Monday, September 23, 2019Light Snow -5°C
Food

Montreal South Indian Throwdown: Jolee vs. Maison Indian Curry House

Posted by Amie / June 7, 2010

Montreal South Indian Throwdown

Jolee (5495 avenue Victoria) | Maison Indian Curry House (996 rue Jean-Talon West)

●●●●●○○○○○ | ●●●●●●●○○○

5 out of 10 | 7 out of 10

When you think of Indian food you probably think of butter chicken, tandoori chicken, paneer, fresh naan (another tandoori specialty) and unidentifiable vegetables and meats stewed in heaping amounts of deliciously spiced, oil-suffocated sauces.

This is not South Indian food. Sure, you can get these things at Jolee Restaurant and Maison Indian Curry House, but I went to these places looking instead for dosa, idli, sambar, coconut chutney, and vadai.

The biggest differences between Northern and Southern Indian cooking are the popularity of milk, cream and wheat (for sauces and breads) in the North, and the focus on rice, lentils, mustard seeds, fenugreek, fennel, tamarind and coconut in the south. Of course, this is an over-simplification, since dairy is used in the south and lentils are definitely in the north. So, like you can find southern foods in the north (and vice cersa), you can find southern specialties in non-South Indian restaurants here in Montreal.

Enough history. More food.

I get dosa cravings. If dosa is on a menu I have to order it, which is how I stumbled across dosa at Indian Maison Curry House. The owners are actually Punjabi, so Northern Indian, but the entire first page of their menu is South Indian specialties. The rest of the menu is comprised of their $5, $6 and $7 thali specials and slightly more expensive a la carte offerings of vegetable and meat curries, rice dishes and naan. As hard as is it to say no to those prices and tastes, I did, and I wasn't disappointed.

Masala Dosa Masoor HotFor $6-$7 you can get a giant cone of a crepe wrapped around a spicy mashed potato filling. Kind of like Sunday dinner mashed potatoes except instead of sour cream, butter and milk these spuds are cooked in oil, turmeric, mustard seeds, red chili powder and salt. Sometimes, as in the case of the Masala Dosa Masoor Hot at Maison Indian Curry House, there are red lentils (masoor) mixed in for some more protein. Then the whole thing is wrapped up in a very-un-French crepe made of pulverized rice and black lentils that have been soaking in water overnight. Salt gets added to make a batter and then the whole thing is left again overnight to ferment. The fermentation makes it easier to digest the un-cooked lentils and rice. Take note, raw foodists! Also, imagine planning to make fermented crepes two days in advance...what would the French say? That's a whole lot of fore-thought.

Have you ever marveled at the crepe makers in any of Montreal's fine establishments? It's tough to get the batter ridiculously thin and make sure there are no accidental holes. Well the dosa-makers at both Indian Maison Curry House and Jolee could easily find a second income at crepe places. These guys are good.

Jolee Resturant is actually Sri Lankan, but offers South Indian, North Indian and some Chinese specialties as well. The spices of the Sri Lanklan food will remind you of Thai cooking - tamarind and coconut - thought they are also shared with South Indian cuisine. Both restaurants agree that in their neighbourhoods (Parc Extension for Maison Indian Curry House and Cote-Ste-Catherine for Jolee) there is a large South Indian clientele looking for dinner to justify the food's inclusion on the menus. Anyone else who stumbles into the restaurant is just lucky to get to experience a different kind of food. Be warned, however, that it's not all good, and one restaurant is certainly better than the other.

BEST DOSA: Maison Indian Curry House
Chicken DosaThe greatest downfall of dosa is that it can be too greasy. The oil from the interior potato mixture can soak through the lentil crepe, or the oil used to fry the crepe can soften the shell. Here, even if the middle is a bit squishy from oil, the dosa is so incredibly wrapped that the ends fold around each other and crack like fine parchment. You can actually taste the slight fermentation of the lentils and rice (it's just a little lemony) and the potato mixture inside tastes like potato, not mush.

The spicy verision, Masala Dosa Masoor Hot, loses points for being a little under-spiced, which is kind of disappointing since "masala" means spice blend. You can see the mustard seeds and a few chili pieces, but nothing has an effect on your tongue. Maybe I didn't look like I could take the heat? How do you prove something like that? BYO-chili peppers?

A nice touch was the sprinkling of red chili powder (more for colour than for heat) and salt on the top of the dosa. Even though the potato was a bit bland, the accompanying sides of coconut chutney (the white sauce in the photo), mint chutney with yogurt, (the green sauce in the photo - I didn't think this was usually made with yogurt?), and sambar (the aluminum bowl of oily, soupy stewed vegetables with mustard seeds and not much else...mmm...I actually love falling apart zucchini) gave more than enough variety of dipping options for the dosa. The coconut was very fresh and the yogurt tang was a nice complement to the fermented tang of the shell. The sambar really didn't taste like much.

