( January, 2009) Aachi’s has gone out of business . There is a new restaurant , CORIANDER, at this location.
Aachi’s, which opened it’s doors only three months ago, features Chettinad and South Indian cuisine and offers great food at very reasonable prices.
Located in the Edison Commerce Center on Talmadge Road, Aachi’s is an unprepossessing place seating about forty in a long deep dining room. The formica topped tables are spaced comfortably apart and the decor is basic. On the ochre walls are photographs of the typical colonadded interior courts of Chettiar houses. Chettiars are a wealthy community in Tamil Nadu who are prominent traders , merchants and money-lenders. Somewhat unusual among Tamilians in that they are non-vegetarians , their Chettinad Cuisine is known for it’s lavish use of garlic, curry leaves and spices, espescially fennel seeds ( saunf ) , and it’s ‘heat’.
Last Friday, we dropped in at lunchtime and sampled the weekday lunch buffet. Let me say at the outset that Aachi’s buffet has rather fewer dishes than some other places but every dish is exceptionally well prepared and has that ‘home-cooked’ taste. On Friday, it featured three appetizers – fluffy idlis, eggplant bhajias, masala vadai and two different chutneys. The main dishes included Chettinad Chicken Curry, Karaikudi Chicken Kuzhambu, Muttai Kuzhambu ( Egg Curry), Beans Poriyal, Moru kuzhambu , a black channa curry reminiscent of a South Kanara ambat, sambhar, rasam, plain rice, rice pulao, parathas , pickle, papaddams and relishes.Dessert was a moong daal payasam.More than enough, you’ll agree. I don’t see the point of having a 50 dish buffet when one cannot do justice to more than a few of the dishes. While all the dishes at Aachi’s were very good, the egg curry, the beans poriyal and the black chana curry were outstanding.
Our neice, Ajanta, happened to be in town on Sunday and so we found ourselves back at Aachi’s . The news about it’s high quality food seems to be spreading ; the dining room filled up fast and by the time we were done there were customers waiting for seats. The weekend buffet seemed to consist of the same number of dishes as the weekday buffet but there was an additional dessert. The appetizers consisted of crisp onion bhajias, the savory lentil fritters known as biskut ambade in Karnataka ( I forget Aachi’s name for them ) and idlis. Instead of the beans poriyal, there was an equally excellent cabbage poriyal, a goat biriyani instead of the egg curry and a mushroom curry instead of the black chana. The desserts were a vermicelli payasam and a rice-pineapple kheer. The one disappointment was the biriyani ; I’ve had better elsewhere.
A note of warning. The buffet dishes at Aachi’s are authentically spicy. If you prefer your food less spicy, I suggest you go to Aachi’s for dinner when you can ask for the a la carte dishes to be cooked to taste.The dinner menu is huge and has several interesting dishes such as Karaikudi Fish Masala ( Boneless chunks of Kingfish cooked Chettinad style), Era Thokku( Shrimp cooked in a spicy coconut sauce), Vellaipondu Kuzhambu ( curry of oil roasted garlic) and Goat Kothu Paratha ( Shredded paratha and goat pieces with eggs, onions,spices and herbs served with kurma). Available also is a full complement of dosas. I haven’t been to Aachi’s for dinner yet but I’ve no doubt it will be of the same high standard as their buffet lunch. To peruse their full menu, go to
Aachi’s is definitely one of my favorites and I have no hesitation in recommending it to diners, espescially those who are tired of the same old Moghlai fare.My other favorites are Malgudi on Oak Tree Road which serves both South and North Indian dishes and is just a notch below Aachi’s. Hoysala in Somerset is another place worthy of a visit, serving delicious Mysorean/ South Indian dishes though the ambiance is like that of a college ‘mess’. Let me know your opinion of Aachi’s should you go there.
Aachi’s Authentic Chettinad/ South Indian Restaurant 128 Talmadge Road, Edison Commerce Center, Edison, NJ 08817. (732) 287-0570/ (7320 287-0597. Closed Mondays. BYOB.