After all the hype... All I got was this stinking rice dish for lunch (no Thali or any other options were available), it was like a soup kitchen but with a fine dining price tag. $40 poorer and a few weeks later, I'm still banging my head against the wall on this very pedestrian lunch visit for two that left me even hungrier afterwards. It was one of the biggest jip I have ever had the pleasure to be ass slammed during day time.
Seriously, it looks like it should be on Sesame Street with that creepy "One of these things is not like the other" song. You could not tell which one was the meat or the vegetarian one, let alone the plate was not even half full. There were so many Star Anise pods in there it overwhelmed the dish (it would help if they removed it before serving). Don't get me wrong, I love Star Anise as much as the next Chino but I don't need 15 pods in 1.5 cups of rice... Even with all the different ingredients in this dish, it was still bland... How does that happen? Don't give me that gentle spicing of Kerala shit, I'm not white. It's just trying too hard to be fancy pants (all bark, no bite) from such a common simple everyday dish. The pappadam which is native to Kerala was decent (imagine that from a cracker) but it reminded me of the prepackage ones they sell in the Indian markets and microwaved. I seriously hope these weren't... But I am not giving up on them just yet.
So, a few weeks later I wanted to give them a chance to redeem themselves. They have been opened for awhile, so they should have their shit together by now. Let's move on to the dinner menu... And hope they will wow me with their more over-hyped food of "Kerala".
Pièce de résistance! The fried chicken that people oooh'd and aaah'd about... It was decently fried, flavors were subtle but there, and a tad bit dry inside. A fried chicken tis was not, but just a fancy chicken tender. Any chicken that is boneless is NOT fried chicken. Truth be told, I rather have a Double Down than this any day. The pilaf, oops, I meant pilau was basically a foundation for the tenders to sit on, it was dull and tiresome after 3 bites. Not terrible but disappointing for $19... You know how much Popeyes I could get for that much loot? ...Jesus Christ, I would be in cheekan heaven.
Was this resto that bad? No, it wasn't but I think I've had enough of it. This is just a watered down version of true Kerala cooking (which is influenced by other cultures but has their own identity), it's that word that we all cringe when spoken... Fusion. It's so taboo! But if you look at all the praise, hype and reviews for this joint, they're all by non ex-pats... Not a single brownie in the bunch that loved it. Asha played Atlanta like Sherman did from the days of yore. The service was amateur at best. Her staff was untrained and green as hell even after months of service... She was no better. Standing around aimlessly and no clue nor control over her staff or the resto itself... Food orders not getting to the kitchen, food coming out to the wrong tables, food sitting in the kitchen, entrees before apps, etc etc etc. Running a resto is nothing like having a dinner party, huh? People calling her a "Chef", especially when she considers herself one, is an insult to all the hardworking cooks on the line... Even at Applebee's. The title of Chef has been tossed around like it's entitled to anyone who has cooked at home... If you don't have 10 or more years on the line, you are not a chef. Period. It's like a Private calling himself a General just because he's in the army.
I thought the worst was over when I stepped out those doors for the last time... That is until I saw my credit card being billed twice as much on the tip that the bartender so liberally gave himself as an extra bonus (40%) for coming into work. It was no mistake because I always pay in whole numbers so any odd number billed is a red flag. Unscrupulous business practices like this can only come from the top because an owner who isn't aware of every bit of their business is only an enabler... Consciously or unconsciously.
I'll stick with the junky buffets... At least I'll get kissed before I get fucked.
1700 Northside Drive NW,
Atlanta, GA 30318