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Sri Krishna Vilas restaurant review, Alpharetta

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$-$$

Sri Krishna Vilas feels like two restaurants. At lunchtime, the Indian restaurant is a chaotic and crowded buffet-only experience catering to mostly office workers. During the mellower evenings, the restaurant offers an expanded menu of appetizers, vegetables and meat dishes. Its dining space is split down the middle by the long buffet line, and during daylight hours the brightly lit and generically designed right side looks and feels like a cafeteria compared to the more exotic, windowless left side.

Review by Gene Lee

Review by Gene Lee

The trick to enjoying Sri Krishna Vilas’ lunch buffet ($9.95) is figuring out how to navigate it. The curry items are the best choices. They hold up better on the line as the various meats grow more tender in the warm gravy and soak in its spices. Kadai goat, small, bone-in pieces of fatty, tender goat in spicy tomato gravy, entices. Butter chicken, smothered in rich cream sauce, is fall-apart tender. Steamed basmati rice perfumed with cardamom and speckled with chopped cilantro pairs well with the rich curries.

Unfortunately, the buffet’s naan and fried items have shorter shelf lives. Spinach pakora, diced spinach dipped in gram (chickpea flour) batter and fried, quickly turns dense and almost jaw-breaking. Vada doughnuts, also made with gram flour, pack plenty of cardamom flavor but are dense and cold. Puffy naan wilts on the buffet, and multiple attempts to request fresh baskets are not understood by floor attendants who I soon realize are just there to refresh beverages and bus buffet plates. Stalking food runners for naan and vada replenishment is more effective. Fresher batches arrive marginally warmer and are softer in texture.

Bagara baigan is whole eggplant cooked in onion, tomato, peanuts and coconut gravy. (Photos by Becky Stein / Special)

Baigan bhartha is whole eggplant cooked in onion, tomato, peanuts and coconut gravy. (Photos by Becky Stein / Special)

Dinnertime offers better ambience, but the food and service is inconsistent. On one visit, stale sheets of complementary papadum (roasted lentil/chickpea flatbread) are brought to the table. On another, I don’t get any at all. Baskets of naan that come with entrees are warm but tough to chew. After multiple requests, an additional order of butter naan ($1.95) arrives hot, puffy and melts in the mouth. A cold and limp four-foot long paper dosa (rice/lentil crepe, $7.95) rolled into a gigantic hollow tube disappoints if it weren’t for a hearty sambar (vegetable) stew served alongside. Break off pieces of the dosa and dip into the warm sambar for a comforting meal.

Chettinadu chicken curry gets its kick from curry leaves and green chiles.

Chettinadu chicken curry gets its kick from curry leaves and red chiles.

As on the lunch buffet, the curries are the highlights at dinner. Served in a pretty boat-shaped dish, gongura goat curry ($12.95) is a favorite. Bone-in goat meat is slow-cooked in thick gravy fused with cardamom, chiles and gongura leaves. The leaves impart a sour flavor that mellows nicely into a sweet and fruity profile. Chettinadu chicken curry ($10.95) is another favorite. Chunks of boneless chicken and bitter curry leaves are cooked in cream sauce generously spiced with red chiles. A few bites later, my head is drenched with perspiration. Baigan bhartha ($10.95), a vegetarian-friendly dish made with mashed eggplant and sautéed onions, elicits sounds of pleasure from me and my dining companions. I quickly swab hot butter naan through it to soak in its musky coriander flavor.

If you are in the area, the buffet at Sri Krishna Vilas makes a decent lunch option for the price. But inconsistencies in the restaurant’s service and food — curries notwithstanding — makes dinner a hit or miss experience.

SRI KRISHNA VILAS
5815 Windward Parkway, Alpharetta 770-475-9195
$-$$

Food: Spicy meat and vegetarian fare from southern and northern India

Service: Inconsistent at dinner, chaotic with communication barriers during lunch
Best dishes: Gongura goat curry, Chettinadu chicken curry, baigan bhartha
Vegetarian selections: Many dosas (crepes) made with lentil/rice flour, rice cakes, lentil and chickpea curries
Price range: $-$$
Credit cards: All major
Hours: Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, noon-3 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays; dinner, 5:30-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 5:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays
Children: Yes
Parking: In lot
Reservations:No
Wheelchair access:Yes
Smoking: No
Noise level: High during lunch, low during dinner
Patio: No
Takeout: Yes

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4 comments Add your comment

Lee at rootsinalpharetta.com

July 21st, 2011
9:29 am

Most Indian joints in the burbs are indeed like two restaurants. It is a completely different experience, lunch versus dinner. I’m glad you tried them in both instances.

Alpharetta is getting saturated with Indian joints now. There are four on Windward Parkway alone. One would think this would result in an overall boost in quality. We’ll see. In the meantime, is there *anything* in Alpharetta you guys like? ;-)

Liz

July 21st, 2011
11:04 am

Amma Kitchen on Cumming Street in Alpharetta is AMAZING! It’s run by a family from Hyderabad in southern India and the food is authentic, totally veg and very spicy. Everything is made in house including their spicy Indian pickle. It’s in the same little shopping center as a Hindu temple (the priest is the owner’s son, I believe) so you sometimes hear chanting /prayers while enjoying your lunch.

Sandy

July 25th, 2011
1:19 pm

Oh, I’ll have to check Amma Kitchen out. I’ve grown to enjoy Indian food. I actually have eaten at Sri Krishna Vilas for dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday and I must say I thought the Butter chicken was lovely. Another friend of mine, who is from India, recommended it to me. I loved soaking up the rich, spicy sauce with their naan bread. We did have to wait, but I found it to be worth the delay. I have heard Indian Chef was not that good, but I haven’t eaten there myself.