Another dosa option at Maison Indian Curry House is the chicken dosa. Normally a dosa wouldn't have meat in it but it turned out that this version was filled with deliciously tender tandoori chicken pieces! Now that's fusion. Take a North Indian specialty and stuff it inside a South Indian one. The result was absolutely delicious, the chicken having much more flavour than the potatoes. It is marinated in yogurt for a long time, but sometimes often the pieces dry out from being cooked in the tandoor and then left sitting for too long in a chafing dish or under a heat lamp before being served. These pieces were beautiful and fresh, not the leftovers from some bird cooked for another table. There was so much meat in this that you would probably be sick if you finished the whole thing in one sitting. Actually the same goes for any of the dosai. So you're paying $7 for one dosa, but you're probably paying $3.50 per meal if you take the rest to go.

This is compared to Jolee's dosa, which is just not as impressive a roll, even though this picture is of only half the dosa:Onion Masala DosaIt's $5.50 but a lot more oily. It seemed a little smaller, but that could just be the presentation, since the wrapper doesn't extend too far beyond the fillings like at Maison Indian Curry House. The wrapper itself I liked better here, since it was studded with spices and had a more interesting, hole-riddled texture. Even though Jolee's dosa options include a version with really nice red onions and another with delicious fried onions, your stomach will feel more than a little bogged down once your digestion gets over the initial shock and starts working again. Not to mention that the mustard seeds and other spices are even less present in the mashed potato masala. Oh, and there were a few hairs...apparently this place has had a some bad health inspections in its past. Walking to the washroom you start to regret having drank so much water. Hygiene aside, it's also a bit unappetizing to see the 20 bottles of vegetable oil stacked in the hallway. To be fair, most of this restaurant's clientele do take-out, so never need to use the washroom. That also makes me a bit nervous in how often it gets cleaned...

Maison Indian Curry House, on the other hand, is a very nice space. The clean and beautiful wood paneling on the floors and walls makes you feel welcome and warm in this cosy second-floor nook of a restaurant. The washrooms don't scare you away from touching the door knobs or taps...or eating your food. I also think the food is fresher at Maison Indian Curry House, since Jolee features a take-away counter of snacks and mains that sit...and sit...and sit...and wait to be bought. It makes me nervous about what comes from the back.

Enough about dosa and hygiene.

BEST IDLI: Maison Indian Curry House wins again!
Idli at Indian Maison Curry HouseIdli are steamed disks of fermented rice and lentil, just like the dosa shells. The only difference is that the steaming instead of frying can leave them pretty bland, and they're certainly not stuffed with anything. So at Jolee the disks tasted tough and paste-y and at Maison Indian Curry House they were light and fresh. Again, you could taste the fermentation. You'll also be very full after a meal of these guys, once the uncooked rice and lentils start to expand in your stomach. It's the accompanying chutneys and sambar that make this or break this, though, and at Jolee it broke. Idli with Coconut ChutneyThe coconut chutney tasted salty and metallic, as if it had been sitting in a metal container for far too long, and the coconut should have been thrown out a few months ago. The sambar was bland, lacking tamarind and curry leaves, but so was Indian Maison Curry House's version.

BEST VADA: JoleeJolee VadaiThe big difference between the vada at Jolee and Indian Maison Curry House was the method of serving the deep-fried donuts of lentils. Apparently, when made correctly the donuts shouldn't be too greasy since the built up steam within the vada pushes the oil away from the middle. So you should end up with a crispy outside, since the vada are often coated in a kind of lentil flour, and a softer, doughier inside. At Jolee the whole fried donuts were plopped into sambar soups. You quickly lose the crisp exterior, but the inside stays unnaturally firm. At Indian Maison Curry House the deep-fried donut is cut into 4 smaller pieces, all of which get soaked in the sambar soup. Vada at Indian Maison Curry HouseSo as tasty as the ball was, it completely lost its texture. It was served right away, so the pieces didn't fall apart, but it would have been nice to have the donut pieces served on the side. Serving it in the sambar seems to helps the restaurants cheat on making it less greasy since the surplus of grease can swim out of the ball and into the soup, and you won't be able to taste the original texture anyway. So, kind of disappointing, except that finally the simple spices were nice - mostly salt, onion, and some ginger. At Jolee you also get two donuts per order for about the same price as the one you get at Indian Maison Curry House. Quality difference?

BEST SERVICE: While staff were friendly at both places, it was maybe TOO fast, but in busy restaurants a lot is pre-made, especially with Indian food, where dishes need to stew for long periods of time. Both restaurant's staff happily answered my annoying questions about what was traditionally from the South of India and what was from the North, and while the server at Maison Indian Curry House tried to convince me that naan doesn't have dairy in it (maybe if you're talking about the Uighur style in North Western China, but it always has yogurt and/or ghee in India) I believed most of what I was being told about the dishes.

