March 5, 2013

New Eats: Chai Pani in Decatur

In case you weren't hadn't heard, and weren't one of the hundreds of people waiting in line for a table this past weekend, Chai Pani opened in Decatur last Friday night. I stopped in for dinner during their launch Friday night, and had a good meal, but there was some opening night madness, so I paid them another visit for lunch yesterday with this guy.
Chai Pani is the second restaurant from the husband & wife, Meherwan & Molly Irani, who own and operate the now two locations. The original location in Asheville has garnered its share of accolades over the past four years. All of the food on my two visits has been good, some very good, and definitely leaving me wanting more. Some of the food sampled thus far by yours truly:
The kale pakoras is just crazy good. Seems simple enough: kale fritters with a curried chickpea batter and dipping sauces. So damn good, it is actually hard to stop eating these. Nice balance of being light, salty, and crispy, yet the kale does not get lost in the mix.
 The vegetable uttapam was also very strong. Like an Indian crepe pizza. Great flavor here.
Bombay chili cheese fries. Curried Indian turkey hash on masala fries, topped with paneer, and served with tomato chutney. Indian stoner food, and it is good, even sober.
Okra fries. I wasn't crazy about these. My table mates liked them more than I, but I've never been a big okra guy.
Another strong dish. Potato puri.
There also some interesting cocktails on the menu like the Kashmir Sour, which is basically a whiskey sour spiked with Kashmir chili powder. All-in-all Chai Pani is off to a very good start, and based on the crowds that have shown up for both lunch and dinner, they will be a fixture in Decatur for a good long time. A welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Chai Pani on Urbanspoon

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