Godavari, Finally in Person (Eden Prairie, MN)

I had Godavari at the top of my Twin Cities South Asian/Indian restaurant rankings in both 2020 and 2021. And that was based only on takeout meals brought home and reheated during the height of the pandemic. We’ve been looking forward to eating in there for a while and a week ago Saturday we finally managed it. It was just the four of us and one friend but we still managed to do quite a bit of damage. We mostly ordered things we hadn’t got from them before, including some things we hadn’t ordered because they hadn’t seemed like good bets to survive a long drive and reheating. I am pleased to say that if Indian Masala’s weekend buffet a week earlier had not impressed overmuch, this meal validated our already high opinion of Godavari. Herewith the details.

I should say first of all that this meal at Godavari had the advantage on our recent visit to Indian Masala because, unlike Indian Masala, Godavari is not currently doing buffets. Not on the weekend or on weekdays. They seem set up with a buffet space but having opened during the pandemic it’s possible they’ve never actually utilized it—I didn’t actually confirm this with the staff so don’t quote me. We got there at about 1, which is the very beginning of lunch time for my people. The restaurant was about 1/2 full when we arrived and by 2 pm it had begun to fill up. We were first seated in a part of the restaurant—where all the large booths are—that was already pretty full. The other end of the restaurant being empty we asked to be moved there and they readily agreed. By the time we left around 2.30 it had filled up as well. The tables at that end are better spaced than the booths anyway.

Alright, what did we eat? The adults ordered from the more capacious South Indian end of the menu while our boys predictably focused on things from the tandoor. They did not, however, get the tandoori chicken. Godavari’s tandoori chicken is very good but its baseline heat setting is pretty high. They experimented therefore with two new dishes: the chicken tikka and the tandoori prawns. The chicken seemed to have been marinated luxuriantly in mustard oil and was not entirely to their taste. The adults really enjoyed them though. On the other hand, the boys loved the tandoori prawns—and from the couple of pieces I managed to sneak I could see why. They also very much liked their butter naans.

The adults began with the so-called chicken 555. I’d never eaten this before and so did not know what to expect. What turned up was cubes of chicken marinated in a mint-cilantro-green chilli paste and sauteed. Quite nice. Even better was the crisply batter-fried Konaseema fish vepudu—one of the dishes we’d passed on in our takeout-only era. I recommend this highly for anyone looking for a fish fry alternative in these days of Lent. We also could not resist getting an order of ghee idlis and a dosa. The former were rather good—far better, predictably, than those we’d gotten as takeout on one occasion. The Mysore masala dosa was likewise excellent. The chutneys were more ordinary and I was not overly enthused by the sambar either. Still with sambar served with both the idlis and the dosa this meant we didn’t need to order a North Indian dal to go with the rest of the meal.

That rest of the meal comprised the Andhra goat curry and the gongura vankaya koora or curry of eggplant made with sour gongura/sorrel leaves. Both were very good indeed. In a bit of a (pleasant) surprise the younger boy deigned to try the goat curry and rather liked it too. We mopped those up with a couple of orders of very good Malabar parathas. We somehow failed to order any dessert—perhaps because we were already rather stuffed. Portions were large—as you can see below—and we took a fair bit home.

Drinks? Three people had a small can of Thums Up each; I had a glass of their very ginger-heavy buttermilk. For a look at what we ate—and at the restaurant—launch the slideshow below. To see how much the meal cost and for thoughts on service etc. launch the slideshow below.

Service was very friendly and attentive. By the way, while they have physical menus you’re better off scanning the QR code on every table and ordering off the online menu. This because that menu has more things on it than the physical menu (which can’t be updated as fast).

All of the above came to $190 with tax and tip. Counting the boys as one adult that would seemingly put us at close to $50/head. But considering how much food we took home, I would say that at least 8 adults could have put away what we did. So closer to $25/head effective price if ordering like normal people and probably a fair bit less.

We’ll be back again in the next month or two for sure. I look forward to trying more of their dosas and non-veg dishes. (My only complaint remains the relative paucity of South Indian vegetarian dishes. Given how many there are to choose from from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone this is a bit of a head-scratcher) Another meal or two and I should be ready to offer an ordering guide as I did late last year for Grand Szechuan.

Up next on the restaurant front: probably a report on a recent dinner at Owamni. I am scheduled to leave for Delhi for two weeks on Thursday. I hope that will go as planned. I’m booked on a long haul flight on United from Chicago to Delhi and United has already suspended/cancelled a couple of long haul flights from San Francisco and Newark to Bombay and Delhi. The official reason is Ukrainian and Russian airspace closures/restrictions but I suspect they are also taking the opportunity to cancel half-empty flights and herd more people onto the few flights they are operating. If the trip goes as scheduled I will have a number of Delhi reports later in March. Fingers crossed for as scheduled and uneventful travel.



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