Is there such a thing as curry addiction? After a week-long withdrawal from curry-diving, I had to have some South Asian food. My brother and I headed to Mountain View for a Sunday lunch at Chaat Paradise as a break from our Thanksgiving leftovers.
We tried to sample something from each section of the extensive menu of snacks (chaat), vegetable curries, tawah rotis, mini lunch, south Indian dishes, thali, beverages, and desserts. We had
Masala chaat, $3.99 Crackly puffed wafers, diced onions, cilantro, lettuce, and other veggies were tossed with chutneys and a fiery masala spice mix. William said, this is Frito pie. I thought it was more like a cumin-heavy taco salad with lots of crunch.
Chinese bhel, $3.99 This was one of two dishes described as Chinese, the other being samosas. We had to try at least one of them. Bhel is depicted below. When the server brought it to the table, my first reaction was that it was the smallest order of chow mein Id ever seen. The seasonings included a good slug of soy sauce, along with cilantro, tomatoes, scallions, chilis, garlic and ginger, making this dish quite salty. And, it did taste Chinese-esque to me. The meaty pieces of singed bell peppers added a nice smoky note. The noodles were mushy, but they did soak up the flavors nicely.
Maki ke roti saag mini lunch, $5.95 After my first taste of maki ke roti at the Darbar chowdown last month, I was eager to try another version. The two rotis were a little thinner, so not as tender in texture, but nicely grilled for the flavor accent of toasty corn. The saag was a mix of whipped up puree and some chopped and not as cooked down leaves. Nicely spiced, and a great partner with the cornbread. Also the serving was huge, this mini lunch is a really good deal.
Cheese chili uttapam, $6.25 This is going to freak out Jim Leff once more (in re Café de Pera), as the cheese used in this was, I swear, orange-colored cheddar. This was oilier and not as pristine in presentation as the one we had at Woodlands. Blotches of crusty orange cheese and slices of fresh jalapeño dotted the golden brown exterior of the thick pancake. William said, Well, the one at Woodlands was purer and cleaner in its taste, but this one has a whole lot more flavor. If I had to choose between them, I like this greasy one better. The accompanying sambhar was thick and complex. With many pieces of whole lentils and chopped veggies, it was almost stew-like. The coconut chutney was tinged pale green and had more bite than the other versions weve had.
House thali II, $6.95 Results here were more inconsistent. The vegetable curris of the day were a very good aloo gobi and tasty matter paneer. The raita was too watery, and the kadhi didnt do much for me. The rice was too soft, and the papad was kind of chewy in spots and not crackly fresh. The paratha was nicely done with many layers. This came with a choice of soda or chaas. The glass of chaas was a dilute buttermilk flavored with cumin.
Mango lassi and Gulab lassi, $2.25 each Both were intensely flavored and quite good, if a bit stingy in serving size. The pink-colored rose-flavored gulab lassi is shown below.
We had planned to order gulab jamun and ras malai for dessert but were too stuffed by that point. Wed already ordered more than enough for three people. Ive been staving off curry withdrawals with the leftovers this last week.
As promised by the previous poster, the setting is quite pleasant with thick carpeting and nice dinnerware. The plates are ornately gilded bone china and the attractive cutlery is heavy with copper-plated handles.
Chaat Paradise is located in the same shopping center as Smart & Final. Its in the back corner next to Round Table Pizza. Theres more parking in the back of the building. Follow the overhead Chaat sign from the parking lot to the entrance.
165 El Camino Real (@ Grant Rd.)
Open daily, 11:30am to 9:30pm