So far we have only found one good Indian restaurant in Austin and nothing in the way of chaat (Indian snack-type food, often fried, always delicious). We even drove to San Antonio once for chaat only to discover the place was shut down. Bummer.
Luckily, a couple of our friends (not Indian, but with good taste) took us to a place in North Austin (called Naanfull if you are curious). The food was outstanding. The gobi manchurian was fantastic and always is. Spicy, crunchy cauliflower that tastes nothing like a cauliflower should (since normally it is awful).
I came back several more times with them and on my own. I brought another friend along there. The service is horrendous. They do things like refuse to honor their kids eat free Monday deal. They charge extra for chutney even though the menu says it is included. The chutney is super small anyway and really just raita. They also tend to forget at least one item each visit.
They also have really strange ambiance. They are totally trying to copy chipotle or a mini cafeteria style salad bar. I have no idea why they think this type of layout would be appealing to anyone. I don't mind counter service at all, but why would you try to look a like a chain when you are not?
Still, my taste buds keep making me go back. I finally got a chance to take Ryan this weekend. He asked a question about the paneer 65 appetizer and was given the most condescending response that left both of us befuddled. We ordered anyway and I decided I need to get on Yelp to call them out for the rudeness.
I was skimming through most of the (rave) reviews when a one star review caught my eye. Some guy was irate about the state of his samosa chaat. He said it was covered in way too many vegetables, chickpeas and weird sauces instead of the 'lightly garnished' samosa he was used to! I almost fell out of my chair. CHAAT!!?! THEY HAD REAL CHAAT HERE! I could not have heard a more appetizing description of samosa chaat than this guys review. I don't know why I never noticed it on the menu (probably because of my gobi tunnel vision). I made Ryan get up and order again.
It totally lived up to everything I wanted it to be. No, it was not a plate of plain samosas. Obviously. It was real and true samosa CHAAT. Sweet, spicy, saucy, crunchy, creamy. Just every flavor in one bite. I honestly don't think I have ever had better samosa chaat in years. The potato filling inside was perfectly spiced, the shell was still crispy despite being covered in three different chutneys and they didn't skimp on the vegetables or chickpeas on top. Just amazing.
I could say that pregnancy is making me crave chaat, but when am I not craving chaat? I am so grateful I found somewhere in Austin to get at least one type of chaat. Thank you one star Yelp review guy!