Godavari opened in Eden Prairie last fall—the first and so far only Minnesota franchise of the broadly South Indian, more specifically Andhra chain that has locations outside major metros mostly on the east coast and increasingly in the midwest. I first reviewed a takeout meal from them last September. We really liked the food at that meal and when I posted my rankings of Indian restaurants in the Twin Cities metro later in the year I had them in the top tier (along with Indian Masala in Maplewood). We’ve been wanting to go back and try more of their capacious menu; and this past weekend we did just that. Herewith the details.
With the weather “warming up” in Minnesota after the deep freeze of early-mid-February we are getting back to our weekend family walks. On Saturday we went back to the Hyland Lake Park in Bloomington, one of our favourite parks in the metro. Most of the park’s walkable area was still given over to cross-country skiers (those selfish bastards) but the paved trails are still quite extensive. We got in a 3 mile walk before driving 10 minutes to pick up our food from Godavari (I’d called the order in the night before so as to be able to pick it up as early as possible after opening). A 50 minute drive home, a little microwave action and we were ready to eat a big, late lunch not too long after 1.30 pm.
And, boy, did we have a lot of food. I ordered almost as much as much food as I had back in September when we ate with two other couples on our deck but this time it was just the four of us. The boys got their usual tandoori chicken and naan. Those along with the Malabar parathas were the only repeats from the first meal. From the appetizers section we got the following: babai idly, chilli egg and Thagubothu kodi vepudu. Iddlies should really be eaten piping hot but even reheated these were quite nice. They come smeared with karampodi, a slightly hot spice paste, and with sambar (quite nice) and two chutneys (sesame and onion, both quite nice). The chilli egg was a bit of a misfire on my part: for some reason I assumed it was going to be a Chettinad-style preparation but instead it turned out to be an ersatz South Indian-Chinese dish. Not bad on its terms but not what I wanted (and I don’t know that I’d order it again).
The Thagubothu kodi vepudu, however, was excellent. I don’t know what “Thagubothu” refers to (kodi=chicken; vepudu=fried) but what showed up was dry-fried chicken in a medium-spicy marinade. It would have been excellent fresh out of the kitchen—and even better with beer—but was very good as it was after a few minutes in the toaster oven. The boys enjoyed it almost as much as their tandoori chicken (which was again entirely devoid of red food colouring and also much hotter than you might expect at the “medium” setting). We also got an order of their kothu paratha with chicken. We love House of Curry’s Sri Lankan version of this dish of chopped parathas stir-fried with veg etc. and this was pretty damned good too. I got this sort of in lieu of a biryani as we’d not been overly impressed with their biryani in September.
For the mains, two meat and two veg dishes. In the former category were the Kurnool kodi kura, a boneless chicken curry; and the Telangana mamsam kurma, a kurma/korma with baby goat. Both were rather hot and rather excellent. The veg dishes were not quite as good in our view but still very tasty: Bengaluru bendi pulusu (an okra curry) and the gutti vankaya koora (tandoor roasted eggplant in a rich curry made with ground coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds). Both were rather hot as well. Probably due to an oversight on their part there was no rice packed with any of this. Thankfully I’d mistakenly got two orders of the Malabar parathas, and as they come 3 to an order we had enough to mop everything up with. I’d ordered payasam/kheer to end but when at pickup they told me they didn’t have any and so had substituted gulab jamuns. While I am a big fan of gulab jamuns I was not happy to hear this as gulab jamuns in Indian restaurants in the US tend to the sad end of the spectrum. These were quite respectable though: not at all dense and the syrup not too cloying.
For a look at the food (and the menu) launch the slideshow below. Scroll down for a few more thoughts on the meal and to see what might be coming next.
Yes, this was a lot of food. We froze half of the copious leftovers to enjoy later and finished the rest over the last few days. I’d estimate that we had enough food for 10 hungry adults, which would put the cost of the meal at just about $18/head after tax and a 20% tip. They seem to be doing decent business. There were a number of other people waiting for takeout orders when I got there and there were also a few tables seated—yes, they are again open for in-person dining as they’d been in September as well. I’m hoping they’ll continue to do enough business to see them through the end of the pandemic. When that mythical time arrives we will soon be there to eat some of their food, fresh out of the kitchen.
Next up? I’m not entirely sure. Almost certainly southeast Asian but whether Malaysian, Thai or Vietnamese, I’m not sure. In the meantime, if you’re local, let me know where you’ve been picking food up from. And do let me know if any of you have made it out to Godavari yet.