Some South Indian connoisseurs will note that I didn't even mention the dosa at Bombay Choupati in Pierrefonds. It is closed until mid-summer while the family who owns the restaurant is on vacation. When they come back, it will definitely be worth checking out. Their answering machine has more details. Until then, enjoy Indian Maison Curry House, or if you really must go to Jolee, maybe stick to the chicken roti to go and the Sri Lankan stringhoppers just because you've probably never had that kind of noodle before.

Maison Indian Curry House
996 rue Jean-Talon West
Hours:
Expect To Pay: $8-$13, including tax and tip
Licensed: Yes
514-273-0004

Jolee Restaurant

5495 avenue Victoria
Hours: Noon-11pm, daily
Expect to Pay: $7-$10 including tax and tip, less on take-out.
Licensed: In theory, yes, but they don't sell alcohol and you can't BYOB, so probably they don't have a license anymore.
514-733-6362

Discussion

46 Comments

Anisa Kapal / December 22, 2012 at 03:57 pm
user-pic
This is a great guide on how to make roti and a great Roti Maker device
pokemon x and y / December 25, 2013 at 01:38 pm
user-pic
excellent submit, very informative. I ponder
why the other specialists of this sector do not understand this.
You must proceed your writing. I'm sure, you have a huge readers' base already!
Hearthstone Beta Key Generator / February 13, 2014 at 08:51 am
user-pic
Hello mmy family member! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and com with
almost all significant infos. I'd like to see extra posts like
this .
whatsapp hack download / February 22, 2014 at 05:37 am
user-pic
Great blog here! Also yor site loads up very fast!
What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?

I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol
Whatsapp Hack Spy / February 26, 2014 at 07:45 am
user-pic
wonderful submit, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do
not realize this. You must proceed your writing.
I'm confident, you've a huge readers' base already!
http://www.who.is/whois/whatsapphack.biz/ / February 27, 2014 at 03:54 pm
user-pic
Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your web site
by accident, and I'm surprised why this accident did not took place earlier!

I bookmarked it.
scon.me / March 1, 2014 at 06:56 pm
user-pic
I just like the valuable info you supply for your articles.
I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
I'm moderately sure I will be told many new stuff proper right here!
Best of luck for the next!
Latoya / March 2, 2014 at 10:37 am
user-pic
Magnificent site. Lots of useful information here.
I'm sending it to several buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.
And of course, thank you in your sweat!
cardiac / March 6, 2014 at 06:02 pm
user-pic
You should alter the explanations inside your picked out strategy.
The city of Merida is loaded with culture and variety.
So tuning in is very important for all of us to learn a different
language.
clash of clans / March 18, 2014 at 04:24 am
user-pic
Hi there to every single one, it's actually a good for me to
go to see this site, it includes useful Information.
whatsapp hack application / March 18, 2014 at 05:14 am
user-pic
Hello! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give
it a look. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm book-marking and will
be tweeting this to my followers! Fantastic blog and great style
and design.
Whatsapp Hack Download / March 22, 2014 at 06:53 pm
user-pic
Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it ;) I may revisit once again since i have bookmarked it.

Money and freedom is the greatest way to change,
may you be rich and continue to help other people.
làm b?ng ??i h?c / April 18, 2014 at 03:33 pm
user-pic
I just like the valuable info you supply to your articles.
I will bookmark your weblog and test once more here frequently.
I'm relatively sure I will be informed a lot of new stuff proper here!
Best of luck for the next!
Mega-French / April 18, 2014 at 03:35 pm
user-pic
Really no matter if someone doesn't know then its up to other viewers
that they will assist, so here it takes place.
download free music pandora / April 18, 2014 at 06:38 pm
user-pic
The 3D Society is more than just a mutual admiration society.
The atmosphere of the camp is kept light and fun filled to ensure overall personality development of students participating
in programming courses. The point is to remain true to a character because over time, he or she will more or
less begin to take on a life of his or her own.
Captain america the winter soldier / May 9, 2014 at 05:05 am
user-pic
Howdy would you mind letting me know which web host you're utilizing?
I've loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then
most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a honest price?
Many thanks, I appreciate it!
riot points generator download / May 12, 2014 at 01:45 pm
user-pic
I constantly emailed this blog post page to all my associates, as
if like to read it next my contacts will too.
låna pengar betalningsanmärkningar / May 16, 2014 at 09:56 am
user-pic
Generally, a simple online application form on their respective websites.
With the help personal loans of these finances you can deal with various short
term purposes. Personal loans in particular bad credit personal loans assure you that your loan will more
likely to give their money to businesses that are well-prepared for the long haul.

