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#1 ExtraMSG

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:46 AM

The other day, I noticed a new Indian restaurant called Chutneys in Vancouver just off 164th in a new strip center addition to the commercial center that's the home of Villagio, Jalapenos, and formerly Bacchus. Drove over but they were having a private pre-opening dinner. So the other day when my wife and I were driving home a little later than normal and I saw the open sign lit up, we decided to give it a try. The results were promising.

The place itself has kind of a standard nice cafe feel like many restaurants at its level, a little nicer than, say, Chennai Masala, Kabobi, or even Tandoor Indian Kitchen.

I'll give an abbreviated version of the menu. No descriptions, just items and prices:

STARTERS
Mixed Veg Pakoras, $4.99
Samosa, $4.99
Chicken 65, $6.99
Chili Chicken, $6.99

BREADS
Plain Naan, $2.00
Garlic Naan, $2.25
Onion Kulcha, $2.50

TANDOOR SIZZLERS
Tandoor Chicken, $10.99
Chicken Tikka, $11.99

ENTREES

VEGETARIAN
Mushroom Masala, $8.99
Palak Saag Paneer, $8.99
Alu Gobi, $7.99
Chana Masala, $8.99

CHICKEN
Chicken Korma, $10.99
Butter Chicken, $10.99

GOAT
Methi Goat Masala, $12.99

RICE ITEMS
Vegetarian Biryani, $9.99
Chicken Biryani, $11.99
Goat Biryani, $12.99
Shrimp Biryani, $12.99
Basmati Rice, $2.00

DESSERTS
Rice Pudding, $3.99
Carrot Halwa, $4.50

DRINKS
Mango Lassi, $2.50
Rose Milk, $2.00
Masala Chai, $1.99
Coffee, $1.99
Pepsi/Diet Pepsi/Sierra Mist/Dr. Pepper, $1.75

SOUTH INDIAN SPECIALS - COMING SOON!


My wife ordered the butter chicken, her usual when there's not chicken tikka masala, and I ordered the chili chicken and chana masala.

The butter chicken was nice. The meat was tender and the sauce well-balanced. It had a pleasant fenugreek leaf flavor, I think. Rice was a little clumpy, though.

Before ordering the chili chicken, I asked the waiter (white kid) what kind of chiles they use, not wanting it to be just some bell pepper sautee, and the owner came over. He asked if I wanted it really hot, and I said I did and told him I'd be okay, I'd had it at an Andhran restaurant in Chicago and he looked excited. It was darn spicy. I had to fight the hiccups. But it was also very fragrant and nicely flavored. Chicken was occasionally dry and a little chewy, but overall a good rendition.

The chana masala was decent. My palate may have been gone by the time I got it, though. The beans were cooked properly, the sauce had a pleasant consistency, and the flavor seemed balanced, though perhaps a little flat. But again, this was after the chili chicken.

A promising first visit. The thing I'm really looking forward to, though, is that they are soon going to be offering dosai. Apparently they had one on special, but the waiter forgot to tell me about it. They hadn't added the idli, vada, and dosa to the menu yet because they were waiting on some equipment, they said. I could find myself there a lot if they make a good dosa and vada. And since my wife liked their butter chicken, I might actually be able to go.

I've got an email in to get their exact address. Their take-out menu didn't have it.

Chutneys
Between Village Loop and SE 34th on 164th
Vancouver, WA 98683

HOURS

Tuesday - Thursday
Lunch: 11:30am - 2:00pm
Dinner: 5:30pm - 9:00pm

Friday - Sunday
Lunch: 11:30am - 2:30pm
Dinner: 5:30pm - 9:30pm

Phone: 360.254.7254
Email: Chutneys_Vancouver@yahoo.com

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#2 spyder1

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 11:50 AM

I live just down the road from there I will have to stop in sometime.

#3 ez

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:01 PM

Wonder if this is the same chain that is up in Seattle?? Any lunch buffet?

Eric

#4 ExtraMSG

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Posted 11 October 2007 - 01:26 PM

Doubt it. Very different menu and it didn't seem like a chain from how everything was handled. Just a common name. Haven't checked it out at lunch yet.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#5 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 07:24 PM

Had dinner there again tonight, now that they have the southern specials. Had a masala dosa, vada with sambhar on the side, and chili chicken.

The masala dosa was enormous, thin, and crisp with a decent flavor. The coconut chutney is pleasant, though a little thin tasting. I like their mint chutney really well, but the coconut could be improved. The filling was chunky and fresh tasting, but a little on the ... I don't know ... bland side. Just not as flavorful as it could be. Mostly just the flavor of onions and potatoes. Decent, though. Certainly worth getting.

The vada looked great. They looked freshly fried and were very crisp. But they were gooey on the inside, not cakey at all. Not sure what happened. I'll give them another try, though. I don't like their sambhar. Really thin with a little vegetables. Nowhere near as good as Tandoor's, but also not even close to the peppery, earthy lentil soups at Lentil Garden and Chennai Masala.

They had idlly, too, but I'm not a fan so I didn't try them. Chili chicken was good and very spicy, though not as floral as last time.

They just added these dishes, so I assume things will get better. Right now they're good enough to keep me from driving to Beaverton.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#6 Craig Camp

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 08:59 PM

Had dinner there again tonight, now that they have the southern specials. Had a masala dosa, vada with sambhar on the side, and chili chicken.

