Guru’s Rapid Review: Chaat House
City: Orlando, Fl
Chaat House has been an anchor desi restaurant in Orlando for many years. On their website, they state
“The idea behind Chaat House is to give the customer lots of unique dishes all under one roof. You can find it all…”.
Their menu reflects this mission and provides all sorts of eclectic options pulled from all cultures and cooking traditions ranging from South-Asian, Indo-Chinese fusion, Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean and American.
While their goal is ambitious, their execution falls a little short. While all the dishes are at a certain standard, there is no one dish that stands out above the rest, no one dish that is consistently well executed with perfection, no one dish that keeps you wanting more.
When you enter the restaurant, looking at the menu can be overwhelming. Although they have tried to organize the items into different categories, the sheer number of choices can make it a little difficult to figure out what to order. Thankfully, the walls are decorated with images of the many dishes served and so you can use your stomach and eyes to narrow down your choices.
On the menu, one popular category is the “Chaat House Specialties” which include such varied items Shawarma over Rice, T-bone Steak, Lolipop Chicken and Chicken 65. While enticing, these items taste as expected but don’t have the WOW factor that a “Speciality” item should carry.
Another popular category on the menu is the grill items. They use the tagline “The Thrill of the Grill” to entice you to explore those options. Items available from the grill include the traditional desi players like chicken Tikka, chicken or beef Boti, Seekh Kabab and Chaapli kabab. These items are cooked to order and brought of fresh from the grill, but the taste falls a bit short in the spice and marinate department. To be fair, they are good, but just don’t provide the thrill as promised.
Recently, they have expanded their menu to also include items from “Little China”. They are offering a full array of Indo-Chinese and American-Chinese items. Since their recent addition, it has created a renewed buzz in the restaurant amongst the locals. The items do offer that savory and salty experience that you expect from this category of food.
A nice feature is that Chaat House offers those items that are not traditionally offered, especially in the Orlando region. They have a nice array of Chaat specials and also a breakfast menu for traditionally Indian breakfast items.
The silver lining here on the menu is definitely the deserts. Chaat House is well known amongst the locals as the source for Indian sweets. They have a strong catering arm which provides for large events like weddings. In the shop, they have prepared Indian sweets to entice you to just try one in their display case. But once you get started, it’s hard to stop at just one.
The restaurant is located on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando near the intersection of the Florida Turnpike and I-528. It is located in a large plaza with the Apna Indian Grocery Store and several other halal restaurants. There is ample parking space. While the area is not considered one of the safest or touristy districts in Orlando, it is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. The restaurant is relatively clean but does show its age as they have been in the same location for almost a decade.
Service wise, their attention to customers is standard for an Indian restaurant. While smiles are hard to come by from the staff, the service is quick and efficient but can slow down considerably if the restaurant is very busy. It is often best to call ahead to gauge the crowd as it a popular destination for halal dining.
Overall, as Halal restaurants go, this ranks in at average. While their menu aims to be unique and diverse it does miss the mark on quality star dishes. Their main draw is the wide assortment which caters to all. They do have a strong customer base and a good reputation which keeps diners coming through the door. The pricing is also average and sharing a meal between two people can be a little difficult with their portion sizing. The restaurant has a large seating area and so large parties can be accommodated. They also have a patio area for those wanting to enjoy the Florida heat. The sweets and are a must try if in the area.