There are many people with bad credit is that the loans for tenant are also unsecured
loans.
how-to-get-personal-loan.com / June 4, 2014 at 07:08 am
user-pic
Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up.
Grrrr... well I'm not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say excellent
blog!
poloralphlaurenuk.a1ajobs / June 25, 2014 at 03:01 am
user-pic
ralphlaurenpascher.tlenosfera.eu
poloralphlaurenuk.a1ajobs http://poloralphlaurenuk.a1ajobs.com/
PR Domain facebook page / September 25, 2014 at 04:34 am
user-pic
Thanks for the blog post. Just curius if there's as way for us to connect?
Sun-Love / December 1, 2014 at 01:28 pm
user-pic
Always keep in mind when trying new hair treatments that what
is right for someone else may not achieve the same results for
you. Coconut oil has amazing properties for fighting both internal and external yeast infections.
Use the gel extracted from Aloe Vera leaves to apply on the scalp and
hair strands.
beauty-fashion-shopping.blogspot.com / December 2, 2014 at 05:11 pm
user-pic
Pozby?em si? fapa.i mam spokujsilnik ma dobre smarowaniepali ok .5 do 1 litra/100km mniej jest ?wawszynie musz? wyje?d?a? za miasto poto by zregenerowa? filtr(i
spali? kilka l ropy)i niech nikt mi nie mówi ?e
to nieekologiczneograniczenie spalania 70 litrów na 10kkm tow?a?nie ekologia.
https://twitter.com/ / December 12, 2014 at 06:48 pm
user-pic
Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This type of
clever work and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I've incorporated you guys to blogroll.
Kindra / January 31, 2015 at 03:47 am
user-pic
Why is it there are thousands of SEO professionals work from India?
These are the ones I come across though
orange stripe necktie / March 10, 2015 at 04:11 am
user-pic
This paragraph presents clear idea for the new visitors
of blogging, that in fact how to do blogging.
Gourmetfleisch / April 21, 2015 at 03:11 pm
user-pic
Great article. I'm facing some of these issues as
well..
http://instagramfollowersfree.pw / May 14, 2015 at 07:57 pm
user-pic
This is very interesting, You're an overly professional blogger.
I have joined your feed and look ahead to in quest of more of your magnificent post.
Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks
nardi furniture / February 25, 2016 at 09:34 pm
user-pic
Want a job you really like?
Grosfillex: Outdoor furniture / February 28, 2016 at 10:37 am
user-pic
So only keep in mind, cost, and grosfillex plastic chairs
at that location are many tokens, installable within a year.
Adirondack Chairs Airdrie / February 29, 2016 at 10:37 pm
user-pic
Want to know more, contact or email.
ftyceebkoe / March 1, 2016 at 11:12 am
user-pic
Montreal South Indian Throwdown: Jolee vs. Maison Indian Curry House
[url=http://www.g62avf4su376r6cdm446944h6gviz44ns.org/]uftyceebkoe[/url]
ftyceebkoe http://www.g62avf4su376r6cdm446944h6gviz44ns.org/
aftyceebkoe
erp-restaurant furniture / March 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm
user-pic
He joined CSAIL in 2006 after finishing his PhD
at UCLA in the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing.
iphone se wallpaper / March 27, 2016 at 07:34 am
user-pic
Hello to every one, the contents present at this site are in fact amazing for people experience,
well, keep up the good work fellows.
iphone se background / April 3, 2016 at 02:07 am
user-pic

Thank you for some other informative site. Where else may I
get that kind of information written in such a perfect means?
I have a project that I'm simply now operating on, and I have been at the
glance out for such information.
hesbjerg.org / April 10, 2016 at 03:02 pm
user-pic
Wow, that's what I was looking for, what a information! present here
at this website, thanks admin of this site.
Zahnprothetik / May 25, 2016 at 07:38 am
user-pic
You can definitely see your enthusiasm within the work you write.
The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you
who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.
gambling tips / September 6, 2016 at 07:21 pm
user-pic
Hel?o there! T??s post ciuld not ?e writtten any bett?r!
Reading th?? poist reminds m? of my pr?vious room mate!
?e alw?ys kept chatting ?bout t?i?. ? will forwsard th?s article t? him.
Pretty s?re ?e will ?ave ? goo? read. Thanks for
sharing!
health farm / December 3, 2016 at 04:19 am
user-pic
Hurrah! In the end I got a blog from where I be capable
of really obtain useful information regarding my study and
knowledge.
kanchipuramsarees / January 23, 2019 at 12:18 am
user-pic
Nice post
kanchipuramsarees / January 23, 2019 at 12:18 am
user-pic
Nice post
golu dolls / January 23, 2019 at 12:18 am
user-pic
Nice post
herbal powder / January 23, 2019 at 12:18 am
user-pic
Nice post
utea.cc / February 18, 2019 at 01:54 pm
user-pic
Very good post. I certainly love this website. Stick with it!

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Toronto