Dosa Inn (This restaurant is now closed)
1305 NW Maynard Road
Cary, NC 27513
Hours: Monday: Closed. Tuesday-Friday: 11:30 am-2:00 pm, 5:00-10:00 pm. Saturday, Sunday: 11:30 am-2:30 pm,
Review Date: February 24, 2000
Reviewers: Dilip Barman, Donna Hughes, Doro, and Kathy Marx
Dosa Inn describes itself as offering "Indian Vegetarian fast foods." I'll take anything Dosa Inn offers over anything found in "American" fast food restaurants. All food in the restaurant is vegetarian, and most selections are vegan. Milk products are mostly reserved for beverages and desserts. Most Indian restaurants in the U.S. serve North Indian cuisine. Dosa Inn features South Indian food, so don't expect to see stew-like entrees here. Dosa Inn's selections rely heavily upon dosas (essentially crepes) that are served plain or filled, and various creations made from rice flour and lentils. Their use of vegetables is quite limited, although onions and potatoes appear in many of the dishes. Most items are fried or deep fried, but don't appear to be heavily laden with oil. The menu attempts to describe the various items, but really is not adequate for several reasons: the names of the dishes (and the combination of ingredients) are South Indian and not well-known in the U.S.; the descriptions are very brief; and it is difficult to clarify the menu because it is difficult to communicate with the staff. However, most everything is so tasty that it isn't a huge problem that the menu is somewhat of a guessing game.
Since there were only four of us, we decided to order several things and share them. We ordered these items: Coconut Uttapam ($4.99), Vegetable Uttapam ($4.99), Bissi Bella Bath ($3.99), Mango Lassi ($1.99), and Dosa Inn Combo ($6.99). It seems that all entrees include a bowl of "soup" which is called "sambar." It is quite spicy and can be used for dipping.
We had the following comments about what we ordered: Coconut Uttapam (Uttapam is rice flour and lentil dough, with a selection of toppings) - "...was delicious. I also loved the coconut chutney." Vegetable Uttapam - "Unique and distinctive... this South Indian version of pizza has a great texture and is very tasty," and, "I liked it and would recommend folks try it!" Mango Lassi (yogurt and mango smoothie) - "Smooth and delicious. It would be great on a hot summer day." Bissi Bella bath - "Wonderful rice dish with unique flavoring. Delicately spicy," and "was ok." The Dosa Inn Combo comes with one Masala dosa, which can be substituted with any other dosa, although I think there is a price adjustment. The Combo also includes an idly (steam cooked savory rice cake) and a wada (rice flour and lentils doughnut). Rava Masala Dosa is made from semolina flour instead of the usual rice flour. It is stuffed with onions and potato mash curry. Comments were: "Very good....it's actually about the best I eat, even compared to Rava Masala Dosas I've had in Chicago's Indian area and Dallas." Idly - "Good, but this is easy to make." Vada - "...not bad." Sambar - "Like most South Indian restaurants, their Sambar is a bit too spicy. But not much, and it's good with the idly...this could be improved if it had more okra and other vegetables."
Atmosphere is an area in which Dosa Inn is seriously lacking. It is a converted frozen yogurt parlor, and has not been worked on in any way to try to give it even a shred of a warm feeling. Fluorescent lighting, styrofoam plates and cups, plastic utensils....that's what you'll find here. Also, the person that takes orders is not very friendly or easy to communicate with, so it is a bit frustrating to place an order (if you can figure out what you are ordering). But don't let any of this discourage you, because the tastiness and uniqueness of the food make up for the qualities that this restaurant lacks. The pricing seems quite reasonable.
If you're looking for something different and very tasty, consider a trip to Dosa Inn. According to our "Indian expert," this is the place to come for Dosa or other South Indian cuisine. You won't have to worry about searching the menu for vegetarian items, since everything is vegetarian, and mostly vegan (but vegans should try to verify with the staff that there is no dairy in what they order). Another reviewer wrote, "Everything here is so new to me that I feel I would need to have more experience with South Indian food to be able to judge it. I would come here again and try something else, though!" Although Dosa Inn has no atmosphere, the food makes up for it (and you can order anything as take-out).