Food For Thought — May 6, 2015 at 11:15 am

Move Over Chipotle: Chutney’s the New “CH” Word for Lunch

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Tired of having to ask for extra guac? Ask for extra chutney instead and save your extra dollar(s).

If you like the Chipotle model of fast food that doesn’t feel like fast food, and you have a hankering for Indian, you’ll want to try Chutney Kitchen (8th Ave. Between 51st and 52nd).

The casual Indian restaurant opened up earlier this year in Hell’s Kitchen and brings with it the familiar line-up-and-pick-your-toppings style of quick and delicious lunchtime food.

Instead of burritos, tacos and burrito bowls, here it’s roti wraps, naan tacos and basmati rice bowls—with some bold Indian flavors to match.

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The best news? There are no gut-bombs here. “Many people think of Indian food as heavy and laden with ghee,” owner and chef Silu Sao explained. “While they enjoy it, they don’t see it as a style of cuisine you can eat everyday. Using recipes that have been handed down through our families, we are showing people that Indian food can be light, healthy and full of flavor.”

Like Chipotle, customers can build their own entree, or, if you get that menu-decision-panic like I do, go with a selection from the long list of Kitchen Specials, all under $10.

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On a recent visit, we opted for the Board Meeting, a roti wrap with charbroiled chicken, rice, tikka sauce, chickpeas and chutney. Then we munched on the even-better Philadelphia: naan tacos, shredded steak, paneer and toppings (paneer with meat! Sacrilege but amazing.) Masala Fries, covered in spices and served with an Indian-style barbecue dip, made for a nice side. All was washed down with an Iced Street Chai—subtle, not too sweet—and Iced Madras Joe, a refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous iced latte.

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The restaurant has plans for additional locations throughout Manhattan, and so they should. This feels like a fun, fresh and bold alternative to your usual lunchtime go-to spot. Guac is so 2014.

Twisted Talk: Have you tried Chutney Kitchen? What’s your go-to lunchtime spot? Discuss below!

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