No. 82 Ceylon Curry Dosa at Khazana 9234 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree 303-993-8335
They say we eat with our eyes first; if that's the case, we would be full before we even took a bite of Khazana's immense dosa. Thankfully, the crisp lentil crepe with its curry filling -- goat, in this case -- is as good as it looks, with flavors as big as the arm-length roll dominating a plate that seems tiny in comparison.
See also: 100 Favorite Dishes of 2014
A spin-off of the now-closed Jai Ho in Aurora (there's also Jai Ho Bolder in Boulder), Khazana features a menu with the same cheeky descriptions ("channa -- giant puffy fried bread with many options and a bright future") and focus on lesser known Southern Indian and street-food specialties. The kitchen turns out a few varieties of dosa, like a smaller, pancake-like Oothapam dosa and a thick, soft kal dosa, but its this version -- big as a manhole cover -- with it's shiny, caramalized surface and buttery interior studded with chopped cilantro, that keeps our attention.
Also available with Ceylon chicken curry and at least two vegetarian versions, the dosa is definitely the star, so you can't go wrong with any of the choices. Our choice of goat (called "mutton" here, as with most Indian restaurant menus) was tender and mild and enrobed in a velvety sauce bursting with so many interwoven spice flavors they became impossible to individually identify. An extra side of the curry sauce means every bite of dosa can be dipped to extend the experience. There's a definite kick from chile peppers as well as the bright flavors of ginger, lemon and fresh herbs, giving way to toastiness from dry spices like cumin, fenugreek and cardamom.
From the moment the waiter emerges from the kitchen door, all eyes turn toward the bronzed beauty of the dosa. And long after we were full, we continued to tear bites of the crepe from the hulking remains of the dish (like a foundering shipwreck at the edge of the table) and stealing scoops of the curry. Impressive and intimidating at first sight, the flavors and textures are welcoming and fun: party food for a big group or -- for just $12 ($11 if you prefer chicken) -- a cheap meal for two.
In advance of the Best of Denver 2015, we're already loading our plates with contenders for the best dishes in the city. And over the next nine months, we'll be sharing many of them with you, counting down (in no particular order) one hundred of our favorite dishes before the the Best of Denver 2015 hits the streets on March 26. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our 2014 countdown are linked below.
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