BEST REBIRTH - 2002
The legendary phoenix ain't got nothin' on Udupi--you want rising from the ashes? We'll give you rising from the ashes. When the Columbia Heights restaurant burned to the absolute ground in the winter of 2000-2001, there was nothing by the side of the road but a cement pad and cinders. (Extra points to anyone who caught the news reports quoting an Udupi source downplaying the conflagration as a mere "kitchen fire" and saying they'd be up and running again in six weeks.) But now they really are back, in the roomier and more substantial space formerly occupied by Jang Won. The all-vegetarian menu is as wonderful and inexpensive as ever: paper dosas curled like megaphones, onion dosas as light and bubbly as lace, and the various lentil and vegetable stews you eat them with as fragrant and subtle as ever. All very impressive, but so is the whole flawlessly recovering from annihilation thing.