For those intimidated by Indian food, Chutneys Bistro in Wallingford is a safe haven.
Its Northern Indian fare is tempered with buttery sauces and mango curries that have all the flavor but none of the heat.
You’ll find some kid-friendly dishes with an adventurous twist: chili chicken wings with a cucumber-yogurt dip and pakoras (fritters) served with chutney. Like most Indian restaurants, there are many vegetarian options, but Chutneys Bistro goes one step further, offering organic meats, vegan-adaptable staples and gluten-free beer.
If you like to order in quantity, go for the all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on weekdays ($8.95, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) or the weekend brunch buffet ($10.95, same hours).
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The menu: Curries range from tikka masala (a decadent buttercream sauce), spinach (with cumin and tomatoes), vindaloo (onion and vinegar sauce) and coconut milk, served with your choice of chicken, lamb, shrimp or salmon ($13.95-14.95). Lamb features prominently on the menu, such as the tandoori lamb chops ($17.95), marinated overnight and roasted in a tandoor oven. Vegetarian options include paneer ($11.95), cubed farmer’s cheese served in a sauce of your choice, and flame-roasted eggplant bharta ($11.95).
What to write home about: The curried Penn Cove mussels ($8.95) are steeped in a garlicky, white-wine sauce that shimmies its way into each shell. Add the garlic naan to sop up the fragrant broth.
What to skip: If you’re looking for no-holds-barred spice levels, head elsewhere.
The setting: There’s casual outdoors seating on the patio, while the interior’s more ornate décor and imposing bar give off an air of formality.
Summing up: Tandoori lamb chops ($17.95), chicken jalfrezi ($16.95) and garlic naan ($2.95) came to $37.85 before tax and tip, and fed two.
Katrina Barlow: 206-464-3251 or firstname.lastname@example.org