Here’s a tip, fellow diners: if you walk into an ethnic restaurant and every patron is of that ethnicity and speaking a language other than English, you’ve likely hit the jackpot.  That was my experience this past Saturday night at Saravana.  Hearing only foreign sounds was music to my ears because I knew I was in for a good meal.

I was lucky enough to get a quick, 20 hour visit from Avery this weekend.  Aves contends there is no good Indian food in DC for a reasonable price, so we hit up the trusty Zagat Guide to help us pick an NYC goodie.  My old friend Mr. Zagat steered us in the right direction.  The restaurant was packed, even though we were there at early bird special time.  I gotta hand it to Aves; she had no clue what she was ordering, and her tactic for composing our dinner was to basically point to one item from each area of the menu.  It worked.  We wound up with lentil doughnuts, a dosa filled with veggies, and a massive platter with rice and bread in the center and about 12 curries, sauces, and dips on the side.

As we were finishing our meal, the guy sitting next to us leaned over and said he was South Indian and Saravana served the best South Indian food he’s tasted in America.  Score.  Not only was the food tasty (Aves said it was “life-changing” and mentioned something about her “mouth being happy”), we ordered way more than we could finish and our total (with tax) came to $34.

My one suggestion to the folks at Saravana: get bigger cups.  You may not have noticed, but your food tends to walk on the spicy side; thus, a shot glass of water does not suffice.  Invest in large glasses or provide each table with their own pitcher.  Other than that, great job; I’ll be back soon.