Athithi: outstanding Indian cuisine in Wilton

Athithi: outstanding Indian cuisine in Wilton

Athithi opened in the Gateway shopping center last fall and we have found it a delightful addition to Wilton’s restaurant scene. The menu features a wide variety of classic Indian dishes and a few other regional specialties. Note that the Dine-In menu and the Takeout menus are slightly different, because not all of their dishes travel. However, the menu is extensive and everything we have tried has been excellent. The restaurant features two Michelin star experienced chefs: Executive Chef Hemant Mathur, and Chef Chandru Krishnasamy, who along with Executive Manager Prince produce an outstanding experience. The word “Athithi” means “Guest” and we assure you that they treat their guests very well.

We first visited in November, before they had their wine license, and I went last night to brough home an excellent take-out meal. They clearly have that license now, however.

If you dine there, you will start with crispy naan bread served with two dipping sauces: a green one: mint chutney and a red one (coriander chutney), that is warmly mild and spicy with notes of cinnamon. They are good on your bread and on whatever entrée you order.

We tried a couple of interesting appetizers: the salmon and crab cakes ($14) served on an elegant little dish with a suspended sauce dish of green chili aioli.  The other was Ragda Chaat ($11): potato cakes with white peas, tamarind and mint chutney. You could share the salmon-crab cakes, and you definitely can share the Ragda Chaat as it is a substantial portion.

For our main courses, we ordered Rogan Josh ($22), a lamb stew with Kashmiri red chili, and Chicken Korma ($20), chicken cooked in a rich and creamy cashew sauce. Note that for your entrees you can specify mild, medium spicy, or spicy. None of them are going to burn your mouth, though. The medium and spicy are only slightly different. In medium, you can taste the spices, and in the spicy version the spice taste lingers in your mouth between bites.

We found the Rogan Josh with tender pieces of lamb the be an excellent choice, but I’ll have to admit that my wife’s Chicken Korma in cashew sauce won the night for us. It was delightful.

Finally, the menu lists four desserts, a Mango Cheesecake, Kulfi Falooda, Shahi Tukda and Moong Dal Halwa. They are probably all delicious as one of chefs has specialized in desserts. We know what mango cheesecake would be, but Kulfi Falooda? It’s a kind of ice cream sundae, made with Indian ice cream (no eggs), sweet basil seeds, corn starch vermicelli and rose syrup. Sometimes chefs add nuts or dried fruit as well. This version was absolutely amazing and I’d order it every time, except that I know the other three desserts will be great as well.

Take-Out

I went back last night to try some more dishes while my wife dined elsewhere. I ordered Punjabi Samosa ($8), which is a common Indian street food, described as a crispy turnover stuffed with spiced potatoes, chick peas, and green peas. Without trying the main course, I can attest to the winning greatness of this snack.

For my main course, I order Chicken Biryani ($19) served with mint yogurt.  Indian chefs obsess of making perfect biryanis, where each grain of basmati rice should be separate. The spices may include saffron and garam masala. I ordered mine at the top level “Spiced” and found it smooth and aromatic without being overly aggressively spicy. Like everything else, at Athithi, it was excellent.

I didn’t order a dessert, because the takeout menu doesn’t include any, but there was this extra cup of something beside the mint yogurt sauce.  It was a complementary rice pudding!

Welcome to Athithi and we’ll surely come back many times!

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