At Amruth and the Taj Chaat House, a Lesson in Learning From Ingredients

Lesson No. 1: Show up hungry.

The slips of paper lining the front counter look similar, but each is different. There's the uthappam slip, for fluffy thick pancakes, and the dosa slip for thin but massive pancakes. The parathas slip lists buttery wheat breads with various fillings, and the subji section of several slips lists all the vegetable curries you can get standalone.

The rice slip lists nine different rices, the dessert slip lists 10 sweets and a chai, the chaat slip lists 14 snacks, and then, because everything needs a slip, there's a juice slip, with 12 options, including lassis and sugarcane drinks.

If you look confused, one of the women up front should take pity and help you order, asking about heat and the finished textures of breads. But when you get the hang of it, ordering here is actually quite simple. Put a mark next to what you want, turn over the slip to a smiling face, get your pager and wait.

Amruth (left) offers polished Indian cuisine compared with Taj Chaat House's more relaxed approach.
Sara Kerens
Amruth (left) offers polished Indian cuisine compared with Taj Chaat House's more relaxed approach.

Location Info

Map

Amruth Indian Kitchen

1049 W. Rochelle Road
Irving, TX 75062

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Irving & Las Colinas

Taj Chaat House

1057 W. Rochelle Road
Irving, TX 75062-5436

Category: Restaurant > Health

Region: Irving & Las Colinas

Details

Amruth
Chicken Samosa $5.99
Goat Curry $12.99
Shrimp Biryani $14.99


Taj Chaat House
Bhel Puri $3.50
Paneer Bhurji $8.50
Sweet Pan $1.25

There's no rhyme or reason to the food procession that follows. Cooks at various stations ping your pager the second they complete your slip. On my first visit I jumped up and down four times to retrieve the Styrofoam plates holding different dishes, and halfway through my meal, the restaurant that was at first completely empty was now ablaze in a sea of buzzing, blinking pagers.

The cooking here is more humble compared with Amruth's. The potato mixture in the masala dosa tastes only of potatoes, onions and turmeric. The eggplant curry is clean, almost bland.

But the aforementioned paneer bhurji really stands out. The dish combines sautéed minced onions, chiles and spices with finely chopped Indian cheese. It resembles scrambled eggs, only reddish in color. My table mates used hunks of various breads like shovels to attack the oily curds.

There are more pickles available here, but they aren't as good as Amruth's. The coconut chutney is lifeless, the chile pickle an acrid paste, and the mango pickles are so salty only a devout fan will enjoy them. The simple limes, onions and fried chiles make much better condiments.

Still, the Taj Chaat house has something Amruth is missing — a charm and a sense of adventure found in its more obscure menu items. There's bhel puri, a puffed rice snack drenched in yogurt and chutneys, and golgappas, small, hollow, fried crisps that you fill with a watery tamarind sauce before popping in your mouth, where it explodes with tart flavors. There's pan, a leaf-wrapped digestive loaded with coconut, fennel and syrupy sugar, and Thumbs Up cola in the self-serve fridge.

On the whole, the place seems more interesting than Amruth next door. It's just not nearly as refined. Each is worth a visit, but if assessing pure quality is your goal, the pickles are your tell.

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1 comments
Eat My Cohorts
Eat My Cohorts

we have a TON of great Indian here in the area. unfortunately really none of it is in MY area, haha!

I will check this area out, I had no clue. But I can say that large Indian populations live in Richardson (75-Beltline, Arapaho-ish) and in Plano (Legacy/Spring Creek, Custer/Coit -ish) with a motherlode of great restaurants, grocers and Indian-centric businesses.

There's an Indian theater off 75 that shows Bollywood films and it's a lot of fun!

 
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