The masala dosa was enormous, thin, and crisp with a decent flavor. The coconut chutney is pleasant, though a little thin tasting. I like their mint chutney really well, but the coconut could be improved. The filling was chunky and fresh tasting, but a little on the ... I don't know ... bland side. Just not as flavorful as it could be. Mostly just the flavor of onions and potatoes. Decent, though. Certainly worth getting.

The vada looked great. They looked freshly fried and were very crisp. But they were gooey on the inside, not cakey at all. Not sure what happened. I'll give them another try, though. I don't like their sambhar. Really thin with a little vegetables. Nowhere near as good as Tandoor's, but also not even close to the peppery, earthy lentil soups at Lentil Garden and Chennai Masala.

They had idlly, too, but I'm not a fan so I didn't try them. Chili chicken was good and very spicy, though not as floral as last time.

They just added these dishes, so I assume things will get better. Right now they're good enough to keep me from driving to Beaverton.

Just a few questions. Is enormous good or bad? How does one improve "coconut"? Isn't "thin" a feeling rather than a taste? Did you like this meal?

#7 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 11:55 PM

Do you care or are you just trolling? All the answers are there if you actually want them.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#8 BaconLuv

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 03:50 PM

I realize the previous post wasn't directed to me, but I feel compelled to respond anyway.

Craig Camp's questions seem valid to me, and just wanting a little more info from your recent review, MSG. Why would someone be assumed for trolling with 48 previous posts and a member since March? :) (admittedly, I haven't read other posts from this user to judge a history of posts...maybe I'm totally missing something, and if I am, apologies in advance).

It's not like Craig Camp just joined today just to be critical of this review. I'm certain I'll be attacked here for stating this, but this post is just another example of an overly defensive response that really turns some people off from this site.
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#9 Craig Camp

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 08:03 PM

I realize the previous post wasn't directed to me, but I feel compelled to respond anyway.

Craig Camp's questions seem valid to me, and just wanting a little more info from your recent review, MSG. Why would someone be assumed for trolling with 48 previous posts and a member since March? :D (admittedly, I haven't read other posts from this user to judge a history of posts...maybe I'm totally missing something, and if I am, apologies in advance).

It's not like Craig Camp just joined today just to be critical of this review. I'm certain I'll be attacked here for stating this, but this post is just another example of an overly defensive response that really turns some people off from this site.


I would hope my questions are valid. I am trying to get a feeling for MSG's definitions in his posts. He and I certainly disagreed about what burnt pizza means. First of all we are talking about Indian food here and I think it's worth getting a feeling for his level of expertise in this area. Has he eaten Indian food in India, or at least London? If his experience is more limited that's worth knowing when it comes to evaluating his reviews. I understand he is an expert in pastrami, but that does not mean he is equally expert in vada. He may be, but as that's not clear I see no harm in asking.

#10 ExtraMSG

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 08:08 AM

I would hope my questions are valid. I am trying to get a feeling for MSG's definitions in his posts. He and I certainly disagreed about what burnt pizza means. First of all we are talking about Indian food here and I think it's worth getting a feeling for his level of expertise in this area. Has he eaten Indian food in India, or at least London? If his experience is more limited that's worth knowing when it comes to evaluating his reviews. I understand he is an expert in pastrami, but that does not mean he is equally expert in vada. He may be, but as that's not clear I see no harm in asking.


I think this proves my point. Trolling.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#11 ez

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 08:59 AM

Well...I went to chutneys for lunch and they had no buffet. There were only three options for meals. One was $6.99 vegetarian sampler, One was $7.99 meat sampler, and the third was there "Chutney Special" sampler for $9.99. I chose the special and it was generally pretty good. The naan was tasty and fresh. However, there was not a single chutney to be had at lunch time :-( They owner or manager guy was sitting in a booth talking on his cell phone the whole time. I will not be returning for lunch in the near future, unless their selection improves and their prices decrease some (Miracle happens).

#12 tejon

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:39 PM

Dan and I went for lunch yesterday and had the same lunch choices as ez mentioned above. We both got the special, since it had the most varied selection of dishes. The dal was very good, as was the tandoor chicken. The naan wasn't fresh, but it was tasty and well textured so I'm guessing it was the end of the lunch shift. I really liked the vegetables korma, which was subtle and warm. The chicken curry was all right, nothing special but decent. Our pakoras were also lukewarm and had been held, though they were well seasoned. We giggled a bit at the lack of chutney with a meal from a place called Chutney, but didn't actually need anything additional. Oh, and we got a taste of the owner's mango pie...silky smooth and delicious. Overall, it was a good lunch and I'd be happy to go back again.
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#13 jafar

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Posted 24 December 2007 - 07:52 PM

I've been there a few times. Its between my work and my home so very convenient.

The best dish I've had was Kashmiri Goat which was really good. Unfortunately they've stopped serving goat because customers don't like the bone :)

The service is pretty spotty but well-meaning. I think I agree with something MSG said elsewhere. I prefer a place that has some good dishes and some bad ones to a place where everything is just OK. This place definitely has some quite good dishes.

I think the chef is the best thing about this place. I get the pretty clear impression that this is a first restaurant for the owners/management.

I'm looking forward to going back for the lunch combination. I don't mind that its not a buffet if they give me 5 things and its a surprise for $10 that's fine with me. Its not as much of a bargain as the Box Lunch from Swagat in Beaverton, but their good dishes are better.

The Roti we had at lunch was made earlier and not fresh but the curries were good. I'm hoping they'll work out their kinks and amplify their successes. The location sure is a lot more convenient for me than Namaste.