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Desi Chaat House Restaurant Review: A Chat About Chaat

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Desi Chaat HouseRecently, I have become completely obsessed with Indian food, a type of cuisine I largely avoided for most of my life. But, due to the influx of new-ish restaurants like Tiffin (in Fishtown and Mt. Airy) and Ekta (Fishtown), and the vegetarian-leanings of my wife and most of my friends, food from the sub-continent has become a welcome addition to my diet.

What's more, I think I might have a new favorite local Indian spot. This is the Desi Chaat House, located on Baltimore Avenue just a block from Clark Park in the heart of West Philly. "Chaat" is a street food that’s wildly popular in both Pakistan and India. It’s so well-renowned, many high-end, five-star restaurants in those two nations now produce their own spin on the classic dish; similar to how Barclay Prime at one point made a $100 cheese steak with Kobe beef, foie gras, truffles and much more.

But the Desi Chaat House, thankfully, produces a completely unpretentious serving of chaat: a dish comprised of potatoes, various beans, chickpeas, a yogurt sauce, mint and various spices traditionally found in Indian food. The basic order of chaat is completely vegetarian-friendly; meat eaters can order one with chicken, if so desired. For people who like their food spicy, just ask the counter guy to lay it on; for those who don’t, just ask him to make it mild. There are also other menu items, including an Indian twist on fruit salad, also available. And popular Indian drinks such as the mango lassi are stockpiled in the refrigerator.

Most importantly, the Desi Chaat House is ridiculously cheap. Chaat with a samosa and a mango lassi cost less than $9. And they don’t skimp on the serving, either; I had my meal as a late lunch and didn’t need to eat again until well into the night.

The Desi Chaat House isn’t a sit-down restaurant; it’s a lot closer to Five Guys than it is to Le Bec Fin. There are a few seats by the window for those wish to dine-in and not much else. But the food will be perfect to eat while enjoying a nice day sitting on the hill at Clark Park.

The Desi Chaat House at the corner of 42nd Street and Baltimore Avenue in West Philly. To get there from Center City, take the Walnut Street Bridge towards UPenn’s campus. Make a left onto 42nd Street. Baltimore Avenue is five blocks south.


 

Address: 

501 S. 42nd Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Hours: 

Mon-Sun. 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.