First Taste: Chauhan Ale & Masala House (+ a giveaway!)
Way back in the spring of 2013, I heard the news that a unique Indian concept was coming to town and I was ecstatic. Did you miss that post I wrote way back then? If so, you can click here to see for yourself just how ridiculously excited I was after speaking with celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan regarding her new venture. Many looonnnngggg months later, Chauhan Ale & Masala House is finally open for business and the wait was worth it!
Located across the street from 12th and Porter in the the old Cafe 123/Rooster’s space (for those of you that are old enough to remember either of those), the shotgun room has been completely transformed into a beautifully inviting space. When I first stepped inside the doors, I was struck by the warmth of it all. For lack of a better term, it was comfortable. Not fussy, not busy, not stark. It was just right. The vibrant Indian palette mixes perfectly with exposed brick and wood, giving off a vibe that is perfect for both a date night or group outing with friends.
I know, I know. You don’t come to me to hear about decor, you want to hear about the food!
Well, let me first say that I haven’t even come close to trying everything on the menu, but believe me, that’s definitely a goal of mine. Actually, with New Year’s right around the corner, let’s make it a resolution!
Some favorites on my recent visit were the Kale Pakora Chaat, Mussels Tikka Masala, Gol Guppa Shots (a traditional Indian street food made with semolina puffs, black garbanzo beans, potato and mint-cilantro water), and the Beet Cauliflower Croquette.
Pictured above, clockwise:
beet cauliflower croquette
cream of wheat crust, black eyed pea and collard green curry, beet chips
mussels tikka masala
tomato fenugreek sauce, artisan sourdough bread
kale pakora chaat
kale chips, spicy garbanzo, tamarind, mint, yogurt
I could seriously eat my weight in the kale pakora chaat. Seriously. For those of you that don’t know, pakora means fried snack. But hey, kale is a green and greens are healthy! Add that to my new year’s resolutions too — eat more kale pakora chaat. For my health, of course.
Oh gosh, I can’t forget to talk about the drinks! You know I love a good cocktail and this bar has them. Not just good, but really interesting, complex concoctions. Standouts for me were the Falling Star (vodka, muddled orange, coconut milk foam, orange blossom water, pink peppercorn and star anise) and the Rye Humor (rye, amaro, Licor 43, orange and old fashioned bitters and clove). So many more cocktails I still want to try, but I also have to make some time for their Indian spice-infused brews crafted by Maneet and Cool Springs Brewery. Cardamom Ale? Yep, I need to get on that.
Bhapa Dohi Pot de crème and Chai Tea Service at Chauhan Ale & Masala House
Now to the last part of our evening, the part where I was so very thankful that I was wearing stretchy leggings and not silly skinny jeans. Already stuffed beyond my stuffing point, I somehow needed to make room for dessert and chai!
And not just any chai. Specifically, Chai Tea Service. Oh my. I love, love, love this. (one small little glitch and word of warning — the mugs are metal, which means they get hot when the hot chai hits them. Which means you need to let them cool a bit or you’re going to scorch your lips. I may have almost done that, but all is forgiven because those mugs and that teapot are just so darn cute I can’t bear the thought of not getting them again!)
The delightful Bhapa Dohi Pot de crème, a steamed honey and vanilla yogurt with hibiscus jelly, candied ginger and nan khatai (cookies) has since been replaced on the menu by a more seasonal Spiced Maple Jaggery Pot de Crème, which I have no doubt is also fantastic. Maple and cardamom custard, jaggery crumble, seasonal compote, and nan khatai — yep, I’ll be ordering that. Another new year’s resolution? Visit Chauhan Ale & Masala House again stat.
123 12th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37203
Mon – Sun 5- 11 pm
The Winner is….
Now that I’ve shared my experience with you, who would like to go experience Chauhan Ale & Masala House for themselves– for free?!?
They have very generously offered up a 3-course customized Chef’s Tasting for 2, featuring Chauhan favorites and off-the-menu creations. In addition, Maneet is also going to throw in a personalized autographed copy of her book, Flavors of My World!
To enter, all you have to do is this:
1. Leave a comment telling me what Chauhan dish or drink you’re most excited about trying. You can take a peek at the menu if you want more ideas than what I’ve provided.
For up to 2 additional entries, you can do either or both of the following. Note: You must leave a separate comment for each optional entry.
2. Follow me on Twitter (@betheats) and tweet “Spice it up! @betheats is giving away Dinner for 2 at @eatatchauhan. Enter here: http://bit.ly/1CS85fa”, then leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
3. Sign up for the Chauhan Ale & Masala House newsletter and come back and tell me you did so (or just tell me you already have if that’s the case!)
Contest ends on Saturday, January 3rd at noon CST. Once the winner is chosen, I’ll make contact via email and post the name here on the blog. If they don’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll be forced to choose another, so be sure to check your email!