Jump to content


Photo

Chennai Masala


  • Please log in to reply
107 replies to this topic

#1 redmedicine

redmedicine
  • Members
  • 36 posts

Posted 29 August 2006 - 01:20 PM

This one has snuck up on me ... has anyone been to this place? The website is decent, and they look to have a fairly comprehensive, mainly South Indian menu. It may even be worth braving the traffic pit that is The Streets of Tanasbourne to give it a try ... plus they have a 6 foot long dosa!

http://www.chennaimasala.net/

#2 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:08 PM

Welcome to the site.

It does indeed look like a promising menu. They've announced themselves on this site. I just got back from the South Bay where I ate A LOT of southern Indian food, so I'd be willing to try it, though, who knows when I can get out that far. (I live in east Vancouver.) I nominate you to TOFTT. B)

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#3 whippy

whippy
  • Members
  • 332 posts
  • Location:yummyland!!

Posted 29 August 2006 - 05:03 PM

What a tempting menu! I'll be there soon.
I love how yummy food makes me feel happy!!!!!!

#4 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 30 August 2006 - 03:14 PM

Leopoldo and I hit it today for an early lunch. Got there right when they were opening. It's in the Streets of Tanasbourne, across Stucki, just east of where places like PF Chang's are. There's a wine store, Vino100 next door.

It has a cafe/fast food feel, even more than K2. They don't seem to have menus (or takeout menus) yet. They're still working on what they'll be serving. Instead, most things are listed up on three chalkboards above the counter. Mains are in a buffet, though I don't think they serve a buffet. Instead, you pick what you want and they have combos starting at $4.99 for one item with naan or rice.

The samosas ($2.50/2 pcs) were quite good, served with multiple chutneys. I like a more crispy and bubbly pastry, but these were crisp, not greasy, and very flaky with a good richness. I really enjoyed the filling. Very buttery, slight spiciness, lots of onions and moist potatoes.

They list vada and dosa on the chalkboard but don't tell you the fillings/types. They just said they could make whatever kind of dosa I wanted. Okay, masala dosa is probably my favorite so that is what I asked for. They then asked how I wanted my dosa made. This sort of ordering is something they need to work out options for and just put on the menu. I explained I liked it crispy around the edges but bendable enough in the middle to scoop the masala ($5.95). The dosa came just as ordered, had a bit of sourness to it, but not overwhelmingly so. The filling was pretty good, though I think the samosa filling, similar, was better. I would have liked it to be a little more oniony and buttery. But it was still very fresh tasting, had some spiciness and aroma. There were some dal in the filling also. The dosa came with a really nice sambar -- creamy, spicy from both fresh and dried chiles, and earthy. Could be more intense, but very well-balanced. They only served it with one coconut-cilantro chutney.

They had to check in the kitchen for what kind of vada. They said they had two, masala and medhu. We got a plate of each ($2.95/2 pcs). These were fantastic, I thought. The medhu had a nice, lightly crispy exterior and moist and light interior with plenty of flavor. I've never had a masala vada and I loved it. It had the potato, butter, and onion flavors mixed into the patty. It was very crisp on the outside. It wasn't greasy or heavy at all. Both of these were also served with just the coconut-cilantro chutney. (These could have been mint-coconut, but I usually go for a brighter chutney with items like this so didn't really taste them much. They seemed typical.)

The chicken tikka, which we got with naan, was pretty good, too. It was a smallish portion, but face it, this was only $5. The chicken was perfectly cooked and obviously marinated well in the red sauce. The flavor of the curry could have been more intense, but it was fresh-tasting and well-balanced. The naan was some of the better I've had in town. It wasn't overly fluffy, had a crispness on the bottom and was charred and bubbly on top. Very nice.

This is an excellent addition to Portland's Indian if they can maintain what we had today. Not only is it a good menu (I hope they add iddly), but the quality is right there with what I've eaten in the Bay Area, Chicago, and Dallas. Could it be better? Sure. But it's at least good. Now, let's remember that other places have started off strong and then weakened over time, like Curry Leaf and Lentil Garden. Also, Leopoldo and I got there at opening and our dosa and vada were made to order. If you go in, I would ask for freshly made samosa, vada and dosa. It's one thing to have a curry that's been sitting. It might get better. But these items won't.

Pictures:

http://www.extramsg....l....php&page=1

Posted Image

Posted Image

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 OregonAmy

OregonAmy
  • Members
  • 44 posts
  • Location:The Goose
  • Interests:Beer<br />Food<br />Cheese

Posted 30 August 2006 - 05:11 PM

great review, thanks! I love indian food, particularly dosai. We don't have enough good south indian food here, so it's encouraging to see a couple of recent additions to the portland scene.

I'll definitely be checking this place out!

#6 whippy

whippy
  • Members
  • 332 posts
  • Location:yummyland!!

Posted 30 August 2006 - 08:35 PM

Too bad they're not offering everything they've listed online?? I suppose that's too much to hope for.

Though I'll still get out there soon.

This is an excellent addition to Portland's Indian if they can maintain what we had today. Not only is it a good menu (I hope they add iddly), but the quality is right there with what I've eaten in the Bay Area, Chicago, and Dallas. Could it be better? Sure. But it's at least good. Now, let's remember that other places have started off strong and then weakened over time, like Curry Leaf and Lentil Garden. Also, Leopoldo and I got there at opening and our dosa and vada were made to order. If you go in, I would ask for freshly made samosa, vada and dosa. It's one thing to have a curry that's been sitting. It might get better. But these items won't.


--Lentil Garden started off strong and then weakened over time? How long have they been open? 3 months at the most, I think. ?? (Only eaten there twice, so I can't personally attest to their arc.)

--There are places which make dosas in advance? Gross! I didn't know that. I always figured most vadas were made to order too. Of course, the pre fried samosa is all over India, so that's an uphill battle, I guess.
I love how yummy food makes me feel happy!!!!!!

#7 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:02 PM

Who knows what they're thinking right now. I have the feeling that they're very susceptible to the power of suggestion at this point. Too much so, probably. They need to just put together a good menu and give people something to count on. There were some signs they were pretty inexperienced with restaurants. I'd ask them about some of the things you're looking for. I wish they were just focusing on southern vegetarian items, but that may be too narrow for a place that needs to depend on caucasians as well as Indians.

Leopoldo is the one who said Lentil Garden has gone downhill, primarily with the northern dishes, he said. He's been there WAAAAAY more times than me. I take his word for it.

Yeah, I went to a buffet in Mountain View that had filled dosas and vada on the buffet. Yuck, indeed. I tried one. I should have ordered one separate. They specialized in Andhran cuisine, though, and the chili chicken was really interesting and good, plus several vegetarian dishes. Though I expected more heat. (Southern Spice Bistro)

I didn't see Chennai Masala making any dosas or samosas ahead, but they did make some vada and put them on the buffet. They probably hold up better, but I'd rather have all of them made to order and if I got offered something that'd been sitting, I'd ask for something fresh.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#8 redmedicine

redmedicine
  • Members
  • 36 posts

Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:20 PM

I'm planning on going soon, but talked to a co-worker who also went there today. She recognized the owner, apparently, he was one of the former co-owners of Lentil Garden. It seems there was a falling out between the LG owners, and one of them left to open Chennai (wow, that was fast). That could explain the changes at LG as well.

I have only been to one buffet that was specifically southern, which was a place called Madras Dosa Hut in Toronto. The idli and sambar and curries were on the buffet line, and the dosas were made fresh for each table. It also was far and away the best south Indian meal I've ever had ... super spicy and sour sambar, and crisp fresh dosas. I only hope that one day we get a place like that here.

#9 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 30 August 2006 - 09:51 PM

Thanks for the info, red. That does make sense. I've joked that the good cooks from Curry Leaf left to Lentil Garden. Report back when you get a chance.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#10 Jamesongrrl

Jamesongrrl
  • Members
  • 1,137 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:SE 39th & SE Belmont
  • Interests:Tied for first: Travel & Food & Motorcycles (particularly my BMW 650 GS)

Posted 31 August 2006 - 08:40 AM

Damn.
Sorry to hear Lentil Garden went down so quickly.
It was my new fav, and I'd only gotten there once.
But with rate of how quickly quality drops in PDX and surrounding territories for Indian- I guess I'm not surprised.
Jamesongrrl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

#11 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 31 August 2006 - 08:56 AM

Well, don't listen to me, Heather. Go hit it and tell us what you think. I'm pretty damned sure you'll be lovin' Chennai Masala, though, if it's as good as my visit.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#12 Chennai Dosa Payithiyam

Chennai Dosa Payithiyam
  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:09 AM

This is an excellent addition to Portland's Indian if they can maintain what we had today. Not only is it a good menu (I hope they add iddly), but the quality is right there with what I've eaten in the Bay Area, Chicago, and Dallas.


Yum Yum Pictures... makes me go there right now... I have been there and actually love both the South and North Indian selections. The Tandoori chicken is the most flavorful i have ever had in portland, very traditional punjabi style as my best panjabi friend refers to it.

Chitchatting with the one who runs the show (i just forgot his name...) the tandoori chicken is not reheated and hence the freshness. THey are made to order always, its worth the wait sometimes, nothing can beat the taste of fresh cooked food.!

