Eight Chowhounds got together for lunch at this Montgomery County outpost for Chettinad cusine, from a micro-region in the Tamil Nadu state of India. Two excellent places in NoVa closed down, so I was hoping that Chettinadu would revive my fond memories of the experiences I had there.
I am happy to report that the overall quality was very high. Not only do they execute well a couple of key dishes that I remember, but Chettinadu is a rare source for excellent appaam, fermented rice pancakes made into the shape of bowls and then filled with the curry of your choice. I am not sure where else you can reliably find this.
Two essential dishes are:
chettinadu naattukozhi varuval
The kotthu parata is a shredded bread and comes out like a savory bread pudding. The varuval is a dry, spicy dish of chicken on the bone. These make a terrific one-two punch.
We also ordered:
Aappam with an egg added. (the added egg is not on the menu)
They break the egg into the aappam, and it soaks into the bowl-shaped pancake. In a separate metal bowl, they also serve a curry with this, and you can tear off a piece fo the aappam and dip it into the curry.
Our other dishes were mostly impressive:
Ennai katherikai kuzhambu (eggplant in gravy)
Chappathi (served truly steaming hot, the only way to go)
Aattukal soup (goat foot soup, comes in a small bowl)
Kushka (masala fried rice)
The eggplant, goat curry, and the kushka were all very delicious. Especially the eggplant.
It's a big menu, and I am looking forward to trying more.
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