There’s something about fusion done well that really gets me excited. Throw some Korean BBQ into tacos and I’m sold. Try to make Mexican food Kosher, not so much (don’t underestimate the need for cheese!). But I had never thought of Indian food as something to fuse until I found California Chutney in Old Town Pasadena. This place is all about fusing Indian food with American (and by American I also mean Mexican because, hey, North America).
Instead of a salsa bar, there’s a chutney bar. There’s a tandoori oven and they make naan right in front of you. That naan can be used for tacos and they make roti into burritos, but I was more interested in a couple other options. Thus, I ordered the Chicken Tikka Masala Fries and Tandoori Chicken Wings.
The fries were pretty impressive, being topped with roasted chili sour cream and goat cheese in addition to the chicken. There were also some chives for good measure. Regardless, the chicken took front and center in this dish, dominating with some powerful flavor and spice. The fries themselves were solid, holding up well under the weight of the toppings while staying at a good consistency. I tried a few different chutneys with the fries, but they weren’t necessary.
They did come into play, however, with the Tandoor Chicken Wings. They came out sizzling like fajitas and were weirdly served on a bed of onions. I guess these added some flavor, but they were unnecessary because these wings were already packed with delicious flavor. They also had a nice kick, and thus the Mango Ginger chutney became my friend. This chutney added some sweetness to the wings without distracting from the tandoori taste.
While I may not have gone for the tacos or burritos, I was incredibly happy with the fries and wings. This was fusion done right, and I hope California Chutney is here to stay.