What a terrible restaurant, with horrible food, service and ambiance. Slot Udupi Bhavan into the category of cheap Indian restaurants that serves low-grade, oily, sloppily-prepared food on styrofoam and paper (there are many of this type of Indian restaurant, heavily clustered in the Bay Area, northern Chicago and Jackson Heights in NYC, among other places). I grew up eating Indian food, particularly South Indian food, and I can honestly say this was some of the worst I've ever had anywhere in the United States.
We started off with the samosas ($3.50). These were over-fried, with a rock-hard exterior and then steaming hot interior which was all cumin and basically nothing else. What a nightmare. Served on a paper plate.
We next had the masala dosa, the quintessential South Indian staple ($7). The dosa was at best mediocre; the dosa itself was not crispy enough, and the potato stuffing that came with it was woefully under-seasoned and bland. A couple of bay leaves could have added some flavor. It was of course served on a paper plate, but this this dish represented at least a decent quantity of food for the price, even if it didn't taste great.
Next we had the onion and hot chilli uthappam ($7.50). Uthappam is a type of pancake, and usually it should have a sour-ish taste tempered with herbs, chili and onion. In this case, all we got was bread, essentially, with no other flavor or spiciness at all. And, at $7.50, this was a pretty damn expensive and crappy pancake. My friend and I didn't even bother finishing the dish. Served on a paper plate, again.
Lastly we had the aloo gobi (potato-cauliflower) curry ($8.50). This was an oily, flavorless mess dumped into a small styrofoam bowl (even worse than paper). It tasted awful. There was no spice, no attempt at subtlety with the use of oil, and the dish consisted of basically two pieces of potato and one piece of cauliflower. What an epic tragedy of a dish. And it was a tiny portion for a high price, at that. The dish is served with a paper plate of white rice, which also sucks (I've never seen Indian restaurants offer brown rice, but it should be an option). You eat with plastic forks.
So, the food sucked. The utensils and flatware are wasteful and unsound ecologically-speaking. The service was also curt and unhelpful (you place your order at the counter and then have to keep walking up, piece by piece, to get your order once it's ready). There is no ambiance: you sit at cheap plastic tables and drink water out of tiny clear plastic cups. Bleak is one way to describe the ambiance. This is what prison must be like. And, like any other Indian restaurant of this price range, you also get many families with screaming babies, which is the final nail in the coffin.
Udupi Bhavan should be ashamed of itself for offering such disgusting, terrible food, and for being so completely environmentally negligent. This is an atrocious restaurant and I would suggest that you go to Thali Too in New Haven if you're looking for South Indian food; if you want North Indian, Zaroka in New Haven is a good bet. I've also heard decent things about Bombay Olive, IndiGo and Priya, all in the Hartford area. In any case, do not come to this restaurant.