We have to admit we were a bit skeptical when we heard that Chutney’s Bistro, the Indian restaurant in Wallingford Center, was serving organic food. What did that mean, exactly? Some organic ingredients? All organic ingredients? Which ingredients?
So, we asked Harish Khurana, the owner.
Turns out they have a separate menu available, which features 100% organic ingredients for a select set of items, including Matar Paneer, Vegetable Jalfrezi and Chicken Tikka Masala.
It started almost by accident: his wife had made a big deal out of organic for a while, but he didn’t think it made economic sense. But one day he was shopping at Whole Foods (not a store known for its low prices) and asked whether there discounts available for restaurants. There were. He started making lists of what he could get from various suppliers and found that by putting together orders from PCC, Whole Foods, Charlie’s and even CostCo (which, apparently, has inexpensive organic chicken), he was able to construct a full menu of organic food. Even the wines on the menu are organic.
The prices are a bit higher, reflecting the higher costs of the ingredients (Chicken Jalfrezi that is $12.95 on the regular menu is $16.95 organic, for example), but Harish insists the goal isn’t to earn more money on a per-meal basis. Instead, it’s to survive and build traffic and volume during the economic slump.
We think it’s a great experiment and hope it continues. We see more and more “Contemporary American” organic restaurants popping up, but world cuisine seems to have lagged behind the trend. If there’s another Indian restaurant with an organic menu in Seattle, we haven’t found it. Nice work, Harish.