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Chutney’s ~ West Los Angeles

11:32 AM PDT on July 12, 2006


Chutney’s ~ 2406 Barrington Ave. @ Pico Blvd. ~ West LA

Having dated a few more than my share of Desi girls, I’ve become an expert when it comes to eating Indian. Never has the experience of slipping my mouth around some subcontinental treasure been as regrettable as it was at Chutney’s. Presenting itself like it's the Baja Fresh of Indian food, this one-off with not-so-subtle dreams of becoming a chain can't even be called the Del Taco of Indian food.

I’ve learned in my years of devouring tiny curry treats to be wary of Indian spots that rely heavily on meat offerings, as a nation generously populated by vegetarians naturally churns out better veggie dishes. Chutney’s menu is rife with ahimsa-violating lamb, chicken and beef plates, the first sign of disaster upon approach. Still, my mind stayed open until it felt my tastebuds react to the saag paneer (typically a favorite) for $3.75; Watery collardgreens came in a styrofoam bowl, with a few sour chunks of cheese floated on top. It was inedible.

The burrito-size masala dosa for $4 was decent enough, giving me as much of a sensation of Indian food as a seven-layer burrito does of Mexican food. The dosa might be worth hitting for a cheap bite. As a bread and spread Californian, I didn’t believe in a meal a Central American couldn’t cook better than a country's natives, until I met the chefs at Chutney’s. Not their fault, where’s mama-ji's secret recipes when we need them?

Maybe we’ll come back and try the meat to further explore what strange force in Krishna’s universe keeps them open. Until then, Chutney’s, from the painfully digestible name to the barely digestible food, gets the finger!

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