Ever since our favorite Indian restaurant closed, Dan and I have been looking for another one that we could consider our favorite, and so far had had no luck. Indian cuisine happens to be our favorite cuisine, so this is a pretty important designation. Finally, though, we have found one that we think fits the bill! It is in Alpharetta, but that is not very far to drive for a special dinner, and if you live near Alpharetta, you are in luck, because Madras Chettinaad is the best!
My friend Malika invited us to try it, and we were very excited to see what it was all about. I have never had South Indian food, and I have a friend from Madras, so it was fun to try that cuisine. As soon as we entered the restaurant, I suspected that I would have a great time. The décor is much more modern and hip than in most Indian restaurants. There is a chic chandelier and a large flat-screen TV showing Bollywood music videos. If you know me, you know that I am a huge Bollywood fan, so that was a big plus. They even played a song from Veer Zaara, starring one of my favorite actors, Shahrukh Khan.
Narendra and Soona Patel, the owners of the restaurant, were very hospitable to us, and our server Satish was knowledgeable and took wonderful care of us. Narendra has owned successful Indian restaurants in Decatur as well, such as the Bollywood Masala Grill House, which received rave reviews from Atlanta critics. His wife Soona came to check on us many times, and when I mentioned that a dish was very hot, she gave me extra yogurt and rice to mix it with. Great service!
We ordered most of our dishes based on Satish’s recommendations, and started with Chat Samosas and Spinach Pakoras and a Kingfisher Beer, which we adore. I told him that I love samosas (who doesn’t since they are fried and full of yummy stuff), and he said that we should try the Chat Samosas ($3), since they are a little different. Dan described them as “Samosas Supreme” because they are the ingredients of a samosa served in a bowl and topped with chickpea noodles, then topped with spicy and sweet chutney, cilantro, and yogurt. The Spinach Pakoras ($4) were crunchy and scrumptious, served with a superb spicy mint sauce and a tamarind sauce.
Our first entrée was pretty amazing! It was the Masala Dosai ($7), a house specialty. It is “a thin golden crispy rice and lentil flour crepe, stuffed with spiced potatoes masala served with sambar chutney.” This thing was very impressive and fun! I had seen the picture on their menu and website, but I had no idea that it would be two feet long! It was also very delicious, and lots of fun to “Rip and Dip” in all of the assorted sauces it comes with – coconut sauce, a lentil soup, and yogurt. The lentil dipping soup was especially good, and Dan said that it was definitely comfort food, just like dipping a grilled cheese sandwich into tomato soup. It is very family friendly, and everyone should try this dish at least once.
We had Butter Naan and Roti (whole wheat bread) with our second entrée, Lamb Chettinaad, which is lamb meat pieces cooked in Chettinaad gravy ($11). He got it “Indian Spicy,” which is too spicy for me to eat very much of, but he loved it. Chettinaad Gravy is “Kuzambu which has the ingredients stewed in a gravy of coconut milk and spices.” I did eat some of it mixed with the Raita yogurt and vegetables that Soona so kindly brought me.
Dessert was interesting and truly mouth-pleasing. Ras Malai was our absolute favorite. When you taste this dish, you have to smile and simply savor it. It is homemade cheese balls dipped in flavored creamy milk ($3.50). We also had a cool and refreshing bowl of Pistachio Kulfi, Indian-style pistachio ice cream that was delicious. We really, really enjoyed our visit to Madras Chettinaad, and we will be back very soon, and definitely for birthdays and special occasions. It is wonderful to have a favorite Indian restaurant again!
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