Kalpasi, S. Indian in Herndon - Report

I was drawn to Kalpasi, of the many S. Indian places in Herndon, because they make aappam. Fermented rice pancakes formed into the shape of a large bowl. The edges are lacy and brown, and the bottom is a bit thicker and fluffy. You can get egg cooked onto the bottom if you like. They are served with a curry, and we chose fish.

We wound up with three curries in total, and these are mostly a thick gravy. The vadacurry was lentil patties in a gravy. There was also potato and garlic version, made a bit sour from tamarind.

They were all nice, but I am not really a fan of this style.

We also had a really nice paper dhosa and a well-executed uttappam with chili and onion. The sambal here is especially pleasant. My favorite dish was the Chettinad Koli Roast, chunks of chicken with a spicy thick sludge clinging to the surface. This was a really fine version.

Another table was served a whole Tandoori chicken that came out on a sizzling iron platter with with lemon, onion, and cilantro. I would go back in a heartbeat for that.

This was a good meal, but I do have to say that the competition in Herndon is fierce.


Love the name (and the namesake spice - paging @Amandarama).

The Chettinad place I have access to in NYC, despite having appam on the regular menu, only serves them on weekends (purportedly — I haven’t actually made it there on a weekend to check) – they serve Malabar parotta instead the rest of the time.

Rest of the menu sounds delicious: I’d personally be working my way through Chettinad and Kerala dishes over tandoori chicken or tikka masala (which they’ve likely put on the menu for the majority of the clientele who doesn’t know the difference between north and South Indian food).

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Good point. That’s why we didn’t order the tandoori chicken in the first place… but then it looked so good.

The chicken was my favorite, too, and that was certainly the best sludge I ever had. I hadn’t realized that’s how the egg was supposed to work. I wish we would have had that! But the server seemed to think it was an odd request with the fish curry. I liked the curries although they were all too similar for me. That might have been my first uttapam - definitely won’t be my last.

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Which is this?

Yes, the curries were too similar and mostly a bowl of gravy. The set dosai vadacurry at Chennai Express is an example of that curry done extremely well, and I believe you had it the last time we ate there.


Am I correct in surmising that this dish (appam) is similar to or the same as a Sri Lankan egg hopper?

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I just looked up that term, and yes it looks the same!