Smile Politely

Sairam Om worth a second try

I likely just ordered wrong.

Akin to ordering chicken at a steakhouse, I made the mistake of not trying the dosas at the newest Indiana restaurant in town, Sairam Om. It wasn’t until after I had been there that a friend told me how good its dosas taste. Dosas are crepe-like and can be filled with spiced potatoes as well as other tasty foodstuffs. I somehow managed to overlook this specialty item and the fact that if I had tried them, I would not have been disappointed.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for the dishes that I did try at Sairam Om. Although tasty enough, the dishes fell a little flat and left me a little disappointed since I had heard such positive reviews for this new restaurant. Thinking it was a safe bet for me to order dishes that I feel would be a staple for me to try, I went with chana masala and paneer tikka masala.

Though the chana masala did deliver a blend of familiar tasting spices, the texture of the chickpeas was on the mushy side and the spice a bit one-note. The dish was described as chickpeas cooked in a blend of tomatoes and spices, but the lack of textural contrast detracted from the flavor that was there.

The paneer didn’t fare any better. In my past paneer-eating experiences, there is a mild and delightfully cheesy taste with a texture similar to firm tofu. This, however, yielded in an unsettling manner and was slightly bland. The sauce offered a little bit of redemption, but it was sadly not enough to deem the dish as something I would order again.

Chana masala notwithstanding, as another local restaurant by the name of Bombay offers a more solid chana masala, the bread at Sairam Om is in a class by itself. The parottas, crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside flatbreads were a beautiful compliment to eat alongside the dishes as well as a delicious appetizer to eat on its own.

Even with the longer wait from ordering to getting food and the slight shortcomings of the dishes ordered, Sairam Om is worth a second try. The atmosphere is cozy enough, the staff friendly, and the enticing smells that emanate from the kitchen are reason enough to come back and try something new. Although it is a longer venture to get out to Sairam Om, located at 2502 Village Green Place in Champaign, it may very well be worth it to try the dosas. Dosas, here I come.

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