The other day we were driving on Oak Tree Road in Iselin when a sudden craving for hot South Indian Coffee overtook us.
As we were waiting near the traffic light at the intesection of Middlesex Avenue and Oak Tree Road, the sign-board of Sri Ganesh's Dosa House caught our attention. We quickly turned right and then left into the free public parking near the church to satiate our craving.
We are no strangers to Sri Ganesh's Dosa House
, having been to their outpost on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. We enjoyed the fine South Indian coffee at the Jersey City outpost on more than one occasion. It was in anticipation of having a smilar cup of refreshing flavorful Coffee that we walked into Sri Ganesh's Dosa House.
Much to our pleasure, the coffee at the Oak Tree Road location too did not disappoint us. The Coffee was so good that we ended up buying a second cup for our trip back Oak Tree Road Home. We also ordered an Idli Vada Dosa Combo ($8.00) for eat in and Pongal for takeout.
Sri Ganesh's Dosa House on Oak Tree Road in Iselin New Jersey is in a food court.
The garish interiors with yellow and red color painted walls, dirty floor and cramped place raised alarm bells in our head about the hygiene of the place. But the sight of the hot idlis with coconut chutney emboldened us to march ahead and place our order.
You pay at the counter for your food and wait at a table for the waiter to bring your food. Idli and Vada came first followed by Coffee, Masala Dosa and Pongal takeout order.
Idli Vada Masala Dosa Combo - A Steal for $8.00
For $8.00, we got two medium size Idlis, one medium size Vada and a big Masala Dosa with Coconut Chutney, Tomato Chutney and Sambar as accompaniments.
Idli was soft, fluffy, had a freshly prepared texture and offered no room for complaints.
Vada was crisp, tasty and, more importantly, evenly cooked/fried inside without the raw flour taste.
Idli, Vada, Chutneys, Sambar & Coffee
Dosa, Tomato & Coconut Chutneys
Ganesh Dosa House - Spicy Yummy Chutneys
The medium thick Coconut Chutney was fresh, spicy and exceptionally tasty. Ganesh Dosa House's Telugu speaking Kitchen staffer politely obliged our request for a second helping of Chutney without any extra charge.
Tomato Chutney was fresh, flavourful, spicy with an aroma of peanuts and much relished with both Idli and Vada.
Ganesh Dosa House Iselin - Horrible Watery Sambar
But Ganesh Dosa House's Sambar was a big let down. Terrible.
Folks, there were multiple issues with Ganesh Dosa House's Sambar.
- First, the Sambar was flavorless, no evidence of any Sambar spices being added to it.
- Second, Sambar tasted like hot water and had the taste of rice flour mixed in it rather than prepared with Toor Dal.
- Third, Sambar was left outside near the plastic cutlery and napkins making it vulnerable to contamination.
Ganesh Dosa House - Tasty Masala Dosa
Masala Dosa was big and came with a decent amount of flavorful Potato Curry filling and Coconut and Tomato Chutneys and that horrid Sambar.
While we enjoyed the Masala Dosa with both Coconut and Tomato Chutneys, what disappointed us a bit was its soft texture. We like our Dosa to be crisp.
Ganesh Dosa House Iselin - Awful Pongal
Our take-out order of Pongal came with two pieces of Onion Pakoras, Mango Pickle, Potato Kurma and plain yogurt.
Folks, Ganesh Dosa House's Pongal was disgustingly bad.
It failed at the very basic level - proportion of moong dal and rice, black pepper seeds and the texture.
Awful Pongal, Fine Potato Kurma,
Mango Pickle, Onion Pakora, Yogurt
Ganesh Dosa House's Pongal was pasty, had disproportionate amount of moong dal, very little black pepper and no evidence of ghee being added.
It tasted like finely cooked moong dal mixed with a tiny quantity of rice with texture of a raw chapati dough mixed with water. Disgusting.
While Pongal was horrid, the accompaniments however were a treat to our spice hardened palates.
Mango Pickle with a strong flavor of mustard powder reminded us of Dosa Avakaya pickle (Cucumber Pickle) popular in Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
With right proportion of salt, chilli powder, oil and a strong mustard flavor Ganesh Dosa House's Mango Pickle was nonpareil
. It was so good that we
cursed ourselves for not asking for an extra serving of the pickle.
A close competitor to the delicious Mango Pickle was the medium thick, spicy Potato Kurma that came with the Pongal.
Onion Pakoras with a strong flavor of Ajwain seeds (Tymol Seeds) were tasty and gave no room for complaint.
Hey even the plain yogurt that came with our Pongal was good.
But what puzzled us was how did they mess up the Pongal. The only culprit we could think of was the Mexican Cook/Kitchen staffer at Ganesh Dosa House.
Cooking Indian food is an art and requires deep understanding of all the nuances involved in its preparation, something that foreigners can't easily pick up.
Ganesh Dosa House Iselin - Superb South Indian Coffee
Coffee was hot with right proportion of milk and decoction and more importantly it had the nice aroma of freshly grounded coffee beans. Coffee was so good
that one sip transported us back to our good ol' days in South India.
While we enjoyed the fine coffee, it is however pricey ($1.50 for a small cup). Still, we picked up a second cup for our drive back Oak Tree Road Home.
Ganesh Dosa House Rating
Guys, if you are a South Indian, attendance at Ganesh Dosa House is a must for its Idli-Vada-Dosa Combo, spicy Coconut Chutney, yummy Mango Pickle, delicious
Potato Kurma and superb Coffee. But avoid the Pongal and that horrid Sambar.
We can't wait to return for the Mango Pickles and superb Coffee. © OakTreeRoad.us