Southern Indian food, a rice based cuisine that doesn't rely as heavily on dairy as Northern Indian cuisine, is what I prefer. I used to eat at a Southern Indian brunch almost every Sunday in my hometown. My hometown Southern Indian restaurant is the restaurant that I miss the most now that I live elsewhere.
When I saw dosas on Palace at the Ben's brunch menu I got excited. When I saw dahi puri (my most favorite Southern Indian chaat) also on the brunch menu, I knew what we were doing that weekend for eats.I was beyond excited when I saw dahi puri on the menu. I have yet to find this little chaat on any Indian menu I've encountered since I moved away from home six years ago. Dahi puri are hollow, crispy fried puris shells filled with potato and topped with yogurt, sweet tamarind chutney, chili powder, sev, and cilantro. I could pop these little guys all day long. All night long, too.We also ordered sev puri, fried flat puris topped with a slice of cooked potato, onions, green chutney, tamarind chutney, and sev. Very good, but with such generous appetizer portions, I tried to save more room for my beloved dahi puri.Palace at the Ben offers a few different kinds of dosas on their brunch menu. I went with my favorite, mysore masala dosa, a thin rice and lentil crepe filled with spiced potatoes and spicy chili/garlic/ginger chutney. The dosa was accompanied by coconut chutney and sambar.
This crepe was soft, and I prefer my dosa crispy, but I'm sure I could request it to be made crispy next time. With my first bite, I encountered a large smear of chili paste that caused me to tear up a little (kudos to them). After the first bite, all was good with my mysore masala dosa.potatoes and spices inside the dosa
I cannot tell you how happy I am to have found an Indian restaurant in downtown Philly that serves dosas and dahi puri. These foods are only offered on the weekend, but that's when I'm in Philly anyway. If they would offer curried cabbage (my favorite main dish), I'd tear up from complete and utter happiness.
*Delawarians and New Jerseyans, note that the owners of Palace at the Ben also own Palace of Asia in Wilmington, DE, and Palace of Asian in Lawrenceville, NJ . Same menu, same food.Palace at the Ben
834 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Sun.-Thurs, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Brunch: Sat. & Sun., 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.