Chola Is Making Some Amazing Chaat

Chola Chaat

For those who love the Indian street snacks known as chaat, the heart of Midtown is quite the wonderland.  But that’s little consolation for those who work in the NE corner of Midtown, where a little chaat might require a 15-20 minute walk (at least!)  Well, problem solved!  Lunch’er Chandrika (who translated the Taj Delhi Chaat menu for us last year) has tipped us off to the amazing chaat at Chola on 57th 58th btw. 2+3rd.  It’s slightly out of bounds, but completely worth it for those chaat starved lunchers in that area of our fine territory.

Chola Chaat

The restaurant is a hip, slightly upscale Indian option with an all you can eat lunch buffet that is a few bucks too expensive for this guy ($13.95, $14.95 on Fridays).  But just to the left, when you first walk in the door, is a chaat counter where they will gladly whip up some crunchy Indian goodness for you to take away.

Chola Chaat

I went with the bhel puri (puffed rice, chickpeas, potatoes, two chutnies for $6), which is kind of the industry standard of chaat- but they also offer pani pori ($7), batata sev pori ($7), and ragara ($8).  If you order it to go, they put the chutnies and yogurt on the side, so that it doesn’t get soggy on the walk to wherever you are going.  Chaat is a street food, and knowing I was just going to pop it open as soon as I stepped onto the sidewalk I asked them to mix mine up for me.  They were pretty hesitant, but I convinced them that I was going to eat it right away (which might have made them concerned I was going to just stand at the front of the restaurant.)

Bhel puri is a pretty simple dish, but this version was pretty awesome.  Sweet and tangy from the tamarind, spicy from the green sauce, crunchy from the rice crispie thingies… so good!  It’s meant to be eaten as a snack or appetizer, but if you’re not looking to completely stuff yourself i.e. ‘fat like me’) it’s a perfectly reasonable size to be considered a lunch.

They also have $9.95 lunch boxes to go which I’m sure are good as well. I didn’t notice until after that the ragara chaat (potatoes, chickpeas, yogurt, chaat masala, cumin, two chutnies) had a “must try” label next to it.  Might have to check that out next time… (though for $8 it better be amazing!)

Chola, 232 E. 58th Street (btw. 2+3rd), 212-688-4619


  • I had chaat at Dhaba, between 27 and 28th on Lex, a couple of weeks ago and they’re pretty good too.
    Dhaba is also owned by the same people who own Chola.

  • I think Chola is 58th b/t 2nd and 3rd

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    Chola owns my soul. The buffet may be out of ML price range, but it’s an amazing value because of the quality and variety. Their food rating on Zagat is the highest of all buffet restaurants and third highest of all Indian ones, *without* any consideration of price. The only buffet offering comparable value is Dhaba, which would actually be cheap enough to be a MidtownLunch if it weren’t way out of bounds.

    (And yes, it’s on 58th St. There’s a typo in the body of the post.)

  • Yeah sorry… I had the address right at the bottom of the post- but listed in wrong in the body. It’s fixed!

  • Sorry, ive worked and travelled all overindia,pakistan,sri lanka and enjoyed the food but…..that last pick looks like alien v’s predator has had a shit in a hat.

  • Rudy… I think you owe me a new monitor as I just spewed my cup of water all over it…

  • ….srrry yvo…actually…bit of garlic and coriander..

    Does look odd tho.

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    Oh dear. My experience was not good at all – worse because I work at 59th & Lex, and I would love a go-to spot for chaat.

    When I walked in the door at Chola and asked where the chaat bar was, the woman stared at me like I was from Mars and made me repeat “I’m looking for the chaat bar” parrot-like louder and louder while she replied “What?” in a rising tone of voice. Then she gave me a paper menu and ignored me.

    I felt very uncomfortable, but I could totally overlook that if they made great chaat. Which, at least in my case, they did not.

    I ordered batata sev pori, which I get all the time in Jackson Heights, and then paid my bill while the chaat guy assembled my order. Very slowly.

    When I got back to the office, I discovered that the chaat guy didn’t include any yogurt sauce or sev noodles, which are the whole point of batata sev pori. The assembly was minimalist and amateur, with about 1 tsp potato/chickpea mixture in each of eight naked poris.

    Chaat fail! So I paid $7.57 for eight pori shells filled with 1 tsp each potato/chickpea mixture. Even by girl standards, this was an insufficient lunch.

    I feel ripped off (should have gone to El Rey del Sabor!) and I miss Sukhadiya more than ever. Just not enough to walk 32 blocks on my lunch hour.

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