Chutney Kitchen Brings Roti Wraps and Naan Tacos to Hell’s Kitchen

A reader recently sent in a tip about a newly opened “Indian-accented Chipotle” that opened roughly 3 weeks ago on 8th Avenue, just north of 51st Street. When I went to check it out, I noted with some amusement that it is actually directly next to an actual Chipotle and wondered if this was intentional – those lines get pretty long, right? (I’ve never actually really eaten at Chipotle.)

As I understand it, the similarity between the two lies in the set up of the menu: you choose your base (roti for a roti-rrito type burrito; two naan tacos; basmati rice for a rice bowl; salad greens; or chaat for a potato and chickpea based bowl), then your protein (pork, chicken, steak, or three vegetarian options: spiced potatoes, paneer, or dal/lentils), your sauce and a couple of toppings.

You can opt to go the fully customizable route, or pick from a selection of their kitchen specials. The prices range from $7.95 (for vegetarian) to $9.95 (steak), with chicken and pork landing square in the middle at $8.95 (which comes to $9.75 with tax).

As it’s still fairly new, while there were people in the store it wasn’t crazy busy. My dining companion and I had slightly different experiences with the ordering process – I think we had different people helping us. Though we both chose specials, which list out exactly what you get, the person who helped him asked him what toppings he wanted, so he chose from that and I think added things (no extra cost). The only question the woman helping me asked was if I wanted more sauce (yes), but she didn’t ask me if I wanted to change any of my toppings. Then again, my friend ordered a roti-rrito (the Moonstruck), while I ordered a rice bowl (the Copper Bowl). They’re still very new, so the woman helping me kept referring to the menu in front of her to make sure she was doing it right.

My friend, who is 7″ taller than I am and has quite a larger appetite, was happy with his pulled pork/vindaloo/veggies/rice burrito. I declined to try it (I’ve also never had a burrito; yes, I am weird), but he said initially that the heat wasn’t particularly strong… then later amended it to say that it built upon itself and was pretty spicy by the end. Not uncomfortably so, but vindaloo is listed as their “spicy” option, so keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to heat. I didn’t think the roti-rrito looked particularly large, but he said the size was fine and would keep him full until his next meal. The roti wasn’t the star of his roti-rrito, and he said that was perfectly fine… and that he’d likely eat his way through most of the menu to get a feel for what he’d like best. So yes, he would return for more.

I think, in terms of size and fullness, I chose better (which means it was a little too much food for me). I ordered the Copper Bowl – basmati rice topped with charbroiled chicken, tikka, “chickpeas & kale” and raita. The woman helping me even commented on how heavy the bowl was! Funny enough, while scooping rice into my bowl, she was poking at the rice and pulled her coworker aside to ask if the rice was supposed to look like this; it was a little clumpy and perhaps reheated from a previous day? It wasn’t quite as light and fluffy as I’m used to basmati being, but as I understand what it’s like to open a restaurant and try to cut back on wasted food costs, I wasn’t offended by it (also, once covered in sauce and mixed with everything, it lost some of its weird clumpiness). Do note that while the chicken – which was flavorful and moist, despite appearing to be mostly white meat – is layered on top, then covered in sauce, the chickpeas and kale is put to the side, along with a diced cucumber/tomato “relish” of sorts. She asked me if she should put the raita directly on top, since it’s cold and the chicken was hot, but that didn’t bother me so I told her to please go ahead.

I really enjoyed my bowl – it was very filling, and as I mentioned, the chicken was very tender. It didn’t exactly take on the tikka flavor, since they’re cooked separately, but I found the tikka flavor was still present (and not nearly as spicy as the menu suggests – that is, it wasn’t spicy at all). Everything worked nicely together and I was very happy with my food.

While I was there, the owner was actually manning the register so I chatted with her briefly. She said that this has been 2 years in the making, and that she used to work in finance so this was completely different from what she’s used to (though, let’s face it, opening a restaurant is a lot about numbers, too). Three weeks open, and I wished that the place was just a little busier for her sake – though I imagine business will pick up. The concept and food is solid, and once people find out it exists, I anticipate bigger crowds. Personally, though it’s a 10 minute walk from my office, I intend on revisiting – to try more and because I thoroughly enjoyed my food. There are also a couple of tables around for you to sit and eat, and stools along the window so you can people watch (or take photos lit with natural light).

A few points to note: I was surprised to see pork and steak as options, but no lamb or goat. I decided this is because lamb and goat lend themselves wonderfully to stewing (especially goat), and the way this mix and match concept works best is to have the sauces and meats cooked separately. Be aware that this is not traditional Indian food! Delicious regardless. The rice issue was not one that bothered me – again, I anticipate this will fix itself as time goes on – but some people may find that a bit off-putting.

My total was $9.75 and I was overstuffed by the end. My dining companion’s meal was also $9.75, and if you decide not to have meat that day, even cheaper. The only option that goes over $10 after tax is the steak. Choose wisely to stay under the $10 limit.

Welcome to midtown, Chutney Kitchen! Wishing you much success — I want to eat my way through your entire menu!

THE + (what people who like this will say)

  • I love Chipotle + I love Indian food = OMFG I DIED AM IN HEAVEN
  • I love mixing and matching, and being able to customize my entire lunch
  • I have dreamed about roti-rritos my entire life

THE – (what people who don’t like this place will say)

  • I like my Indian food way more traditional than this
  • I want my meats cooked in their respective sauces so they taste like it
  • I don’t believe in supporting small businesses nor encouraging more to open

Chutney Kitchen
856 8th Avenue (between 51st and 52nd)


  • I love Chutney Kitchen. My favorite is the Chaat Bowl. The Vindaloo by itself isn’t overly hot, but there is a cold chutney you can add that has some intense heat.

  • Two days into March .. two days of nice content … the ML spring awakening?

    Fred, you’re on

  • Two blocks from work, reasonably priced, reasonably Indian? I’ll be there a lot. Naan tacos sound like a really, really good idea.


    The “Yeehaw! Yvo is back!” edition

  • I tried it over the weekend (I was headed to the “c-word” restaurant and noticed this place right next door). I was very happy with my food and it’ll definitely replace my Chipotle routine.

    I agree with the weird lack of goat/lamb and presence of beef/pork

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I can’t believe you’ve never had a burrito. Next time you’re in the SF Bay Are definitely try one.

    • At this point in my life, it’s unlikely I’ll ever have one. I spent a lot of time in the Mission District (I would go so far as to say I lived there a month or so in 2012-2013). It’s not going to happen… but thanks :)

      • User has not uploaded an avatar

        It seems like you’re quite happy to avoid burritos. Just curious, is the idea of it unappealing to you? I know some people don’t like the idea of rice and a tortilla in the same thing.

      • I find it hilarious now and I know it bothers people (I’ve had people make it their mission to feed me a burrito) — this is what I wrote on Facebook to ambitiousdelicious who asked: “…I don’t like mixing carbs (rice, beans, wrap…) and I have a pretty physically small mouth so when I was younger, it never interested me to try to eat a burrito without getting it all over myself. Now it just seems like there’s no point in trying!”

      • I never get burritos either- this only confirms our solemateness!

        For me it is because I feel like the meat gets lost in the beans and rice.

      • Give me a sista, I can’t resist her
        If red beans and rice didn’t miss her
        Meat lost in your burrito

  • Better brush up on your kegels

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