Return to the buffet at Saravana Palace in Fairfax
Ready to go back to an Indian buffet? This vegetarian restaurant in Fairfax might be the place to be.
By Alice Levitt
I always spend way too much time browsing the menu before heading to a restaurant. I mean, this is my job. When I arrived at the Saravana Palace in Fairfax, however, my carefully crafted plans were thwarted in a wonderful way. I was faced with my first buffet since before COVID changed the world.
Was I ready? Faced with a hotel casserole full of yogurt rice and bottomless mango lassis, I forgot all the potential fears. To give a bit of context, I list “Indian buffets” as my religion on Facebook. This is, after all, how I spent my Sundays growing up.
Saravana Palace is a fully vegetarian restaurant, and a number of buffet items also exclude onions and garlic. Among those the day I had lunch at the buffet was samosas, made with the lightest, crispest batter I’ve ever seen on a buffet table. The absence of allium did not diminish my enthusiasm for the potato and pea pastries. I paired mine with a Styrofoam cup of mango lassi, which tasted more like fruit than yogurt.
Another good surprise? A waiter delivered a pair of dosas, also filled with potatoes and peas, straight to my table. The crispy pancakes didn’t have the spiciness I’m looking for in dosa batter, but gratifyingly crunchy around their filling. Chutneys and sambar were waiting for you at the buffet to dip for the dosa.
Other highlights when I hit the buffet included the gobi 65, the Indo-Chinese cauliflower in a vibrant jacket, with a satisfying spice burn. You might be feeling a theme, or rather a lack: the fare at Saravana Palace isn’t limited to just one region of India, as evidenced by the fact that I ended up dipping some famous Southern rice pancakes. under the name idli in paneer butter masala. , originally from Delhi.
I can never turn down a sweet ending, so I picked up the two available desserts. The gulab jamun were stiffer than they should be, too inflexible to be cut with my spoon. But the semiya payasam, a hot noodle pudding, was a heartwarming finish. Even after delving through the menu, I couldn’t have planned a feast like the one I enjoyed upon my return to the steam table.
11725 Lee Hwy., Ste. A15, Fairfax
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