Taking it to the streets

. April 29, 2013.
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What is Indian street food? My family sought to answer that question on our excursion to Curry Up, which opened last year on Plymouth Road and specializes in delicacies prepared in carts for the residents of India’s largest cities. It is owned by friends Rutual Patel, Swetang Patel and Hardik Patel, who hope to offer Ann Arbor  fast, flavorful and reasonably priced Indian  food.

The menu lists Indian finger foods, sandwiches, rice dishes, and crepe-like dosas—all foreign dishes to my family. We had no clue what to expect from a chaat lari or kati roll. Dishes like tikka masala and papad stumped us. (We now know they’re chicken chunks in spicy sauce and thin crispy crackers, respectively.)

Thankfully, the cashier was patient and knowledgeable. He steered us towards the cheese dosa — a large pancake made with rice batter and topped with cheese — for the kids. My husband and I chose Aloo Tiki as a quick snack, then an order of Butter Chicken and Rice and Pav Bhaji to share. The kids picked lime sodas from the cooler, while I ordered an Indian chai tea and my husband got a mango lassi, a sweet yogurt drink.

Ours were the only kids in Curry Up on that weeknight, but that was comfortable. The casual atmosphere, replete with furniture typical of counter-service establishments, eliminated the risk that my children would break anything. A steady stream of take-out customers flowed in and out. The cashier, explaining Curry Up’s dishes to other newbies, also entertained us.

The food was ready in 10 minutes. We found the trays of new-to-us food visually pleasing and colorful. My husband and I started with the Aloo Tiki, deep fried potato patties served with chutneys (dipping sauces). The crunch of the fried coating complimented the soft inside, while spicy curry and tangy cilantro chutneys added flavor.

The Pav Bhaji was like an Indian sloppy joe, with chopped vegetables in tomato gravy with grilled buttered buns. It tasted meaty to me—surprising since it only contained a mix of tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, and carrots.

The Butter Chicken and Rice was stellar, with big, tender chunks of chicken in zesty, yet sweet, butter and onion gravy, sopped up by the rice. “I’ll come back here just for this,” my husband said while enjoying his smooth mango lassi.

We ended up getting an order of samosas per the cashier’s recommendation. “They’re the best in Ann Arbor,” he claimed. The deep fried pastries with potato and peas were tasty, especially when dipped in onion and cilantro chutneys.

 Katy M. Clark is a freelance writer from Saline.

THE SHORT COURSE
Kid-friendly Yes
To avoid wait Call for take out or go before 7pm.
Noise level moderate
Bathroom amenities Changing table in unisex restroom
High chairs Yes
Got milk No. They offer lassi (a yogurt drink) and a variety of international canned beverages.
Kids’ menu No, but the cheese dosa was a hit with my kids.
Anything healthy for kids There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Chicken is the only meat served.
Food allergy concerns Gluten-free items are indicated as such on their in-store menu, but not online. Talk with them about other allergies and they’ll be happy to try and accommodate you.