Friday, April 15, 2011
1594 Woodcliff Dr. NE, # F, Atlanta, GA www.chatpattiatl.com
Last night my grandmother and I visited this Indian vegetarian restaurant a stone's throw away from previously reviewed Tin Roof Cantina. It's in a shopping center with a sari shop, another Indian restaurant and an Ethiopian restaurant.
If you are unfamiliar with Indian dishes, you're best move before going to this restaurant is to review their website, which has descriptions of everything on the menu. At the restaurant yourself, all you'll get is pictures and the names of the dishes, featured on a glossy hanging board. If you want more details, you can always ask the owner, but he has a heavy accent.
I ordered the Katchori Chat. This is fried pastry (on the bottom), with brown and (neon) yellow lentils topped with yogurt and fresh cilantro. The menu doesn't say this, but it also contained onions, potato, and hot sauce. This is a very interesting dish, very heavily spiced. In some bites I tasted cumin, in some coriander, some mild hot sauce, and then of course the cilantro. Every forkful seemed different from the last. It was like eating the flavor equivalent of a tie-dyed shirt. If you like variety, this is the entree for you. I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about it.
Grandmother ordered the masala dosa, which is a long, cylindrical semi-crisp crepe containing mixed vegetables. This is a southern Indian specialty. It looks enormous, but you should know is that the vegetable filling is only within about the middle third of the crepe. This isn't atypical of dosas I've eaten at local Indian restaurants - just be prepared for a meal composed of mostly bread. This particular dosa mainly included onion and potato, with a few chili peppers. It was adequate, but I much prefer the Saravana Bhavan, which specializes in southern Indian cuisine. By comparison, the dosa at Chat Patti is too pancake-like, and the filling wasn't as flavorful.
This is the third Indian vegetarian restaurant I've reviewed on this blog. Of these, I think Saravana Bhavan is # 1, Vatica is # 2, and this is # 3. I also prefer Udipi Cafe to this place, although I haven't posted a review on it because it's a chain. I'm not saying Chat Patti is bad, it's just not the best.
On the bright side, the menu is extensive, and the portions are filling. There are lots of varieties of chat, plenty of bread, eggless pastries, and "snacks" like dal and samosas. It's also very inexpensive - I spent $12 on two dinners. A great deal, if you like the food.
The owner and other employees were very nice. The owner even gave us a few samples of some lentil-based cake that came with a sweet and sour dipping sauce, on the house. It's always nice to be able to try something new for free.
The restaurant itself is nothing fancy, but it's clean and benefits from a big window that allows light to reflect off the mustard yellow walls. It's nicer than the worn exterior indicates.