I take no shame in professing my adoration for Dobhan, the Indian-Nepali hybrid restaurant featuring an expansive vegetarian menu alongside their carnivorous offerings. Leafy greens, tofu, lentils, brown rice, and vegetable stews emerge from the aromatic kitchen to easily (not to mention deliciously) satisfy my entire meal checklist. This past Saturday, I ventured to my favorite ethnic eatery with my best friend Maddie, an avid connisseur of international cuisine (she sheepishly admits to dining at the Ethiopian restaurant Buraka at least once every two weeks). Surprisingly, Maddie’s cultural curiosity had not yet steered her far enough to the East Side of Madison to pay a visit to Dobhan, so I naturally felt it as my duty to introduce her to the Middle-Eastern gem.
As I’ve described my eating experiences Dobhan more extensively in a past review, I thought a few pictures and brief summations would suffice for this particular excursion.
For starters, I eagerly ordered a bowl of dal while Maddie opted for a small salad with orange-balsamic vinaigrette. This dal excites me whenever I journey to Dobhan, especially on a blustery evening like this one; the smoky broth, unctuous flavor from the fennel seeds, and generous spoonfuls of creamy lentils transform a once homely bean soup into a rich Indian classic which I would certainly award the best dal in Madison.
Conforming to every previous visit I’ve paid to Dobhan, I also ordered an appetizer plate of Hariyo—lightly steamed bok choy and other greens drizzled in tamari and sesame seeds—to fulfill my mealtime quota of leafy greens…and also because it tastes divine.
Just like my last Dobhan visit, I ordered the Tofu Buff as my entree. Sadly, this tofu did not offer the same other-wordly experience that my previous dish posed, lacking the same depth of flavor and firm texture, but it still tasted pretty darn good. My only other complaint stems from the abundance of green bell peppers in the vegetable-tofu saute (I detest the bitter green veggies with a burning passion), but the tender mushrooms, onions, zucchini, spinach, and red bell peppers adequately masked their evil.
Maddie, enamored by its filling of masala-spiced potatoes, ordered the Masala Dosa—a crepe of rice and lentil flours stuffed with spicy potatoes and accompanied by a sauce trio of coconut chutney, eggplant bharta, and yogurt-mint sauce. Not known for her impressive appetite, I gaped in amazement as Maddie devoured the entire wrap, applauding myself for choosing a restaurant that would inspire her induction into the clean-plate club. Admittedly, I helped a bit by swiping a couple forkfuls of potato filling and the whole pile of eggplant bharta—a tangy and pleasingly sour palate cleanser.
I can happily promise you that this trip to Dobhan certainly does not mark my last. If you live in or near Madison, the modern Indian eatery certainly garners a visit.
Until next time, Ali.