Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 47: Taj Chaat House
Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.
The best way to attack Taj Chaat House is with as little restraint as possible. Bring friends, so excess food does not go to waste, and then order with reckless abandon. Check out the pictures on the menu board to determine what looks good (it all is) and then approach the counter where a pile of pencils and papers slips wait to conjure your meal.
The spinach dosa is a must-order. The cooks pour out a thin crepe-like batter and ladle curried spinach on top. The spinach dries out a touch, adhering to the crispy dosa in a holy matrimony of delicious flavor. Doctor up each bite with the condiment station at the front. Coconut chutney, peanut chutney, onions, chilies and pickles will help you make each bite unique.
My dining companion tore into the spinach dosa before I could get a shot.
Bhel puri should be ordered too. Picture Rice Krispies on culinary hallucinogenics -- a mix of tamarind, mint and cilantro that will light up your palate like the Fourth of July. And the samosas, filled with potatoes, peas and cumin seeds, served with more tamarind and mint chutney -- are you still hungry?
If you're having an episode of the meat guilts you should know that everything at Taj Chaat House is vegetarian. Grab a coconut water served right in the shell and wait for your order to be announced via blinking, buzzing pager. Life is good here, and the relaxed dining room is always filled with energy.
As you prepare to pay your bill, notice the container of sticky, foil packets next to the register. Each contains a bundle of sugar, spices and coconut moistened with rose syrup and bound in a betel leaf. Pop the whole thing in your mouth and chew like a cow working on yesterday's hay. It's intense. Your palate will not be bored.
Inside the life of paan