit dry (a few dollops of butter or ghee would have helped) but the balance of crispness and softness in the dosa was excellent. The quantity of the stuffing of “palya” (pronounced puhl-ya, referring to any semi-dry vegetable side dish) made of mashed potatoes, onions, chillies and peas, which is placed inside the dosa, was pathetic. There should at least be enough to go with every bite of the dosa. My “palya” was over in three bites. I have to add that if I wanted more “palya” or sambhar, all I needed to do was to ask and I am sure they would have obliged, for an additional fee of course. But I think I was just feeling sorry for myself because I got less than what I would get in my hometown!!! I was impressed with the variety in chutneys that came with the dosa. The tomato/tamarind chutney was my favorite. The white coconut chutney was a bit bland for me. The green coconut/green chillies/cilantro chutney and the sambhar (pronounced saam-bharr) were good. The sambhar was a bit hot (chilli hot). After all the eating, I felt like washing my palate with some smooth lassi so I ordered the mango lassi. Tasting the saffron in the lassi made such big difference and it was so refreshing. I have had mango lassi before but don’t remember any saffron in it!
The wait staff are friendly and some need a lot more training because we got brought someone else’s order a few times. I felt sorry for the waiter guy and almost got up to help him! My husband and I were pointing in the direction of the table that had ordered a dish that was brought to our table by mistake (Yes, we watch what people order and eat!) All in all we enjoyed eating here. You can call them at 404-636-4400 or 404-636-4400 or visit their website, http://madrassaravanabhavan.net/ for the menu. They are located at 2179 Lawrenceville Hwy, Decatur GA 30033.