NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Daytime dwellers of downtown New Brunswick are no strangers to a quick grab-and-go lunch.
With options ranging from made-to-order subs to brick oven pizza, the lunch crowd can now add quick service Indian cuisine to their dining rotation.
Chapati House, a favorite on New York City’s Upper West Side, recently opened its second outpost at 349 George Street in New Brunswick.
In a spirit similar to fellow George Street eateries Chipotle and The Counter, Chapati House offers guests a highly-customizable meal with speed and efficiency.
The menu guides patrons through an easy to follow pick-your-prep/protein/toppings process, with the end result taking no more than five minutes from start to cash register.
A variety of spiced chicken, lamb and vegetables can be had in a chewy fresh pressed Chapati wrap, atop rice, or salad.
From there, any number of combinations can be concocted thanks to an assortment of toppings and sauces. One could eat there every day for a month and not have the same thing twice, but the menu is not overbearing.
Considering the enormous repertoire of traditional Indian dishes, owner Chander Malik decided to focus on only nine.
“I chose the favorite dishes, good dishes, which I thought would work,” says Malik.
“This way my kitchen concentrates on those dishes only.”
“The concept is pretty simple actually,” explains Malik.
“I like to have [a place] where people can go out everyday to eat, where you get good food without much pretention. More and more people have less time, so my goal was to cook slow and serve quick.”
Traditional slow-cooking methods are utilized to produce such full-flavored entrees as lamb bhuna and daal maharani. However, the most significant inspiration for the Chapati House menu comes from Malik’s own mother.
“The idea of the toppings pretty much is from my mother’s dining table,” he says.
“She would always have pickled ginger, pickled radish, some others condiments so everybody can choose whatever. It’s the same concept. That’s how we eat, and that is how I [thought] we should put it together. The little variations make a huge difference.”
In addition to the wraps and bowls, Chapati House also offers a selection of snacks – although the word ‘snack’ is an understatement.
Crispy shrimp popcorn are fried to potato chip crispness and liberally dusted with a proprietary blend of spices.
The only proper way to indulge is by dipping each tasty morsel into the sweet ginger sauce generously stationed at each table.
Papri chaat ia another not-to-miss snack that combines housemade fritters, potatoes, chickpeas, onion, tomato, and chat masala spice in a sauce of whipped yogurt, coriander, and tamarind.
As with most menu items, the level of spice can be dialed up or down.
To cool your palate, mango lassi and bottled mango nectar are on standby.
By far, the perfect punctuation to your meal will be the individually-portioned desserts and masala chai tea.
Catering and delivery are on the horizon, as are daily specials and online ordering.
Chapati House is open Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM, and Friday and Saturday until 11:00 PM.