Ever have Sambar, Rasam, Upma Pulav, or Dum Aloo before?
You really get the feeling you visited India when you dine at Chennai Chettinaad Palace in Phoenix Arizona. Indian Television is playing on the large screen TVs above the bar. Unfamiliar but fragrant spices fill the air. The restaurant was packed with people and everyone except us were of Indian decent.
We were seated and I sort of expected someone to greet us at the table but after a while the person that sat us just said “it’s a buffet you help yourself.” As I approached the buffet I noticed a grade “A” Maricopa health inspection and that one side of the buffet was strictly vegetarian and five meats dishes were on the other side. Three dishes were chicken, one dish was fish and the last meat dish was goat.
The Buffet started with appetizer savory mini donuts and a few vegetable soups one of the soups was called rasam and is a tamarind based vegetable soup that was more flavorful than the sambar vegetable soup.
Some of the vegetable dishes had more heat to them than the meat dishes but it was a gentle heat that didn’t build.
Some of the vegetarian dishes were-
Upma- A porridge with vegetables
Pulav- Spicy long grain fluffy rice with vegetables
Dum Aloo- Baby potatoes curry
Channa Palgk- Spinach with Chickpeas
Baby Corn with Chilies
Mutteer Panger-Peas and Cheese
Most of what I tried was delicious. Very flavorful food. Only two things I didn’t care for that I tried was the Dahi Vada and the Upma due to that I wasn’t brought up eating them. People that are new to Indian Food might have a hard time with lentil dumplings in yogurt and vegetable porridge.
I tried small amounts of the chicken curry, chicken tikka masala, chicken bryani and the fish curry. I found them all to be fresh and well prepared for a buffet meaning not dried out. The meat dishes were all delicious I think anybody would like them. They had interesting flavorful spices to them. They all differed but all were interesting. Nothing was too salty or oily.
Desserts looked very foreign to me.
Small fragrant soaked fritters were in one pan called Gulab Jamun. I skipped over the second pan and did try some of the carrot halwa that’s basically carrot pudding seasoned with cardamon and cashews.
It felt like a trip to India but with much better traffic and my trip only cost $13.99.