Restaurants & Bars

Review: Megha's Athidhi Indian Cuisine - Sterling Heights, MI

jjspw | Oct 24, 201009:30 PM     4

Megha's Athidhi took over the old Chettinad on 15 Mile & Dequindre. The space hasn't changed much since the Chettinad days, maybe just a bit of sprucing up with new carpets and maybe some new lighting fixtures. But atmosphere really doesn't matter much to me... especially when the food is such a winner.

The menu is largely South Indian [1], with a few North Indian favorites like palak paneer. They also have a good variety of Indo-Chinese. The food is generally quite authentic; the only thing they tend to dumb-down is the spiciness (but I'll get to that later). These are their standout dishes:

+ kozhi varutha curry -- a chicken curry that is very herbaceous, gingery, and fibrous; very strong and pungent flavor, unlike any other curry you've had in Detroit-area Indian restaurants; similar to Sri Lankan black curry
+ kothu paratha -- some have compared this to stuffing, but it's like the Sri Lankan kothu roti, where they chop roti and grill it with veggies, eggs, and curry powder; really heavy and hearty dish
+ egg biryani -- one of the best biryanis in metro Detroit, excellent flavor, prepared well
+ any of the dosa, but the andhra special pesarattu is one of my favorites -- it's a moong daal dosa, filled with really rich and buttery upma (cream of wheat)

Spice level: Once they recognize you as a regular customer, and after you tell them repeatedly that the food isn't spicy enough, they'll start to spice things appropriately. However, they do admit that they really take it easy on the spice for non-Indian customers.

Condiments: Coconut chutney is excellent, very fresh and creamy. Sambol, usually too runny at restaurants around here, is thick and flavorful, with vegetables cut approriate sizes. Tomato chutney is also fresh, although taste-wise, I'm not a fan (husband likes it on the biryani, though). Raita is silky smooth and delicious!

Freshness: Excellent! Almost all ingredients are fresh. There are a few items [2] that use the pre-packaged peas-carrots-greenbeans mixture, but those items aren't my favorite dishes anyway, so it's not a big deal to me.

I admit I've had some "meh" dishes:

- chilli chicken -- just doesn't hold a candle to Namaste's chilli chicken; a bit too heavy-handed with the soy sauce, I think
- lunch buffet -- I've been twice, and have never found any of the dishes to be superstars; I'd rather order off the menu
- poori masala -- this is from the "combos" part of the menu; the pooris were too greasy and crunchy, and the masala was a bit watery and bland for my liking
- corn pepper soup -- often served gratis to every table; it's sort of a bland tom yum with baby corn :-(

But overall, Athidhi is easily one of the best full-service Indian restaurants in metro Detroit, and second to Namaste Flavours as the best South Indian restaurant in metro Detroit. If you're looking for South Indian, or Indian in general, in this area, SKIP the nearby competitors Ashoka and Royal Indian. Athidhi is a much fresher, less-ghee-soaked, far more authentic option.

[1] Very hard to find TRUE South Indian food in metro Detroit. Personally, I much prefer S. Indian food to N. Indian food, so my review/opinion of Athidhi is slanted for that reason.
[2] Specifically, buffet items and the masala that accompanies the poori masala (and maybe some of the masala dosai as well).

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