Saravanaa Bhavan, an Indian vegetarian chain with 56 international outlets, has opened in Hicksville. The spacious, contemporary restaurant is in Delco Plaza, on South Broadway just south of Old Country Road.
The menu provides a broad tour of the fertile vegetarian cuisine of South India. Starters include idli (steamed rice-lentil patties), vada (lentil doughnut) and bajji (vegetable fritters). In “dosa corner” you’ll find dozens of variations on the manhole-cover-sized rice-lentil (or wheat-lentil) crepes that are filled with all manner of vegetables and seasonings. There are also 13 uttapams, smaller but fatter than dosas, plus vegetable curries, rice dishes and clay-oven breads. Saravanaa Bhavan also serves thalis, whole multicourse meals served on shiny round trays.
There’s nothing on Saravanaa Bhavan’s menu that’s more than $15, and much of it is less than $10. Saravanaa Bhavan is at 285 S. Broadway, 516-261-7755.
But wait, there’s more. Delco Plaza has undergone a face-lift and is now home to a number of new businesses geared to South Asian customers. A grand new supermarket, Maharaja Farmers Market (265 S. Broadway, 516-822-6060), anchors the shopping center. It’s a big, clean, friendly source not only for Indian and Pakistani groceries but also for Turkish and Middle Eastern goods.
For a quick bite, there’s Shah’s Halal Food (285-05 S. Broadway, 516-261-9444), which got its start as a food cart in Queens and still serves cheap, fast South Asian fare such as chicken, lamb, falafel or fish over rice ($5.99), as well as cheesesteaks ($5.99), cheeseburgers and spicy wings (both $4.49). And, for the halal pizza enthusiast, there’s Dante’s Pizzeria (285-08 S. Broadway, 516-932-0678), whose menu looks indistinguishable from any other pizzeria but whose “ham,” “pepperoni” and “sausage” are all halal, made from beef.
Sharing the shopping center with these young upstarts is Kiran Palace (67-75 E. Old Country Rd., 516-932-5191), a Hicksville stalwart that has occupied the spot since 2001.