Do I think Indian food is some of the best in the world? Yes. Yes, I do. Let's jump into this!
It's barely Indian food... but it gets five stars in my book.
No way around it, this place is not your traditional Indian cuisine. Why? Because beef. Let me explain.
Go to any authentic Indian restaurant in the entire world and you will not find one ounce of beef. No beef stock. No meat. No bone. Not even the word will be found. That's because Hindu Indians believe the cow to be a symbol of prosperity and reverence (not to be confused with the misconception that they are worshiped). So what was my reaction to seeing beef on the menu? Pretty shocked. I asked the server what the idea was behind it. He answered saying that this is a restaurant that is influenced heavily with Indian Cuisine, yet it incorporates that culture with others. I kept looking at the menu and although I saw a Mango Lassi, I also saw 'nachos', 'poutine', 'corn dogs' and 'tacos'. What the???
I am now a believer. Sure, you can be a purist and believe that tacos are better if they stay mexican (guilty), or you can step out of your ideas and embrace something new. Chauhan nails it. I mean it. They NAILED it. Even down to the decor I knew this was going to be something different. It just makes you feel like you need to be there.
This shouldn't be a surprise to those foodies out there. Chauhan is owned by Morph Restaurant Group. This is the same group that was started by Chef Maneet Chauhan. The very same that competed in Chopped and Iron Chef. But that's just the TV stuff (we all know how I feel about that). She graduated from the top culinary school in India and then attended the nations prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. She has even won a James Beard award for Excellence. I have had the pleasure of working with a woman who received a James Beard Award and let me tell you, those that receive these awards are inspirational. What I love most is that she is spot on, on what a restaurant group should look like. I LOVE IT.
So, I did the only sane thing a person would do. I ordered the burger - I'll give you a moment to wipe that drool off -
Blended beef. Green Chile Bacon. Amal Cheese. Chaat Masala Onion Rings. Red Wine Demi. Black Sesame Bun. It really is a masterpiece. Not one bit was dry or missing flavor. The consistency of the bacon was enough to please the crunchy or the soft bacon eaters. It was all just made so well. (The salad featured is the Spiced Farro , not jaw-dropping, but still way good - other option is Masala fries).
It did not taste immediately Indian though. You focus on the meat and onion rings and you will miss it. Instead, focus on the slight kick of the chili, and then that slight acidity you feel from the Chaat Masala vinegar. It's there. That's what makes it such a perfect marriage.
If you couldn't tell by now, this place gets a Dan Rivera Award. Not as prestigious as the James Beard, but still dang good.