TRIBECA — A new eatery featuring succulent South Indian street-fare has arrived in lower Manhattan — but diners don't need a reservation to get a taste.
Cafe Spice Dosateria & Lassi Bar, located inside the Whole Foods Market in TriBeCa, opened earlier this week, offering a wide-variety of regional cuisine made hot off the griddle in less than 10 minutes.
It is the first and only eatery of its kind in any Whole Foods Market in the United States, said company spokesman Michael Sinatra.
"We’ve been conceptualizing the menu for about eight months," said Hari Nayak, corporate chef of Cafe Spice. "This is more of a street-food version — it’s made to order. If you walk in an Indian street-food market, you will see this.”
Nayak said the dosa — a thin, spongy crepe-like bread packed with an assortment of ingredients and then folded in half — is a staple of his native South India and a Cafe Spice specialty.
There are several dosa options to select from at the cafe, including "Good Karma," a whole-grain dosa stuffed with stir-fried tofu masala and fire roasted red peppers, and the "Shrimp Kama Dosa," filled with stir-fried coconut crustaceans.
Other menu items include uttapams, an open-faced grilled flatbread with meat or vegetable toppings, and lassi, a yogurt-based drink similar to a smoothie.
All items on the menu cost between $2 and $13, excluding the cost of additional toppings.
Sinatra said that since the cafe opened Tuesday — replacing a section of a sushi counter inside the store — customers have seemed pleased with the new offering.
"We’re always looking for new things to do, something new and exciting, and we love the idea of bringing and Indian street-food vendor venue into one of our stores,” he said.
"We're not doing this anywhere else."