Don’t take the title too literally, Chaat Patti has decent food, but you must beware of the spice. Chaat Patti is a vegetarian Indian restaurant tucked in the Patel Plaza in Decatur, Georgia that opened 24 years ago. The restaurant has very vibrant colors, with bright orange decorations hanging from the ceiling, multicolored stripes all around, and neon flashing lights draped on the walls. The atmosphere is very friendly, even though it seems like the restaurant is mostly filled with people of Indian ethnicity, the staff welcomes you right when you walk in. We immediately noticed the paper towels and plastic utensils at each table, denoting the lower quality of the restaurant which gave it a slightly tacky vibe.
I have not eaten a lot of Indian food in my life, and neither had my partner in this task Kaitlyn, so having the pictures on the wall behind the counter was very helpful, as well our server was very kind in helping explain the different kinds of snacks that we could try. We ordered the Mixed Appetizers platter and the Mixed Veggie platter.
The veggies came first as pictured above, a divided tray with chickpeas (red sauce), eggplant (green sauce) and roti to dip in. Personally, I’m not a fan of chickpeas and eggplant so I mainly tested the sauces and their flavors rather than the vegetables which I was not a fan of. The chickpea sauce was delicious with an herbal flavor and a tinge of spice, dipping the roti in it was a perfect combination. The eggplant sauce was sweeter and thicker, almost powdery and good, but not as good as the chickpeas. The presentation was nice and kept the foods from mixing when you didn’t want them to.
Next we ordered the mixed appetizer platter figuring it would be a good way to try lots of things and our server assured us nothing was too spicy in it. We started with the potato samosa was delectable, the outside had a nice crunch and the inside was just spicy enough to taste and warm. Next was the Mirch Chaat which was a deep fried green pepper covered in chickpea flower, which made Kaitlyn turn a hellish shade of red. After seeing her almost in tears at the spiciness, I decided to skip this one and go for the Daal Vada. This had very little flavor, consisting of fried spices, herbs and dough rolled in chickpea flour, with a very spongey texture. I tried dipping this into the green chickpea sauce which made a great crossover dish! Next up was the Khaman Dhokla, chick pea flour cakes. These were very buttery and had a strange texture and smell. After that was the Potato Vada, I found this to be very spicy as I bit into a pepper flake. This dish was fried potato, but missed the crunch of a good fried dish! Then we had the Methi Gota, made from besan chickpea flour and benugreek leaves. I started off by calling this my favorite, but as I took more bites, the spice crept up on me. I enjoyed the initial flavor and texture, but soon described my tongue as having “third-degree burns.” I nearly cried as I drank all of my water in one swift motion and ate a piece of roti plain to try to cover it. The pain in my tongue did not recede until we arrived back on Emory’s campus unfortunately. While I was traumatized, Kaitlyn kept moving so I caught up to her with the Kabudana Kichadi, what seemed like chewy gummy balls, with a slightly herbal flavor. I asked the server what they were and did not recognize any of the ingredient’s names. Last was the Patra, a curled green colocasia leaf which we both detested very much, whose flavor reminded me of burnt rotting vegetables.
Overall, when I liked the food it was great, but 3/8 of our appetizers were extremely spicy and I only enjoyed 2-3 of them. Give me a chicken tikka masala any day and I’ll be a happy girl, but the combination of vegetarian and Indian cuisines is not something I plan to ever revisit.