Monday, April 26, 2010

Solid: Chutney Joe's

We've walked by Chutney Joe's (511 S. State Street) a thousand times, but for some reason haven't stopped in yet. Yesterday we received a review from a friend of the blog:
I went to Chutney Joe’s over the weekend. I love Indian food so I was anxious to try it out. The menu is fairly limited and is essentially fast Indian food, but don’t let that stop you. This is not the Panda Express version of Indian food. There are 4 meat entrée selections and 4 entrée selections for the herbivores among us. Entrees come with a side of Basmati rice or Naan bread.

Additionally, there are a handful of sides such as Samosas and Tandoori Chicken Bites.The food was very good and flavorful, although different than your standard Americanized Indian restaurant. The Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, was not in a cream based sauce. Personally, I prefer the food I find on Devon Street, but if you’re looking for a quick Indian bite in the neighborhood for <$8 Chutney Joe’s is a pretty solid option.
(Hat Tip: D Beezy!)
(Image from MetroMix - Barry Brecheisen)


  1. Do they ever have Groupons?

  2. Can anyone who's been here compare it to the Chicago Curry House on S. Plymouth (which I think is pretty damn good)? Just looking for some more opinions.

  3. I haven't been to Chicago Curry House yet, but my guess is this isn't that similiar. I think I remember reading on Yelp a lot of people referring to this as the Chipotle of Indian food, and I'd agree. I've only been once, and it was alright, but just the atmosphere of selecting what you want buffet style, and receiving it on a tray, puts it in a whole different ballpark in my mind. I'd have to say quality isn't as high as true Indian restaurants in the city either, but it's cheaper, and it's fast, so not a bad option to have in the area. I wouldn't hesitate to go back, but I also wouldn't go out of my way to go there.

  4. I've cashed in several loyalty cards since Chutney Joe's opened. While their menu was a little confusing at first, they've since perfected it and rotate specials in to keep things fresh. The owner is very friendly and has explained to us that they are trying to keep their food as authentic as possible.

    It certainly is the Chipotle of Indian food, and that is a good thing in my book, especially for a place that caters to the lunchtime and student crowds. I definitely recommend it as an addition to anyone's lunchtime rotation or to anyone looking to try Indian food for the first time.

  5. Its the worst Indian food I've ever had, far worse than reheat it yourself supermarket fare. The reviewer needs to get their taste buds checked, pronto. Chicago Curry house is better (6/10 vs the 2/10 at CJs).

  6. As Anon@2010-04-16-04-16PM said, Chicago Curry House and Chutney Joe's are very different restaurants both in cuisine and pricing, so comparisons are not really appropriate. A more reasonable comparison would be Chicago Curry House to, say, India Grill on Wabash. I can't think of an equivalent for Chutney Joe's, even on Devon St.

    Chicago Curry House has some Nepali dishes which are worth trying; the momos come to mind.

  7. I absolutely love Chutney Joe's! I too have cashed in my share of loyalty cards.

    I've eaten Indian food for some time, and it tends to be a more costly fare. Therefore, a cheaper, yet still delicious version, is always welcome.

    @Rich: I couldn't disagree more, sir. Granted, I often profess having a neanderthal palate, but even my wife, who tends to be much more dainty or pickier eater than I, loves Joe's.

    Chicago Curry House is a completely different beast. Comparing it to Joe's is unfair because the disparate cost of the meals allow yuppie-havens such as Curry House to provide higher quality food (though I find this to be an exception with Curry House -- I feel their food tastes more buffet-style than Joe's).

    Additionally, I tend to hear far more Hindi spoken whilst standing in line at Chutney Joe's than I do waiting for my food at the Curry House -- a sign of at least moderately authentic fare.

    I contend, Mr. Hughes, that you would be best served by offering Chutney Joe's another shot, or at least investigating the effectiveness of your own taste buds.

  8. as someone who has been eating Indian food all her life - I love Chutney Joe's - comparing it to a sit down dinner at an Indian restaurant would be like comparing Chipotle to Frontera Grill.

    Chef Vijay is a to be congratulated for bringing quality ingredients for people who are on the go but want to get their curry fix - I also love that they deliver.

    last but not least, check out the coverage (link below) it is getting nationally - however Chicago is the only city that has one.

  9. Hi Brad. I ate their twice, hoping the first time was a misfire or a function of them still being new, but it was terrible twice. I don't know if it's authentic, I doubt it - we generally get a westernized version of ethnic food tailored to our palates, the question should be if its good or not. I recon I've eaten at maybe 200 different Indian restaurants in my lifetime, and this is the worst. I appreciate it may be a 'new twist', but I'd encourage anyone who thinks it is good by any definition other than quick and convenient to try more Indian restaurants and hopefully discover the delight that is good Indian food.

  10. A fair retort, Rich. I respect your opinion, but still hope it may someday change.

  11. One interesting thing about Chutney Joe's is that very few of their sauces, if any, seem to have any dairy in them. I love a good thick creamy curry, but Chutney Joe's is a lot lighter and easier on the stomach than your typical Indian joint.

  12. I really like Chutney Joe's. It's obviously doesn't have the extensive menu of more traditional Indian restaurants, but I like what they have. I especially appreciate that the samosas are baked and not fried, and that they offer whole-wheat naan. And I have a friend who's married to an Indian, and she LOVES the food.

  13. Good review.. fast, cheap, tastes decent, I tried them for the first time last week and will be back.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.