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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Taj Groceries & CHAAT House: interesting Indian fare and grocer in one store

Taj Grocers & Chaat House on UrbanspoonI have been near this place dozens and dozens of times, the past two years that it has been existence. However I have never seen it nor did I know even know of its existence. Why? Because normally I usually don't go down Metcalf Avenue all the way from 119th Street but instead usually go on Nall Avenue from 151st. That way I missed it as it is just North of Metcalf Avenue. There is no sign facing East from Metcalf and I sailed right by every time. However I saw a 2:1 coupon for this place. I thought this is a time to check it out after a meeting that I was to go, was cut short. I had to go West and then South then East to get into the parking lot. A bright looking place, it has a nice tiny cafe and adjacent is Indian grocer, literally in another room. I looked at the menu and was looked for an Indian nosh to take home. I did not want something beyond $3.99. I think my wife would like the Mixed Vegetable Pakoras (vegetable fritters which I love- $3.99) but it was not available. So I finally went for the Samosa Chatt ( chick peas, potatoes, served with a cilantro mint and tamarind sauce). After due deliberation because the menu had just 18 entrees from $3.99 ( 7 at this price which were the only ones I would target today as I was eating light) to $6.99 (shrimp, vegetable, fish, chicken), I made my two choices.
The Samosa Chatt was surprisingly very good. It was a melange of vegetables with a nice interesting taste with the bits of slightly soft samosa. I was surprised that all the flavors worked and melted together in this combination. The only thing was that it was surprisingly hot with either jalapeno or some other chilies within. Don't get me wrong. I like spicy and hot but the "heat" was a little too hot to work better with the mixture. Even a little of the tamarind cilantro sauce did not cool it off.
The Samosas were very good. The lemony like cilantro sauce with the exotic tamarind had a distinct little kick to it.
This place has a nice grocery store in the next room. Unusual Indian spices and prepared foods that you can made into recipes looked incredibly good . There are a good number of juices and shakes from $2.99 t0 $4.99. Some of them found interesting. I will definitely come back to purchase some of the food products to make some recipes (sometimes when all the ingredients are all in one bag it is less hassle and quicker), shakes and/or entrees like the chicken biryani (basmati rice with chicken and exotic spices and herbs.

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