After the disaster that was Saravana Palace, the quest for quality vegetarian Indian food takes us to Saran, located on Lee Highway and George Mason.  What is interesting about Saran is that – while they have an extensive South Indian menu – it is pretty clear that authenticity is lacking.  That said, this does not mean that the place is bad.  This makes for a peculiar review, but here we go.

If you are looking for decor, Saran is not the place for you.  In fact, it’s Lee Highway location definitely screams “Hole in the Wall”.  Walking in, they offered the dinner buffet, but the items looked unremarkable (Mattar Paneer, Saag) and kind of creepy.  So we turned to the menu.  First things first – they did have salt lassis – and they were pretty effective.  Not too thick, savory taste but not too thick – really a refreshing piece.  I ordered the tomato soup (not rasam), and that was also fairly solid, and bonda (fritter with potato) was effective, even if the batter seemed to evoke more an egg roll than anything.  I ordered the mattar mushroom (peas, and mushroom) while LG ordered a dosa with masala.  The dosa was good – it was competently made.  However the masala and sambhar were much more in the line of a conception of South Indian food.  The dishes were spiced in a much more North Indian manner.  Of course, I ordered a North Indian dish – and I have to admit it was tasty, though the mushrooms in some places were overdone.

Ultimately this is definitely a thumbs up, though the search for great South Indian continues.  Minerva is still at the top.


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