Dining Deals

Date Night for Very Little Dough at Doshi House

When I'm not eating out on official paper business, I'm on a budget just like most people my age who are still paying student loans on top of car notes, mortgages, ridiculous cell phone bills and more (how do I use so much cell data just browsing Reddit?).

For occasions in which the manfriend and I want a nice evening out without a huge -- or even an average -- outlay of cash, Doshi House is my destination of choice. Every evening at this chic Third Ward cafe, owner Deepak Doshi prepares a single type of dish, and each night's dinner is only $6.95.

On Monday nights, it's Creole red beans and rice. On Saturday nights, it's "not so butter chicken." On Tuesday nights, my preferred night, Doshi makes a Thai red curry that's thick with the deep flavors of cumin, chile peppers, galangal and bright squiggles of Sriracha that bleed into the rust-hued curry.

It paired up nicely with a bottle of Argentinean Torrontes -- a very flexible, easily adaptable grape -- we brought with us, bought on the cheap at Costco and uncorked at Doshi House for an $8 corkage fee. (This includes glassware, and Doshi will happily chill the wine for you if it's not already cooled down.)

As with most of the breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes as Doshi House, the Thai red curry is entirely vegan. But as with the vegan dishes at nearby Cafe TH, you can't tell. Only the tofu in the red curry gives the dish away. Doshi told us that his Creole red beans and rice in particular have been his most popular evening meal, bringing him "street cred" in the community and reminding me that I still need to try the dish myself.

"Will I be full after I eat this?" the boyfriend asked as he eyed the curry a bit warily on our first visit. He's not opposed to vegetable-based cuisine, but still retains that very red-blooded American concern that a meal will be insufficient without meat-based protein (as most of us do).

"Yes," I promised. "You will." To further cement this promise, I ordered a large cup of Goan lentil soup for $3 to split between us -- just in case.

Doshi's lentil soup is served on Monday and Tuesdays for lunch and dinner, and is thick enough to nearly be considered a stew. In that typical Goan fashion, the ruddy soup is redolent of the sorts of hot, fruity Portuguese spices brought to Europe and then to India via Brazil.

After the curry was gone, the manfriend was only able to tackle half the Goan lentil soup before he admitted he was full. Still, he said, he wanted to order another dish of red curry -- because "it was awesome." High praise.

If he still had room for another round of curry, I figured he'd have room for a slice of (rich, decadent, decidedly non-vegan) chocolate cake and a cortado from Doshi House's well-regarded coffee program, set up and maintained by Greenway Coffee's David Buehrer.

He did, and we indulged in both, bringing to an end a long, leisurely date night at the cozy restaurant in the Third Ward that proves you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a delicious meal in a charming cafe. And if you, like me, want to try Doshi's red beans and rice, they're the evening meal tonight starting at 5:30 p.m. until the kitchen runs out. BYOB and settle in for the night.

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Katharine Shilcutt