There are good Indian restaurants in Montclair and - there are those that are not. Chatni, the new Indian restaurant located at 381 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, should be counted among the very good Indian restaurants.
Chatni is the first restaurant venture by four partners who work in various, non-food related fields like medicine, accounting and finance.
Last week, I dined at Chatni with a friend, who - to put it mildly - has a tendency to be very critical. By the end of the meal, I, as well as my friend, were pleasantly impressed.
Chatni has an open kitchen, and guests are invited to watch the chefs. Chatni has a very light and airy feel; linen napkins, and very attentive service, lends a touch of refinement.
Our meal began with crisp Papads sprinkled with fenugreek, with house made chutneys.
We ordered a few appetizers, including Samosa ($4.95), the staple, triangular shaped turnovers stuffed with spiced potatoes, green peas, and raisins, that was served with Paneer Pakora. We also tried the Chatni special sampler ($9.95) that offered a mix of chicken, lamb and salmon with raita sauce.
I couldn't resist the lure of Chicken Tikka Masala ($13.95). One of my favorite dishes when done properly, Chicken Tikka Masala is my litmus test for Indian restaurants. This was a bit different than other Tikka Masala's I've come to know and love, in that the sauce, while still rich and creamy, had a more dominant tomato presence, which made it pop with a brightness I enjoyed.
The Lamb Chop tandoor ($19.95) was served sizzling on a platter with savory, aromatic peppers and onions. The lamb was soft and tender, with a clean bite.
Chatni also has a very large vegetarian menu.
With what is undoubtedly the best Indian food on Bloomfield Avenue, Chatni will not disappoint. Chatni offers free wi-fi and can be found on-line at Chatni Online. I'm looking forward to Spring when the team at Chatni opens the patio.