Staten Island's Dosa Garden Gets Curry Right


[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Smack in the middle of Staten Island's Little Sri Lanka on Victory Boulevard, Dosa Garden is most talked about for its namesake dosas and its Sri Lankan menu. The string hoppers are well worth an order, for instance, as is their rava dosa. But the menu takes great care to tout its "Chettinad-trained chefs" (Chettinad is a region of Tamil Nadu in south India), and the restaurant's extensive set of lesser-known curries is worth your time as well.

You don't often see Ennai Katherikai ($9) on Indian menus, a shame as it's one of the more interesting curries you can make with an eggplant. It's typically made by splitting open small eggplants, stuffing them with a spice mixture, frying them, and serving them with a little—or a lot—of a slightly pungent spiced gravy. At Dosa Garden the silky eggplant chunks come submerged beneath a thick sauce that's part sweet—cinnamon comes to mind—and part pungent—a complicated flavor that brings out the caramelized and vegetal notes of the eggplant.

The curry's so intensely flavored it's best distributed over rice, or better yet, some of those string hoppers. If you can, save some leftovers. A night in the fridge works some magic even before you reheat it.