posted on March 20, 2007 at 9:16 am
When I lived in San Francisco, I would make the trip from the city to Berkeley for chaat at Vik’s Chaat Corner (a must-try on your next visit to the Bay area if you have never been). Vik’s is a simple warehouse right off the highway with some unbelievably good food–not to mention easy on the wallet. The lines would be insane the minute they opened the door, but the wait was worth it for the glorious food you received. Never having been to India, Vik’s was my first foray into the wonderful world of chaat (Indian small plates normally served on the street from carts). Imagine my surprise when I found this chaat place, Chat Patti, right off North Druid Hills a while back. Chat Patti serves various vegetarian chaat dishes from all over India. The staff is very friendly and willing to help you choose items-you can get away with pointing to what you want if the menu is confusing. I am far from an expert, but I adore Vegetarian Indian food in all forms. I opted to get the finger hots in batter, pani puri, and a vegetarian curry sampler with rice (for later). One of the women who was helping me threw in a sev puri for me to taste.
Finger hots in batter: Not what you would expect. Almost like a donut-not crispy-with a spicy surprise in the center. A nice textural contrast to the rest of my meal.
Sev puri: This was my favorite item. Puris are small deep-fried puffs of bread, that are topped with a variety of items. The sev puris have a gorgeous mix of tangy yogurt sauce, fresh cilantro, chutney, and sev (crispy chickpea noodles). Truly an outstanding flavor combination that I would go back for any day.
Pani puri: These are a more subtle dish. The puffs are served plain with sprouted moong, finely minced onions, and chutney to stuff inside after you make a whole with your finger or fork. After stuffing, dip the puri into the green pani (water flavored with cilantro, mint, and other spices) that is provided in the Styrofoam cup-quite delicious.
Mixed vegetable curries with rice: I got a potato curry and the chickpea version. Both were quite good and fresh. Great rice too. A steal at $5 and healthy to boot.
Verdict: A definite must-try if you have never had it. Don’t be intimidated by the menu or primarily Indian clientele–the staff and regulars are very nice and willing to help even the most befuddled Westerner. I plan to go back and try more and more. They also have a variety of Indian sweets and puri you can take home to experiment with on your own. There is a great Indian grocery next door that you can visit for any other ingredients you might need.
Address: 1594 Woodcliff Drive NE
Phone: (404) 633-5595