Nibbles and news (all in one!)

posted on January 9, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Went over to Saravanaa Bhavan last weekend after hearing pretty good things from some friends. This was my first visit since the restaurant had been taken over by new management. The new space isn’t much to look at—just your basic neon-lit establishment. The one distinguishing characteristic was the massive ‘open’ kitchen behind large glass panels. Very cool to watch the cooks in their crisp whites making our food. Service was efficient and very friendly. The food…left much to be desired. I don’t claim to know a lot about Indian food, but I do know when I do not like something. My friend and I ordered about 5 dishes. My favorite dish was the chana masala. My least favorite was the palak paneer—it was the blandest version I have had in years and the spinach was pureed into a bright green liquid that was not very appealing. The dosa was okay, but not the best I have ever had. I need to go back and eat some more dishes, but I just wasn’t wowed. Stay tuned.

Ever since I moved over to the West Side, I’ve stopped my weekly Saturday morning trips to the Morningside Farmers’ Market (been getting all my veg at the farm stand at Star Provisions). Well, I woke up early the other morning and decided to take the pooch to the market. I grabbed some bone-in pork chops from Riverview Farms’ stand. I hadn’t eaten them in a while and had forgotten how good they are. Served them with some roasted baby sweet potatoes and gorgeous swiss chard. I love farmers’ market meals. Baby turnips and roasted chicken tonight.

After I got my goodies, I went over to Alon’s to grab a loaf of their multi-grain bread and noticed these:

Macarons are hard to come by in Atlanta, but Alon’s seems to have them a few times a year. Not sure how long they will have them, but I’d grab them while you can. I was, of course, being good on my diet and stayed away even though they were calling me. Another thing I stumbled upon were these locally-made Brigidini Italian cookies:
I’d seen them at Star, but I am not really a cookie person. The friendly Brazilian guy at the counter was raving about them. He says they have the slightest hint of anise and he likes them with his ice cream.

Fat Louie’s, which I featured in my French fry piece for Atlanta INtown Paper, has closed. Vito Goldberg’s Pizza has also closed.

Kevin Rathbun and his brother will compete on Iron Chef America on February 24th. Atlanta chefs really seem to be making a name for themselves on the show.

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  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Sudhir · January 10, 2008  5:33 AM

    There are Star people and there are Alon’s people and never the twain shall meeet. Stay on the West Side, lady!

    In truth, I have not been going to Alon’s as much as I used to. The reason I used to go so often was for dessert, specifically the double chocolate chunk cookie dough. I cut that out, so now my bread and cheese consumption is down. I need to go back. Of course, the fact that I’ve found a better sandwich at Sawicki’s doesn’t help Alon’s either.

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Anonymous · January 10, 2008  9:37 AM

    Working at Star two years ago turned me into an Alon’s person ;).

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: sam i am · January 10, 2008  1:42 PM

    um…i like your blog, i really do, and in general i respect your opinions…but why would you go to Saravana Bhavan and order north indian food? The place is South Indian owned, and is known for its south indian food. North indian food like chana and palak paneer is usually mediocre in these places. Stick with the Dosa, Uthappam, idlis, etc. I’m not saying this branch of Saravana’s is the best south indian restaurant these is, but don’t u think posting a review like this discourages people from trying a restaurant that serves a type of cuisine not normally found in Atlanta?

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · January 10, 2008  1:46 PM

    I am not discouraging anyone from visiting the restaurant, but I was not impressed with my visit. We actually got many Southern Indian dishes as well. But, I think if a restaurant has something on the menu it should prepared well regardless of its origin. Just my opinion though. Take it with a grain of salt and judge for yourself.

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Anonymous · January 11, 2008  1:51 PM

    I am with “Sam I am” on this one. Even Indians don’t go to Sarvana Bhavan for North Indian food. Actually I don’t really understand why the Indian restuarants mix up the cuisines but that’s a comment for another post!
    Personally I like the South Indian food at Udipi (down te street from SB) much better. No fancy decor or anything but downright damn good south indian food (again don’t go near the north indian stuff like chana and palak paneer)! How was the Taj btw? I’d be intersted seeing your thoughts on Indian “beer” 🙂 Cheers! Preeti

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · January 11, 2008  2:03 PM

    Well, as I said in my original post, I don’t claim to know much about the regional origins of all Indian dishes, but I have eaten a lot of Indian food in my life (my mother lived there for a couple of years so we probably had it once a week growing up). I could google it and pretend to know, but that wouldn’t be very forthcoming.

    About the Taj beer, I am not a big drinker especially when it comes to beer–I probably have 2 beers a year (no joke). But, it was pretty watery.

    I have been meaning to go to Udipi for quite some time. I have heard really good things.


  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Anonymous · January 11, 2008  2:24 PM

    I’m going to agree with Jen on this one. I have had 10 different dishes there, most recommended by the staff. Only 2 were noteworthy. The dosa was good one visit and bland the next. The menu covers a lot so I’m sure there are some hits but just takes a while to find them. I would go back if someone else wanted to go, but I would go to Udipi if I was in that area.
    Anyway, usually Bliss only gets bashed when she reviews French restaurants 🙂 Guess you are supposed to eat everything on the menu before you review the place on your blog… you have time for that, right? 🙂

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: kitchensurfing · January 13, 2008  4:42 PM

    Hey blissful glutton,

    What impresses me most about Saravana Bhavan is their promptness of service. Your get your food within minutes of ordering it. But then again, this is not the place to go to for a evening out, coz before you know it, you’ll be done eating!

    I’ve been there a few times since its opened….the one dish I would recommend is the channa bhatura. Was tasty every time we ordered it.

    I would argue that Saravana Bhavan is one of the better south Indian restaurants in the city, the operative word here being south Indian.

    Their branches counterparts in India are amongst the most popular south Indian restaurants in the country, known for the quality of their food and variety in the menu.


  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Eli · January 14, 2008  9:34 AM

    This place his turned into a joke among my family. What used to be by far the best indian food in Atlanta has been transformed into the “Denny’s of Indian Cuisine”. Lack of spice, lack of complexity, horrendous decor, and below average service all contribute to the problems here. The food just isnt half as good as it used to be.
    And what is the deal with serving Hunts ketchup with the samosas?

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: Anonymous · January 14, 2008  10:09 AM

    the place no good.

    prabhu kumar potluri

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: The Blissful Glutton · January 15, 2008  6:36 AM

    Coincidentally enough, Gourmet’s “Diary of a Foodie” program (which airs on PBS on Saturday mornings) had an episode last Saturday morning about Southern Indian food seen from a native’s perspective. Great episode. You can’t view the whole episode online, but you can see a recap with recipes and a small video here:

  • Re: Nibbles and news (all in one!)
    posted by: WayLo · February 2, 2008  7:39 PM

    Just returned from my first visit to Saravanaa Bhavan since the change in management/renovation. I ordered the palak paneer, and just like Blissful, did have an initially disdainful impression based on the appearance. Very bright green compared to what I’ve been used to, a ‘watery’ appearing texture.

    However, I was really really surprised by how tasty it was. And the texture was far better than anticipated. So I ended up enjoying it quite a bit. Also had the bullet naan–pretty good as well, though a little on the oily side.

    The picture at the link you have on wikipedia is very much how the palak appeared.

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