Anjappar Chettinad, Milpitas
Another quick trip to the bay area, another notable mention. Some very near and dear friends (and chowhounds) recommended Anjappar Chettinad, as we were in the mood for some hot and spicy chicken/fish South Indian. Wikipedia says Chettinad is a part of Tamil Nadu (state in Southern India)...so now we are getting very specific, not just a particular state, but a particular region within a state.
Anjappar Chettinad is in Milpitas, and using the search feature, I realized there is some love for it on this board already; and it is certainly well-deserving. There are some entrees that can be ordered either "dry" or "masala". Dry = No Gravy or Curry and Masala = Gravy or Curry.
We tried four entrees (two curries, one "dry" and a rice entree). Both curries were hot and spicy, yet very distinct. One used tomato (Egg Masala), the other coconut (Pepper Chicken). One was heavy on curry leaves, the others not so much.
Standout entree of the day was: Mutton Sukka Varuval. One word, kickass. The Egg Masala was also surprisingly good (tomato-based curry). The Pepper Chicken was also very good (strong curry leaf flavor and HOT black peppercorns). We ordered the "Masala" version, so there was curry, which was finger-licking deliciousness. The roti was good, but not great. The rice entree was the Natta Kozhu Biryani: basically a "country" chicken biryani. In India, they make the distinction between poultry raised in farms ("broiler") versus the free-range ("desi"). For obvious reasons, they taste different back there...I for one, couldn't make out the difference here. It was good, but not outstanding.
I believe some have mentioned this, but I think, food is not made to order, because within less than five minutes of ordering, we were served. But getting good Chettinad food is so rare, I am willing to compromise a little bit.
I must add, this is for the serious heat and spice seeker. The food is not just HOT it is also SPICY. So not for the faint-hearted. Trust me, most people of Indian origin wouldn't be able to handle this kind of heat. When I visit next, I want to try to kozhambu's, some of the vegetarian stuff, and the parottas. The portions are somewhat measly, which is a let down, but all is fair in the name of good chow.
Also note, Anjappar is an international chain with locations in North America and Asia. LFHound to Anjappar: What is the point of having Indian Chinese and Tandoori Chicken on the menu? I mean really, who cares? Secondly, why are appams missing?
Anjappar Chettinad Indian Restaurant
458 Barber Lane
Milpitas CA 95035
458 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035
finally made it down here on friday. this place is the real deal. i don't get the complaints about service/portions/prices; it didn't seem that different from your typical indian restaurant, except the flavors were far better. if only they would open an SF branch.....
They are actually very friendly to me and mine and usually remember what we typically order. Granted we are weekly or so regulars and usually the only non- Desi folks there.
When they are really packed it can be a little slow getting your order taken or getting the check but not more so than most other restaurants at this price point.
OMG, I actually emailed them a couple years back and asked them to open a bay area branch after eating in a couple of their other branches! The mutton sukka is indeed a kickass dish, at least the versions I have had in their Singapore and Bangalore branches. Funnily the Singapore branch was way superior to the one in Bangalore that I had been to. I seem to remember that they had a good prawn fry or masala type dish as well.
(Does a happy dance and plans a trip to the south bay)
You are welcome. I think I have said this before but the South Bay area is to Indian food, what the San Gabriel Valley is to Chinese food. The immigrant populations are diverse enough to support regional specialties that are hard to find in other provinces of the the country of origin. For example, Anjappar has branched out of Tamil Nadu to several other nations but not to any other state within India.
@daveena: good to hear from you. This place is a blast. Though avoid going there at Indian meal times (lunch: anytime after 1 pm and dinner: after 8:30 pm). When we entered there were probably 5 tables occupied (out of 25-30) at 12:30, by the time we left at around 1:45 pm it was packed to the gills. My dining companions said it was the same story everyday.
@jhinky: I wanted to try the prawn sukka varuval too, but we had ordered the mutton, and felt it would be the same spice mix, so ordered the egg masala (yummmm!). I got the same entrees to-go, and got them with me to LA, and I think I will be done by tonight. I need to send them an email, and ask them to open one up in LA.
@osho: Don't miss this! There's a lot of other stuff that needs to be reported on, so I am looking forward to your reports :)
458 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035
I had very high hopes from Anjappar. Mentions of ‘mutton’ do send me into a tizzy at times. Well made Indian mutton dishes are truly brilliant. Not so at Anjappar, though.
First course was a soup – which turned out to be a ‘rasam’ with whole slit Thai chiles floating around in the liquid with a chunk of goat meat on the bone. I actually liked the meat – a bit gamey but toothsome.
We ordered a series of fried starters – Chicken Lollypops, Fish ‘65’ and Fried Smelt. They all came coated with a similar looking batter – replete with a ghastly red food colouring. The fish was perfectly acceptable and so was the chicken. The smelt had the exact same coating as the Fish ‘65’ (I think it was catfish).
Onward to the entrees.
Mutton Varuval – we ordered the ‘dry’ version of this dish, which was possibly a mistake. The seasoning was brilliant and it had some unique spice notes for sure, but the meat was simply overcooked and rubbery. What a disappointment!
Mutton Brain Masala – IMO, this was the only saving grace of the meal. The Goat brain was well cooked and creamy and the gravy it was served with was delicious. The heat level to me, was off the charts – I was in absolute agony and loved every second of it.
Prawn Fry – We literally got 10 small shrimp, reminded me of potted shrimp made with clarified butter, from my childhood days.
And the size of these entrees - Truly miniscule. For $9 per entree, I expect a decent amount of food. The plates measured about 4 cms. in Diameter.
Porottas were good and so were the chapattis. Those I could get at literally any half decent Indian place.
All in all, a wasted trip for me foodwise. It was nice to meet other ‘hounds, as always.
Also, we had lots of communication issues with the waiters, to say the least.
458 Barber Ln, Milpitas, CA 95035
Agreed, a disaster. Even if I lived next door to it, it's such bad value for money that I would have little use for it. I'll add that even the parottas and chapattis were ridiculously overpriced--$6 and $5 resp. for an order of two. They came with a tiny thing of gravy, which was delicious but didn't justify the price. I asked if it were possible to pay less for just the bread, and waiter acted helpless.
But if you are going for one of the myriad other options in the Milpitas Square mall, a stop for a (small, pricey) brain masala and a nice fresh lime soda wouldn't be unreasonable. (Though you'd need to order some bread or something for the brain, and we're talking nearly $20 with tax and tip for a third of a meal. We paid $18/person, and were nowhere near sated. That includes an extra drink they charged us for which they wouldn't refund; in the end all they were willing to do was to furnish the superfluous drink.)