Chai Shai is cozy and fully Wi-Fied land of spice and pakora. All the meats it serves are certified halal, and vegetarian options abound on its menu. Sample one of Chai Shai's famed homemade samosas, savory pastry pillows stuffed with ground beef, chicken, or vegetables and lightly fried to scrumptious perfection ($4.00), or go for a sandwich wrap wrapping chicken-boti, seekh-beef-kabob, or vegetarian-pakora and served with roti flat bread ($6.50). Hearty-meal hunters can set their sights on the dinner menu, which offers full entrees after 5 p.m. and features shahl chicken korma served with raitha and naan bread ($9.50). For a loose-leaf supper, sip masala chai with spiced milk and a mix of South Asian spices ($3.00).
"Swagat" originates from a Sanskrit word that means "welcome," and owner Gurdev Choong takes that hospitality to heart?especially at lunchtime. That's when Swagat's all-you-can-eat buffet beckons with multiple entrees, rice dishes, warm naan bread, samosas, and desserts of syrup-soaked gulab jamun. "This is not your average strip mall buffet joint," says Northland Lifestyle, praising even the hot cups of chai that conclude afternoon meals.
The culinary adventure doesn't conclude at the lunch break. Choong serves northern Indian cuisine during dinner hours as well, dishing up classics such as chicken tikka masala, mutter paneer with homemade cheese, and zesty curries. But "traditional" is never a synonym for "predictable." The shrimp tandoori, for example, marinates slow-broiled prawns in crisp mint for a surprising finish. For those wanting to emulate Swagat's cooking, a spice bazaar offers a safe, legal alternative to daring midnight raids on the nearest cumin silo.