atara and I had originally planned to have dinner up at The Round Table this evening because we'd heard that Half Pints would be tapping a keg of their Black Galaxy beer for the event. It turns out we got our days mixed up and that happened yesterday. With that unexpected change in plans, we decided to go all-in with changed plans and went over to Clay Oven for dinner instead.
While we will usually end up ordering three things from the menu (atara picks one item, I pick one, and we agree on the third), we had agreed in advance that we would each order ourselves a thali platter this evening. Their thali platters are a pretty good deal, and even if you both order drinks with your meal you can do dinner for two for ~$30.00.
The last time we had these for dinner, I ordered the chicken and atara ordered the vegetarian one. This time she chose the chicken, and I ordered the Masala Dosa Thali. Its description on the menu sounded intriguing, and it promised to come with lentil soup and Dosa. I ordered it because I had no idea what Dosa was, and I looked forward to being educated.
The platter arrived as you see it pictured here. I assumed that the odd little doughnut at the front must be the Dosa, though I was a little disappointed that an item that was specifically mentioned in the name of the dish was so anticlimactic in appearance. Then the waitress announced that the Dosa would just take another minute or two before it was ready for me, and I became intrigued anew.
This is what arrived about a minute later. It is as large as it appears in this picture, and weighed enough to serve as a passable weapon. It was delicious, but it could have served as a meal by itself.
The verdict on dinner: it was very good. Clockwise around the plate (starting at the top where there is an empty space that was far too small to hold the Dosa) there was a cardamom/rice pudding dessert, followed by Idli (which is a savoury cake). The best description I could come up with when describing it for atara was that it was like Ethiopian flat bread formed into a little cake. It was pleasant, and did a decent job of soaking up juices. The little doughnut was Vada, and as nearly as I could tell it was made from dal. It was quite nice as well. Next up were a coconut chutney (with oodles of cardamom in it) and a tomato chutney. Finally there was the yoghurt and puffed-rice dish that seems to pop up in almost every Indian cuisine. I can't remember the name of it, but I think it's primary function is to help remove heat after you eat something spicy.
The centre piece in this platter was the bowl of lentil soup. I don't know what I can really say about this soup, other than that it was the highlight of the meal. It packed a few pleasant surprises in it, the biggest of which was 1/4 of a poached pear. It was a complex mix of flavours and textures that all worked well together.
The platter with its slice of naan, or the Dosa would have made an adequate meal for me. If I had been smarter, I'd have saved about half of the Dosa and brought it home for lunch tomorrow. Alas, that did not occur to me until I had fought my way more than two thirds of that food baton. I will make a point of skipping lunch the next time I know I might be ordering this platter for dinner.