First Look: South Indian Food At Whole Foods’ New Dosateria
Yesterday was the opening of the rebranded Genji counter inside of Whole Foods Tribeca on Greenwich St. (at Warren) as a Dosateria and Lassi Bar in a first-ever collaboration with Cafe Spice. It turns out the restaurant is more of a split-space now with Japanese food still being made on one side and the rest of the space being used to make Indian dosas, uttapams and Bombay Frankies. You can also get a variety of lassis, or yogurt drinks, some sauces and salads and desserts like gulab jamun from a grab and go case. There were some people standing around to answer questions on ordering (and the ever popular “What’s a dosa?) and I got in the short line to procure some food. My take on what I was served, and why you may want to go vegetarian for lunch here, straight ahead.
The counter’s open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with some breakfast options involving eggs until 11 a.m. A look at the gigantic menu hanging over the counter shows so many options that your head might explode. You can either build your own dosa, uttapam (white or whole wheat), Bombay Frankie (grilled flatbread) or Biryani Bowl (white or brown rice) and there are six protein options evenly split between vegetarian and meat or seafood. Oh, and then you have six chutneys to choose from and the option to add ingredients for an extra charge.
I took the easy way out and picked one of the signature items. Those include the somewhat fusiony “Bollywood chicken with kofta meatballs, onion, queso fresco and avocado with wasabi avocado chutney to the more normal. I went with the classic ($8.95) which has turmeric potatoes and comes with a small cup of sambar. The build-your-own option seems to be your best bet for staying within the $10 budget as vegetarian options are $8.95 and the meat ones are $9.95. Once you start getting funky with the signatures, you’ll be spending more than that.
As you can see, if you want a dosa and aren’t eating it in the store, you’ll be carting a hot paper container and possibly a cup of sambar for however many blocks to your office. I really wouldn’t have cared if my dosa got bent, but at least offer me a bag! I’ll chalk this up to first day kinks.
The rice and lentil batter had been nicely-cooked on the griddle and was both soft and crispy, and I really liked the mashed potato filling shot through with lentils. It was slightly spicy but nothing too crazy. The sambar was full of vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and was good but not something I’d order separately. And the green chili coconut chutney that came with it was nice but I think next time I’d go for one of the weirder flavors.
If you’re not up for paying the “How much is this going to cost me?” roulette of the Whole Foods by-the-pound buffet, this new Dosateria is a great way to fill yourself up for $10 or less. As for me, I think I’ll be sticking to the South Indian fare at Ruchi when I need my fix.
Cafe Spice Dosateria, inside Whole Foods at 270 Greenwich St. (btw. Warren & Murray), (212) 349-6555