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Beat the blues with American-Mexican cuisine

Beat the blues with American-Mexican cuisine
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Weekend means fun in any city. Kolkata, the city of joy oozes a unique charm every Saturday and Sunday. However, the Mondays' are full of inertia of rest and the urban monotony. No more!

The leading American-Mexican food joint in the city is offering a 'Monday Special Menu' to ensure that your week starts on a happy note. You get a 'Buy 1 Get 1' on a specially curated, yet limited Monday menu.

Many times, after a busy Monday, my husband and I just drop by here for a mushroom soup. All within Rs 100, we are able to taste divine light appetizer before heading home for dinner. I am talking about none other than 'Chili's'.

'Chili's Grill & Bar' located at Quest Mall, Kolkata (they have branches at South City Mall and Acropolis Mall) is an American casual dining restaurant chain. The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and has since spread to 1600 restaurants in 35 countries. The place serves American food and dishes influenced by Mexican cuisine.

THE ORDER

Mushroom soup (Rs 95), Smoked wings (Rs 395), Nacho veg (Rs 385), Ancho basa (Rs 465), Grilled chicken burger (Rs 445). As I dined on a Monday, I got a Buy 1 Get 1 offer so technically I paid for just Smoked wings (Nachos was free), Ancho basa (grilled chicken burger was free) and I got 1 extra mushroom soup which my photographer happily gulped.

FIRST IMPRESSION

The place is a snazzy, typical US-style diner. The portions are big and service is a little slow.

AFTER TASTE

The veg mushroom soup was North America inspired thick concoction of roux, cream and mushroom broth with sliced mushrooms served with a slice of roasted garlic bread dripping in butter. The soup was just out of this world.

For starters, I had a veg and non-veg dish. The American style smoked wings were bone-in wings that had been slowly smoked in-house over pecan wood and garnished with cilantro. It was served with in house classic BBQ sauce and carrot wedges.

The Mexican veg nachos consisted of fried corn tortilla chips covered with a thick layer of melted cheese and sliced jalapeno peppers and was finished with a dusting of spicy mix. It was served with house-made pico de gallo and sour cream. Pico de Gallo is a type of salsa consisting of a mixture of finely chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, fresh chillies and lime juice. While traditional salsa has a thinner consistency with more liquid, pico de gallo is chunky.

In the Mexican main course, I tried the Ancho Basa. Ancho is a large aromatic chilli pepper which is used in its dried form in Mexican dishes which lends a unique smoky flavour. The dish consisted of ancho rubbed basa fillet which had been seared and then drizzled with citrus chilli sauce and garnished with chopped cilantro. It was served with spicy Mexican rice, sauteed vegetables (carrot, French beans, baby corn and mushrooms), a wedge of lemon and Mexican sour cream. The Mexican rice had a distinct red colour from the tomatoes. It is prepared by sautéing cooked white rice with tomato paste, onion, garlic etc.

For the American main course, I had the grilled chicken burger. The burger contained marinated grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and honey mustard dressing. It also had smoked bacon, but I do not prefer bacon and so asked for the burger without bacon while ordering. It was served with piping hot perfectly seasoned french fries and Heinz tomato sauce and American Garden US mustard on the side. I was impressed to see that the chain is only using American brand sauces to go along with the American spread. The burger was simple but phenomenal. The juicy thick chicken breast along with the dressings was very tasty.

WHAT I LOVED

The place gives you authentic American experience: US-style cutlery, music, even sauces and big portions that are common in North American cuisine. Soup, nachos and smoked wings stole the show!

VERDICT

Whenever you are facing Monday blues, head to Chili's and order from their Monday special menu to make your stomach and pocket very happy, the American Style!

(The columnist is a food connoisseur who loves experimenting with culinary delights and a career bureaucrat in the IRS Income Tax)

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