Along with the recent additions of Coalhouse Pizza and Tabouli Grill, now add Chile Chicken to what once was a culinary wasteland where Long Ridge and High Ridge converge in Stamford.
Formerly Tawa before the same owners moved to new digs downtown, Chile Chicken offers a different take on Indian Food, the cuisine created by Chinese immigrants in India. It's not fusion, but a "twist" on Indian cuisine. In fact, "Indian Twist" is the subtitle on their sign. At the table are a knives, forks ... and chopsticks.
When we entered the cozy room last night there were two encouraging signs... it was packed and we were the only non-Indians in the joint. And things got even better, starting with a super 22 ounce bottle of Tag lager to accompany our first dish: crispy Masala caulifower -- deepfried marinated florets in a spicy sauce. The veggie had a great crunch and the sauce was spiced to perfection. We were blown away with the complex flavors and tingling aftertaste... cut by a long, cold sip of Tag.
We then shared three of the signature offerings -- Hakka Chili Chicken, marinated chiken in a hot sauce, Chili Shrimp, described as an "all time favorite", served with green bell peppers and onions, and the star of the night, Burnt Garlic Fried Rice, which seemed to hit every flavor receptor in my mouth. The cook played his spices like a Stradivarius on this one! The chicken and shrimp were not as "hot" as advertised, and best augmented by the three sauces in the tray that was on the table when we sat down.
We finished the meal with a dusting of spices that were minty and cleared the palate perfectly.
Wow, really tasty. And much in the same league as neighbors Tabouli and Coalhouse a block away. Very good, very reasonable (small plates between 5 and 6, entrees 11-16) and very comfortable. None are "fine dining" -- but tasty fun eating.
Service was spot on. and we were in and out in an hour. Plenty of parking in the big lot next door.
A recent (and lauditory) Advocate review complained about the lack of Indian breads... and we missed that too, especially given the wonderful and varied nans offered at Tawa downtown Also would like cloth napkins rather than the thin paper napkin rolled around the knife and fork, like at the Bulls Head Diner next door.
The Indian scene in Stamford is sure vibrant and burgeoning. Two cricket fields, new Indian restaurants (including a vegetarian in what used to be Uncle Dai's downtown), grocery stores, etc, even a recent Ms. Indian Stamford beauty pageant!!!! Augurs well for more culinary twists.