Anjan and Emily Mitra in their first days at Dosa
in the Mission.
Anjan Mitra, co-owner (with his wife Emily) of Dosa, is gearing up to launch Dosa on Fillmore. Located on the corner of Post Street, in the old Goodwill space right across from the Sundance Kabuki theater, it promises to add a good bit of spice to that part of town. The new Dosa will be open until midnight and serve lunch and a weekend brunch too. We’re looking forward following up our next Fillmore concert, movie-night-out or post-Kabuki Springs soak with a little South Indian fix. Anjan gave us the latest.
When are you set to open?
It’s going to be end of October, beginning of November. We initially were going to try open by Diwali [the traditional “Festival of Lights” celebration], but it keeps changing.
How big is the restaurant?
About 200 seats. Right now, Dosa [on Valencia] has about 70 seats. The new space has a main floor with 140 seats and then there’s a mezzanine that fits about 50 or 60 people, where people can have receptions or private events.
Why Fillmore Street?
We looked for over a year, but ended up choosing it because, first of all, it’s very much a San Francisco neighborhood. We thought about doing something downtown and looked at the space in the Mint Plaza, but we wanted to be in more of a neighborhood and this space is very much in a San Francisco hub—with Japantown, the Western Addition and Pacific Heights. It has a nice access to a diverse group of people.
Did you know then that Fillmore Street was going to be the new gourmet ghetto?
Actually, we didn’t know that Yoshi’s was coming in [when we got the space]—or SPQR or the Slanted Door or Pizzeria Delfina. But now it’s brilliant, it’s a new restaurant neighborhood.
What’s the menu looking like?
The kitchen is four times the size of the kitchen we have now, so it’s not going to just be about dosas. It’s going to be about all of Southern India where about 340 to 400 million people live. It has a diverse geographical terrain. We’ll have a lot more non-vegetarian dishes, more fish, three or four dishes of lamb. For example, Kerala where it gets very hot, has very mild coconut milk–based dishes and Andhra Pradesh probably has the spiciest cuisine of Southern India.
You grew up in Bombay, right?
Bombay is like New York, there’s a whole neighborhood that’s Southern Indian. It’s like someone growing up in New York, and knowing what a good Jewish deli is like.
Example of a new dish you’re putting on the menu?
We’re doing a whole fish that we’ve done as a special at Dosa. It’s made with ground mustard seeds and almonds that’s essentially used as a paste. You sauté it with turmeric, cumin, black pepper, salt. It’s a fairly simple, but powerful, dish and you finish it with lime.
You’re going to have a full bar.
The standard of cocktails and drinks has changed and we’re going to do something interesting. I’m working with my chef to come up with some infusions and syrups and giving that an Indian twist.
Any lessons learned from opening the first Dosa?
We have to come out of the gates running. With the online world, with Yelp, everyone races to write about you, so we have to everything buttoned down from day one. With this second round, expectations are going to be higher.
Does Yelp still matter?
Yeah they do. The good thing is someone like Michael Bauer or a publication like 7x7 is much more powerful [ed: Anjan knows how to butter us up—or is it ghee us up, in this case?]. But Yelp as an entity is still powerful, whether or not you like it.