REVIEW w/pics: Lunch at Chaat Cafe
Last May, I got the approval to attend a Monday seminar in San Francisco. Instead of flying in Sunday night, I decided to come into town Saturday morning just so I can check out whatever food scene I could explore in just two days.
For my first day in town, I decided to stick close to the place I was going to call home for the next 3 days and decided to have my first meal at the Chaat Cafe. My lunch started well with the arrival of the Strawberry Lassi. Having only had mango lassi in the past, a strawberry version was a refreshing change and it was a change I loved.
When it came to the food, I decided to stick with two items on their "street food menu" starting with the Pakori Chaat which are mixed vegetable pakoras topped with tamarind, mint chutney and spices. Unfortunately,I didn't care for it. The pakora was over-fried. I also found the tamarind sauce to be too thick and a bit cloying.
The other dish I ordered was the Dahi Batata Puri which were crispy shells filled with mashed potatoes and chopped onions, topped with yogurt, spices, chutneys and sev (thin string-like fried snack preparation made out of gram flour). I thought the filling was nice, although I felt that the shell could have been lighter and crispier, but that tamarind sauce again didn't add anything to the Puri.
It was still too thick and cloying and also was just too tangy and this comes from someone who really likes tamarind. I also didn't understand the addition of the sev. It seems like the crunch component of the shell should be enough.
It's safe to say that other than the Strawberry Lassi, I wasn't a big fan of what I ate at Chaat Cafe. It's also fair to say that I shouldn't judge a restaurant based on just two dishes, but first impressions do count. So Chaat Cafe probably wouldn't merit a return visit from me anytime soon.
320 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94107
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320 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
This location is called Cafe Chaat and is no longer part of the Chaat Cafe chain, it's not listed on the website www.chaatcafe.com I occasionally get take-out from the Berkeley branch and don't recognize those items from the menu. Chaat Cafes chaat menu is limited to about 6 or 7 chaat items. I am a fan of the papri chaat, stuffed naans, yellow dal (the black dal is good too, but the yellow is exceptionally tasty) and aachari curries.