Weekly Feature



2007-11-28 / Business

Palace of Dosas brings south Indian cuisine to Amherst

by JESSICA L. FINCH Associate Editor

Nicholas Emmanuel, owner of Palace of Dosas, offers his recipes for south Indian food, originally developed in New York City. Nicholas Emmanuel, owner of Palace of Dosas, offers his recipes for south Indian food, originally developed in New York City. In the mood for a new and different dining experience? In Western New York that place might just be a palace.

Palace of Dosas. which opened on Millersport Highway in April, offers 100 percent vegetarian dishes and 0 percent additives.

Owner and chef Nicholas Emmanuel said, "We serve Indian food but American style."

In the restaurant business for 25 years, Emmanuel said he didn't know how to cook when he moved to New York City. He learned from his roommate and a chef at a restaurant where he worked.

After learning the trade, he became a chef and owner of Ububi, also in New York City. He then started teaching others how to cook the south Indian cuisine.

The first of its kind in WNY, according to Emmanuel, the menu can be found around the country. Those who learned the style of cooking at the New York City restaurant opened establishments in other states.

It is that comradery that followed Emmanuel to Amherst. With the restaurant attracting numerous patrons, he called for help from New York City. His partner, Vamadevan Ragumar, is still helping with the business.

"We were so busy, the restaurant was packed ... I didn't expect it," Emmanuel said.

He added that he still converses with the chefs with whom he trained. They call each other to discuss recipes and with questions abut the business.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, families were having a late lunch of dosas, prepared to their specific tastes. Dosas are often compared to crepes. Emmanuel said the preparation starts with a basic rice and lentil flour recipe, and then ingredients are added for variety.

The menu at Palace of Dosas offers more than 20 varieties of dosas. And the spices range from very mild to hot, he said.

The menu also has a selection of utthappam, which Emmanuel described as being similar to a pizza and topped with a variety of vegetables, including green chilis, tomatoes, onions and peas.

The all-vegetarian menu is doing well, he said, adding that he tried various recipes when he was in New York City, but the response to the nonmeat dishes is good, and he will stick with that.

The menu also has soups, salads, appetizers, breads, speciality rice dishes, vegetable curries, and desserts. Child and lunch menus are also available. The menu states, "all our food is natural and freshly prepared daily."

He said the menu is based on traditional recipes, with his own creativity added. He said he splits his time between the kitchen and dining room; by talking with his customers he learns their likes and dislikes related to the different dishes.

With the unexpected high volume of people eating at Palace of Dosas, he said he has taught his family - including wife Vathani - the ins and outs of dosas and everything that comes with them.

Emmanuel said he moved to WNY to be closer to family members living in Toronto. After searching the area for a location, he chose 656 Millersport Highway, located at the corner of Eggert Road.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday.

For takeout or information, call 834-1800. The Web site, which is www.palaceofdosas.com, is still under construction.

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