Hi all. Susan Dorien here, guest blogging my dining experience at Chutney Masala in Irvington. Getting to the restaurant was a snap as the Metro North station is directly across the street. There is adequate parking if one chooses to drive. The brick warehouse buildings surrounding Chutney are history of the waterfront trade routes of the 19th century. The interior of Chutney is warm and inviting. There are two dining levels with a small bar on the lower level. The friendly hostess greeted us enthusiastically and escorted our party upstairs.
The wine list is small but had a large enough selection to accompany our dishes. Two of our diners ordered specialty cocktails – a Chutney Mary; silver tequila, tamarind, triple sec, sour mix and the other was a Pomtini with pomegranate juice and vodka. Both were refreshing and delicious. For starters we ordered a variety off the HVRW and regular menus. Eggplant fritters were crisp outside with slices of moist eggplant inside topped with a sweet tamarind glaze. Potato samosas were crisp outside tender inside and filled with potatoes, peas and ginger stuffing. The Hara bhara kebab (pan fried patties of baby spinach, toasted lentils, homemade cheese) were delicate, fluffy and just spicy enough. The chili chicken; an indo-chinese spicy chicken in ginger soy sauce was not your typical ‘chili’ at all; no sauce more like a tandoori. It was a plate full of spice and flavor.
Dinner entrees were a mix from the HVRW and regular menus also. Chicken tikka masala was bathed in a fenugreek scented tomato cream sauce. Every last bit of sauce was sopped up with the Paneer kulcha (homemade cheese breed) and peshawari nan (flat bread with sweet, nuts and coconut). The Meen Moille was a bowl of succulent pieces of tilapia with ginger, green chilies and coconut sauce. More scooping pleasure so not to miss a single bite of the creamy coconut sauce. The lamb vindaloo was typical and one of the least favorites at the table. Our friend was hoping for the ‘very spicy lamb curry’ but was underwhelmed with the heat. Plating is obviously not a strong suit of the chef because each dish had it’s entree and not a thing more. For example, one diner at our table ordered the Hyderabadi Dum Biryanis (basmati rice slow cooked in a special copper vessel with choice of protein, served with raita – cucumber yogurt). The plate was a pile of cooked rice and shrimp with a side dish of raita. Certainly not appealing to the eye but after one mouthful it didn’t matter. The dish was spicy, bursting with flavor, and the shrimps were tender and delicious.
Desserts could easily have been skipped. The rice pudding was almost flavorless but the consistency was good. The warm carrot pudding was flavored with a dot of cinnamon and nothing else; easily forgotten.
Our whole dining experience was very enjoyable. The comfort of the dining room, the friendly and knowledgeable staff, the sharing of plates and good food, and the expectation for each new dish made for a lovely evening. We look forward to returning to Chutney Masala even after HVRW.