The dosas are really divine... phynominal taste and nothing like i have ever had in portland in my last 14+ years here.

I urge you all to visit.. you wont make a mistake... best to visit during week days at lunch, as the crowd is less and can be served faster. Dont wait you guys and girls... machans... and machies... hurry there right now..

- love (machi machi)

#13 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 31 August 2006 - 11:06 AM

Welcome to the site, Chennai Dosa Payithiyam.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#14 Jamesongrrl

Jamesongrrl
  • Members
  • 1,137 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:SE 39th & SE Belmont
  • Interests:Tied for first: Travel & Food & Motorcycles (particularly my BMW 650 GS)

Posted 31 August 2006 - 11:28 AM

Chennai Dosa Payithiyam, you've been in PDX for a while and love Indian-
What are your other Indian restaurant favs?
Jamesongrrl
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

#15 welcometoCM

welcometoCM
  • Members
  • 14 posts

Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:26 PM

Thanks all for visiting Chennai Masala . Thanks ExtraMsg, the pictures look great. :) I have tried to answers some of the questions in here. More questions are welcome.

We will have the printed Menu from Tuesday September 5th, If possible I will have it posted in chennaimasala.net in the same time too. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Yes, we are looking for more suggestions and feedback . We are open on all days except Mondays. On regular days, lunch is from 11:30AM till 2:00PM, and dinner 5:30PM till 9:30PM. We are open in between lunch and dinner, we serve dosas and vada, samosa during this period. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday , we have LUNCH BUFFET.

The vadas are served with coriander coconut chutney, the red chutney referred too, could have been tomato or red chilly chutney. All the food on the hot table for lunch is prepared about 1 to 2 hours before lunch time. (No food gets back to the cooler) Masala Vada is made of broken chick peas, onions, green chillies etc, it doesn't have potatoes.

E-mails to info@chennaimasala.net are also welcome.

#16 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 31 August 2006 - 10:41 PM

Thanks for the info and corrections welcometoCM.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#17 Chennai Dosa Payithiyam

Chennai Dosa Payithiyam
  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:06 AM

Chennai Dosa Payithiyam, you've been in PDX for a while and love Indian-
What are your other Indian restaurant favs?


When i started the best one in town is Swagat, they are still probably the consistent in taste, but its definitly not authentic south indian taste by any measure. Cooks at Abiruchi probably got trained at Swagat, so most of the items just taste the same :)

Curry leaf had that good south indian taste when they started, but that faded away soon (and they customer service towards Indians suck big time...)

There are several others, but not worth mentioning, like IP in hillsboro etc where they serve stale food more often than one can imagine, or BCC its just the environment than good taste.

One british friend of mine mentioned about some Vindaloo downtown, i havent been there, should check it out soon..

but anyways... the overall experience (customer service, taste) ChennaiMasala ranks 1st so far... i wish and pray they stay the same...

#18 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 01 September 2006 - 08:43 AM

i wish and pray they stay the same...


My prayers are with you.... :)

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#19 whippy

whippy
  • Members
  • 332 posts
  • Location:yummyland!!

Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:22 PM

Just got back from the weekend lunch buffet. I'm eager to go back for dinner to try their dosai and order from the menu.

B) I've been waiting *years* for Indian food this good to hit town.

The black eyed peas kootu was marvelous, with lots of sauteed red chillis, fragrant coconut and fresh curry leaves. I heaped it on my rice with the stellar sambar, some crisp fritters and a lovely tomato rasam. A tangy yogurt curry sported thick pumpkin slices.

"No chutneys?" my friend asked.
"I don't think so. Are you missing them?" I said.
"No."

Eggs cooked with peas, chicken biryani and aloo gobhi were all excellent, too.

And yummy dessert! A gentle, rosy pink payasam of little noodles, plump raisins and pearls of tapioca had just the right amount of cardamom.

Hope they keep up the good work! I hate driving out to Tanasbourne from SE, but I'm going to be doing it.
I love how yummy food makes me feel happy!!!!!!

#20 ExtraMSG

ExtraMSG
  • Admin
  • 18,350 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Felony Flats
  • Interests:Me like food.

Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:56 PM

I think they have chutneys but don't put them out. I agree they're not necessary, though. Thanks for the report. I'm tempted to give them a shot again tomorrow. I'm going to be craving their vadai and dosai.

They said they want suggestions. Here's my main one: DO NOT COMPROMISE QUALITY. Make a good menu of stuff you'd like to eat and love and miss in Portland. Make good food, provide good service at a fair price and build a clientelle. PLEASE. DO NOT COMPROMISE.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's