You know the spot. It's some sort of jinx I think, where every time you drive by the corner on 98th Ave and 116th it's either closed or trying to re-open as something different. The building that is still shaped like it's original Jack-In-the-Box can't seem to catch a break on that congested intersection. Fast food, sushi, burgers, coffee, you name it--- gone. Then Kathakali strides in with South Indian cuisine that packs the house every night for the last 6 weeks since they opened. Who knew?! Still unassuming from the exterior, and a little bit tricky with the "opening soon" on their temporary sign, you should know that they are OPEN for biz and it would be smart to call ahead for reservations (425-821-8188).
You'll soon discover a cozy and re-decorated interior (enter through the double doors) that is dimly lit and deliciously fragrant. Our whole family decided to go after a baseball game on a Tuesday night at 8pm and had to wait 15 minutes for a table. Every seat was full, and mostly with South Indians, which is a good sign... because when the ethnicity of the food matches the ethnicity of the clientele you're in for an authentic meal. We started with the basil spinach dosa. Dosas are a signature item at Kathakali and I am going to insist you try one. It looks a lot like a giant crepe burrito (but it's really a lentil and rice crepe stuffed with spinach basil pesto and spiced potatoes) with three amazing chutneys on the side. Our family hoovered this dish in 18 seconds flat. The naan bread was thicker and fluffer than previous ones i have had, the fresh garlic on top was a nice touch. For our entrees we ordered Tikka Misala, Lamb Vindaloo and Butter Chicken. Our waiter was a friendly guy but I sure wish he had told us that everything comes out 'medium' spicy which translated to Rabuchin family standards felt like a five alarm fire. He later explained that the heat is not from chilies, but from the pepper and garlic and spices. Clearly we are in the little leagues because a good number of people have told me this is the best Indian food they have ever had. And also good to know, South Indian cuisine is different from North Indian food (ie Royal India across the street). Steve and I were able to finish our meals, although it was so spicy it was difficult to differentiate the dishes after a while. I should have ordered another dosa for the kids because my starving tweens were tortured by staring at food their sensitive palates wouldn't tolerate.
He's laughing b/c they gave him a tiny tot kid cup/straw.
If you are an Indian food connoisseur, you're going to love this place. Everyone is raving about it. I heard the mutton is excellent (baa-aaa-aah). Prices were really reasonable; dosas are $9 and entrees/curries were $14-18 on average. Hours are listed here. Steve and I got a nice cleanse out of the experience and learned we should maybe ask for some yogurt sauce to help cool things down next time. But we will be back. Even my kids want to go back to try something new. Let me know what your faves are. The jinx could finally be broken at 11451 98th Ave NE.