Irvington has become quite the restaruant hot bed. In the past six months, we’ve seen Red Hat on the River and Mima open and One get a new highly-regarded chef. The lastest entry? Chutney Masala, which opened yesterday in the former Flirt Sushi space across from the train tracks in the parking lot on the river. The owners are calling it an Indian bistro because they are serving traditional Indian dishes in a modern setting. There’s another twist: in a turn of phrase usually reserved for New American restaurants, chef-0wner Navjot Arora says he’s planning to use local produce, free-range, hormone-free meats and “fresh, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavorings or additives.”
There are 90 seats: some downstairs, as you see in the photo above. There is also a bar with antique tiles:
The restaurant’s decor is by Tarik Currimbhoy, who used antique mirrors, green banquets and photos and lithographs of the British Raj era to create a modern atmosphere that doesn’t let you forget your dining in in an Indian restaurant. The upstairs:
The restaurant is also co-owned by Sushil Malhotra, who owned Dawat in Manhattan and was the president of Cafe Spice restaurant group. Arora, the chef-owner, went to culinary school in India and worked for the Taj hotel group. He grew up cooking with his parents and always made the mint chutney. (Chutney is the English version of the Hindi workd chatni and it means condiment or relish. The restaurant’s other name, masala, means a spice and herb blend.)
Looking out at the river from the upstairs window:
The menu is not huge like at some Indian restaurants. It includes some familmar dishes, like vindaloo, tandoori dishes and curries, but diners who have not been adventurous before will find some interesting new choices: Goan clams with coconut, amritsari macchi (flour-dusted tilapia with crushed garlic, carom seeds [which smell like thyme], cilantro and pomegranate chutney) and gilafi purda kebab, which is skewered ground lamb with cumin and ginger baked in flaky bread in a tandoor.
Prices range from about $14 to $24. There will be a 3-course Mother’s Day brunch for $39. Right now, the restaurant does not have a liquor license. They will provdie wine for free or you can take your own.
Here’s Navjot Arora: