Athidhi in Sunnyvale
While lunching at Shanghai Flavor Shop, I noticed quite the crowd a few doors down at Athidhi. We came back for dinner and understood what the crowds are about. This is tasty southern Indian food with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Our bone-in pepper chicken and vegetable biryani dishes were both delicious and nicely spiced. This 3-month-old place fills a gap for a southern Indian non-vegetarian restaurant that's close by to us. More menu exploration is in order!
We have quite a nice biryani road going on in Silicon Valley down El Camino and vicinity, from Hyderabad House in Palo Alto to Cafe Dhaka in Santa Clara, with stops at Taste Buds and Athidhi - and probably a few more I don't know about yet.
The pics of the food on the website look good. I wonder how the Sunday and lunch buffets are.
727 South Wolfe Road, Sunnyvale, CA 94086
I took a ride down there for lunch today after looking at the website!
First, I had a bit of trouble finding them. It is in a little strip mall at the corner of Reed and Wolfe around the corner from the Safeway.
I'm glad I found it! It is a very clean place and the staff is friendly and willing to answer questions. The buffet lunch is $8.99 plus tax. The buffet consists of at least a dozen dishes, salad, raita and sambar, plus hot fresh naan brought to your table shortly after you serve yourself from the buffet, plus desserts and chai (ras malai, gulab jamun, fresh fruit, etc.).
Standouts for me were the goat curry (if you happen to hit it when it first comes out there are lots of hunks of meat but after it has been worked over, you will find mainly bones with not much on them.), chicken korma, saag paneer, butter chicken and tandoori chicken. Nothing is terribly spicy but the flavors were layered and rich tasting without being cloying and didn't leave me feeling uncomfortable (sometimes curries leave me feeling leaden).
The naan was very good, nice and hot and brushed with ghee. The tandoori chicken was juicy - that surprised me because usually in a buffet I have found it to be dry.
I love ras malai so I was very pleased to see it in the dessert choices! When I paid my check, the gentlemen doing cashier duty asked if I liked my lunch - I told him that I did and especially the ras malai - he insisted on making up a container for me to take home!
My thoughts on the food is that it seemed more like home cooking - not overly spicy but very satisfying. The room is attractively decorated and seems to be quite clean. There are 2 flat screen TVs - one at each end of the room - broadcasting Indian videos and what seemed like soap operas. The volume was a little to loud for me but it wasn't terrible.
There is a white board mounted behind the cashier station that said that on Thursday the buffet includes among other things, dosa, upma, and pongal - the price is a bit higher at $9.99. Would love to hear if anyone tries it...
Here's a photo (from my camera, not very clear) of my plate:
Glad you enjoyed it! I'm not a lunch buffet person but from the crowds I say on Saturday I suspected it would be good.
Sorry I forgot to point out the location - it's on the Old San Francisco side of the shopping center, just a few doors down from Shanghai Flavor Shop. I don't know why it has a Wolfe address whereas Shanghai Flavor Shop has an Old San Francisco address....
Dear C. Thi Nguyen, All the dishes that you described in your newsletter are not South Indian food. They are all North Indian dishes. North Indian dishes include: naan, any tandoori meat, any type of paneer, goat, etc... South Indian dishes include: dosa, idli, rasam, uttapam, etc... Just to clarify. Looking at their menu they carry both.
Janu: I'm not sure if your comments are directed to me... but, yes indeed, I'm aware that the buffet items I sampled were North Indian.
I also mentioned that the Thursday buffet for that week included South Indian items and, as you state, they do have South Indian items on the regular menu...
I happened to be in the area last Friday with a friend & we decided to give the lunch buffet a try. First of all, I was surprised to see the price of $10.99 plus tax for the Friday special (not sure if this is the entire Thurs-Sun price). The Friday special included prawn & chicken biriyanis. I had to pick & find the chicken pieces even as early as we went! Friend ate the prawn biriyani & liked it. I felt none of the North Indian* dishes I tried were anything special, perhaps the naan & the goat curry but that too I had to dig to find meaty pieces as opposed to bony/fatty ones. The standouts were the two South Indian specialties (gosh darn, why couldn't my outing have been on Thursday with the dosa and pongal?). One was a "kolumbu", a kind of a spicy/tart curry similar in color & consistency to sambhar, which had drumsticks** & sliced okra. The other was an opo squash "kootu", although this version was much more liquidy than traditional kootu. Perhaps this had a yogurt base, I'm not sure but it was tangy & spicy. They also had sambhar but I didn't try it. Perhaps one day I'll return on S.Indian Thursday:-)
The two desserts were carrot halwa & bread pudding. The halwa was not bad, could have been thicker & more concentrated in flavor. However, I really enjoyed the pudding and when I commented to my friend about not recognizing it as an Indian dish, she pointed out that it is probably an English bread pudding. Cut into squares, it was not too sweet and had a nice texture in that it wasn't too custardy, soggy and not too dry. Actually, this is one of the better desserts I've had at any Indian restaurant (barring kulfi of course!).
Last but not least, thank you Micheal for doing all the leg work!!!!
*Usual suspects of biriyani, butter chicken, tandoori chicken, chili chicken, and naan brought to table. Free chai & coffee.
**"Botanical Name: Moringa Oleifera
Common names: horseradish tree, benoil tree
Other vernaculars: Hindi-muranka, Kannada-moringa, Marathi- shevga chi seeng, Tamil-murungai
The greenskinned, tough, 1-2 foot long, sticklike vegetable, is surprisingly soft and fleshy inside. The opaque white flesh, embedded with pea-like seeds, covered in layers of skins, is sweetish, fragrant, and tasty to eat, when cooked. They get their name from the fact that they do resemble the musical drumsticks."
I visited the Fremont location today and the chicken biryani was every bit as tasty here as in Sunnyvale. The room here is perhaps even larger than in Sunnyvale, and it looks like there is a full bar as well. There's not a heck of a lot of chow on this stretch of Warm Springs aside from other restaurants in this shopping center, so I hope they do OK here.