Aahar- An Indian Eatery
Address: 7726 Center Boulevard SE Suite 135, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, USA
Telephone: +1 (425) 888-5500
Price: $$ ( average price of entrée is between USD 11 and USD 25)
Cuisine type: Indian
Aahar is a 5 month old Indian restaurant located in beautiful Snoqualmie. Aahar means food in Sanskrit and true it to its name, it does have some good food to offer. Aahar offers multi regional Indian cuisine with emphasis on traditional Kerala cuisine like kappa and kadala curry ( tapioca and black garzbanzo beans), aviyal (vegetable stew in coconut milk), egg masala, Malabar parotta( flat bread) and idiyappam( rice noodles). I wish they offered palappam(fermented flatbread made with rice and coconut) and puttu (rice flour based breakfast dish) to complete the list.
They also have the usual south Indian fare like dosa, idli, vada and even a mini tiffin on their menu. Their lunch menu listed on their website is good only on weekdays. Dinner menu listed on the website is the same as weekend menu. They don’t serve a lunch buffet which in my opinion is good because most curries in Indian restaurant buffets taste the same and reheating only makes it worse. Also given their limited space, I cant imagine them setting up a buffet any which way they try.
We picked a beautiful Saturday afternoon to go to Aahar with some friends that we hadn’t seen in a long time. A friendly lady seated us at a table close to the entrance because that was the only table in the restaurant that could seat 6 people without them having to move around the furniture. Now a table close to the door is something I wouldn’t have liked on a regular day in Seattle. Who wants cold air blowing in their direction every time someone came into the restaurant right? Since it was bright, sunny and warm, we happily accepted our seating.
We were welcomed with a complimentary bowl of warm tomato rasam (south Indian soup) and I had a nice chat with the lady who came to take our order. She mentioned that Aahar is a family run restaurant. Two families have moved from New Jersey and California to set up Aahar in Snoqualmie, far away from main stream Seattle. The lady’s daughter fell in love with Snoqualmie on a touristy trip to the Snoqualmie falls and she convinced her chef-husband and parents to move and set up this restaurant.
We ordered a portion Kerala fish fry ( a trout coated with spices and fried to perfection) and curried chicken lollipop for the meat eaters and a portion of fried mushrooms with peanut sauce for vegetarians. The fried mushrooms looked gorgeous and perfect on the outside, but the inside wasn’t cooked well and I could taste the sticky batter. The boys had great things to say about their appetizers.
For the main course, we ordered a portion of Chettinad pepper chicken, Malabar mutton kurma (which apparently was the best the guys have ever eaten in Seattle) and egg masala curry along with pudhina( mint) rice, idiyappams and Malabar parotta. Egg masala was creamy, coconutty and perfect. The portions were generous and not too spicy. The mint rice was very flavorful and paired well with the curries. I usually don’t like raisins and cashews in my rice, wish they had mentioned that in the menu. The idiyappams were soft, fluffy, perfect and came with a portion of coconut milk. The Malabar parottas tasted good when they were hot, they turned hard and crispy by the end of the meal. We ordered kal dosa (crepes) and ghee dosa for the kids which they really enjoyed. The ghee dosa was tasty and very reasonably priced at $5.
We polished off our lunch with the aahar special for dessert which was huge and meant to be shared. It came with a scoop each of almond halwa, beets halwa, carrot halwa, fried bananas and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. The halwas were warm and delicious with the right amount of sweetness. The almond halwa had an interesting texture, not super smooth( not sure if it was intentional or because of the lack of a powerful blender) and for a change not oozing with ghee. Our dessert was served in a large bowl with 4 spoons and no extra bowls, obviously they expected us to eat out of that one large bowl, which was unappealing. They have a wide selection of beverages including the infamous mango lassi, Madras filter coffee and masala chai. They also offer catering services.
If i were to rate this place, I’d give it a 3/5. I understand their goal is to provide multi-regional Indian cuisine, but since the menu is heavily oriented towards South Indian, especially Kerala and Tamilnadu cuisines, i would have loved to see more traditional items from these regions. Their service was great and friendly. The place can get busy, by 1pm there was almost a line outside for a table. So go early if you want to have a nice, relaxed meal. There’s plenty of parking available in the strip mall and a beautiful park close to the restaurant for a nice walk after a heavy lunch. Overall the place seems to have a lot of promise and a must-try for Indian food lovers.