Restaurant Review: Saravanaa Bhavan

Saravanaa Bhavan
81 Lexington Avenue
(at 26th Street)
Kips Bay, Manhattan

413 Amsterdam Avenue
(between 79th Street and 80th Street)
Upper West Side, Manhattan

Vegiboys Rating (2.5/4)

Saravanaa Bhavan is an Indian chain with a global presence, with outlets in the Mideast, UK, Asia, and North America. New York City’s branch is a corner building at 26th street – a prime intersection for Manhattan’s Little India, with a brightly lit interior that gives it a strong presence on Lexington Avenue.

The dining room and its furniture are a stark white, like a well-kept diner at an interstate rest stop. The people in the space add to that feel; there’s a fast turnover in patrons, and a lot of noise – crying babies, loud conversation, quick moving staff.

The menu is huge; longer than any of the neighborhood’s other Indian venues, though only a single thali option was available. We chose the South Indian thali with its 10 of the usual suspects in tasting portion size, and a dosa meal. A gingerale and a mango lassi both arrived quickly (served in plastic cups that only furthered the impression that their dining experience is geared for fast eating), followed almost immediately by our meals (it was maybe 3 minutes from our order being taken to having our full meal at the table).

Though apparently not made-to-order, the thali’s dishes were good; pretty par for the course in that area of the city. We would have liked to have seen a sag as part of the thali for a bit more variation in the thali elements. The accompanying rice was not good – unlike the jasmine rice usually joining Indian meals, this was just an overcooked mass of fluff. A pickle on the plate was exceedingly sour with an astringent kick.

The dosa meal was also similar to many of the other vegetarian dosas we’ve tasted in the neighborhood, though with some more heat to it. The coconut chutney that came with it lacked any taste, but again was heavy in the heat.

At $22 each for the meal, better options exist nearby for more relaxed dining and more consistent food. Without being able to speak to the quality of other branches of the chain, this Saravanaa Bhavan simply doesn’t keep up with its competitors in atmosphere or quality.

Food (2.5/4)
Atmosphere & Service
Value (2.5/4)

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Copyright © 2012

Green Web Hosting! This site hosted by DreamHost.