For years, whenever one of my friends would ask to eat Indian food, I would quickly decline and suggest a cuisine that I was more accustomed to. I refused to broaden my palette simply because of the negative views I had about the food. To me, Indian dishes had strong smells, did not look appealing, and were unlike anything I had ever tried before. Obviously, when I was faced with sampling some of Chat Patti’s menu, I was a bit apprehensive.
Upon my arrival to Patel Plaza in Decatur, I saw many different Indian shops, from a sari boutique to a large marketplace, Patel Brothers, to several restaurants in every direction. The parking lot of the plaza was gigantic and just about every spot was taken, so I immediately knew that this area was popular with the Indian community around Atlanta.
When I saw Chat Patti from the outside, it looked packed, with families and friends chatting and enjoying their meals. As soon as I entered, I noticed the energetic and exotic atmosphere that the restaurant possessed. The walls were covered in fluorescent lights, servers walked around to each table to ensure customers were satisfied, and the menu was displayed behind the counter, with detailed photos and names of every dish. Fortunately, the line moved quickly, and the man taking my order was helpful in recommending dishes that I would enjoy. He even input my order into an iPad, which displays the restaurant’s successful attempt at efficiency and maintaining modernity. Chat Patti actually reminded me of a pizza restaurant, due to the similarities of ordering at a counter and then choosing your own table. I could tell before I sat down that this was going to a unique, but somehow familiar experience.
My order consisted of two types of chaat, a street snack commonly enjoyed in India. First, I had samosa chaat and before trying it, I noticed that it was topped with three different sauces and smelled spicy. When I tasted it, I was completely surprised. It had a smooth texture to it, and was a combination of so many flavors I have had before. I would describe the flavor as spicy, but sweet, with a taste that resembled a burrito from Chipotle. The samosa chaat was packed with flavor and really impressed me.
The next dish that I had was sev puri, a finger-food topped with different sauces and mango seasoning. This dish was presented nicely, with a piece in the center and the rest in an octagonal border around it. When I bit into a piece, I realized that it tasted similarly to the samosa chaat. However, sev puri is crunchy so it does not have the same texture, and it has a bit more of a powerful sweet taste. I didn’t attempt to finish this snack, as I opted to have to rest of my samosa instead.
After my meal at Chat Patti, I can say that I am now a fan of Indian food. It gave me a good preview of what to expect from other dishes and left me wanting to try something else. Altogether, the two types of chaat cost less than $15, so this was also an affordable meal for a college student. I have to give Chat Patti 4 Swoops out of 5.