Restaurants & Bars 1

Chaat 'n' Curries - Berkeley

Jess Leber | Feb 12, 2007 01:33 PM

I finally stopped at the place after seeing it for a month or so. It is on San Pablo at University, on the same block and side of street as the Mi Tierra Market. It's opening had been mentioned here, but I couldn't find any more info.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food. It was just my wife and me, so we only tried a few items. When we went to pick up our order (we were doing take out) there were only 3 people dining there at the time, so it looks pretty hurting for business. We had naan, vegetable samosas, chicken saag, and a last item that I can't really name (my wife had placed the order) but which I'll try to describe as meatball-shaped rounds of breaded eggplant in a korma-like sauce.

Samosa - Seeing as this was take out, I was doubtful that the fried samosa would fare well after the trip home. Astonishingly, the exterior of the samosa was excellent. There was something about the way the samosa had been fried that made the crust both crispier and better able to survive the trip home. The interior was fine, but it was the exterior that had me smiling.

Chicken saag - This was very good. This may sound like strange praise, but what I enjoyed most about this dish was that it tasted like ...chicken and spinach. I know that's what it's SUPPOSED to taste like, but I find so many saag dishes to be so overwhlmingly creamy/buttery (don't get me wrong -- I enjoy that) that sometimes the pure taste of spinach can get lost. Not here. The chicken was fine, but the spinach was excellent.

Eggplant korma (maybe?) item - I'm not the best judge here, seeing as I generally go kukoo for korma and probably lack the necessary discrimination to distinguish a good from a bad korma. Let's just say that my dog had very little to lick out of the container when we were done.

I don't get out much to the Berkeley Indian food scene, so I'm not sure how it compares (a few years back I was so underwhelmed by Breads of India that I switched over to cooking Indian food at home rather than going out for it). All in all, both my wife and I were very happy with the food. Total bill, including naan, rice, a lentil soupy item that came with the curries, and the above items, was about $25.

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