this restaurant is cross-listed as "saravna bhavan usa inc." check it out: http://www.judysbook.com/cities/sunnyvale-ca/Restaurants/24239331/p1/Saravana_Bhavan_USA_Inc.htm
anyway, this restaurant is pretty cool. today, my old college roommate and i met up for lunch. back in 1994~95, he and i shared a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in berkeley with a third roommate. we split the $689/month rent. the building was owned by l.b. reddy or "reddy realty." that group also owns the pasand chain of restaurants and got in trouble for illegally trafficking young women from india to work in the "world's oldest profession." as we watched our landlord get sentenced on tv, friends would ask us if we got anything out of it. yeah, to a bunch of college students, it _would_ seem like we must win some kind of prize when our landlord gets thrown in the slammer, eh?
anyway, saravana bhavan is not pasand and, as far as i know, is not a front for any kind of illegal business. that's a thumbs up review, if _i_ ever heard one! but seriously. . . so i drove through a nice area of sunnyvale to get to this restaurant. i guessed this is where kids that go to the prestigious homestead high school must live. i found saravana bhavan between citibank and u.s. bank and across the street from bank of america, walgreens, a christian bookstore, and ernie reyes's west coast martial arts. saravana bhavan has a simple building, nothing fancy. the building reminds me of the one that currently houses khanh's garden, the vietnamese restaurant over on winchester boulevard near valley fair. of course, my friend mark's old high school friend van's family started khanh's garden back when santana row was the towne and country outdoor mall. however, it's now in that standalone building that seems like a denny's or something. yeah, similarly, saravana bhavan's building could be a denny's. in the front, as you walk in, you see many popular indian desserts for sale behind/under a glass counter. i know that many americans who are unfamiliar with desi food prefer buffets. indian buffet's a staple of the silicon valley engineer's diet, right? sure, if a desi restaurant has a nice buffet lunch, then the sexually frustrated silicon valley engineer doesn't need to feel ashamed that he can't pronounce menu items or is using the wrong utensils while eating a condiment as if it were a main dish. my friend ordered the special lunch, and i ordered the dried fruit rava dosa. yeah, this is a south indian restaurant, and dosas are something to look forward to at such a restaurant. wow, this meal looked like it was straight out of _men's_health_ magazine because it had all sorts of healthy ingredients! perhaps if i eat this meal once every couple of weeks i'll be strong, virile, filled with stamina, vigorous, buffed out and live a long life. the special meal has "limited" after it, which gives it a cool appeal, like some kind of sports car or piece of remix dj equipment. it contains: "Sweet,Poori(2) Channa Masala, Rice, Sambhar, Rasam, Special Kulambu, 2 Vegetable Curries, Raitha, Curd,Appalam, Pickle" according to their website (http://www.saravanabhavan.com/interusacali.htm); and yes, i do believe i saw all those things on my friend's plate. my friend ordered the special madras coffee. at first, i wasn't going to have it, but the waiter recommended it, so i caved in. yeah, you know what? it was really good. try it. service was decent, although it wasn't like they were ready to do just anything for me, etc. however, it was fine. the price is a little more than i'd expect. it's well... not to make the obvious comparison... a bit more expensive than udupi. however, maybe it was just the fact that this place wasn't as busy when we ate our early lunch, but i think the quality of saravan bhavan beats udupi. i do like udupi as well though.