Good news, Portland: Dosas are coming downtown. For lunch.
Though the much vaunted-after South-Indian pancakes are easier to find in town since Tiffin Asha opened on Killingsworth Street, Portland has long been missing an excellent lunchtime dosa spot in the city core.
Ranesh Rajendran and Shamla Puthuparambil—whose downtown fast-casual spot Tandoor Kitchen is among the better hot-plate lunch buffets in the area—will be opening a full-service restaurant called Dil Se in the former West Cafe location at Southwest 12th and Jefferson. They expect to be up and running by August for both lunch and dinner.
Rajendran is a known quantity on the dosa front; before opening Tandoor Indian Kitchen about a decade back, he cooked at the excellent Chennai Masala in Hillsboro—generally acknowledged as having the best dosas anywhere near Portland. When it opened, Tandoor Kitchen also cooked up dosas we called "divine" back in 2008.
According to Puthuparambil, the menu will span both North and South Indian cuisines, as well as dishes like tikka masala, with economical lunch combos. "I couldn't call it a thali," she says, "but there will be things like curried chicken with rice, bread and vegetables." They also plan Mughlai-style kababs and veggie dishes like kale poriyal—essentially South-Indian stir fry.
But fundamentally, let's make something clear: Dosas. Downtown. Lunch and dinner. Great.