Nearly Native Eats: Chauhan Ale & Masala

Indian cuisine is not something that you’d expect to find in Nashville. Traditional southern fare rules the hearts and stomachs of the inhabitants of this thoroughly southern city. Or so the outsider foolishly assumes! Nashville has diversified exponentially in recent years and with it, the dining industry. Beyond the hot chicken and gravy-drenched biscuits, our city is attracting some of the biggest names in the business, from fine dining to bar food and, more recently, an influx of ethnic eats. Middle Tennessee has it’s fair share of TexMex and Asian Fusion, but Indian food? Not so much. Until now! Chauhan Ale & Masala has finally brought Indian street food with a trendy flare to Nashville.

Occupying the long-vacant space next to Anthem and across from 12th & Porter, Chauhan (pronounced Show-Haan in case you were wondering) recently opened it’s doors to legions of Indian food loving Nashvillians (yes, some of us locals love more than chicken and waffles!), creating yet another new dining destination in the ever-expanding Gulch neighborhood.

Hesitant to step away from your regular BBQ or burger joint for a meal of tikka masala and kale pakora chaat? Can you even pronounce the dishes you’d order? Trying Indian food for the first time can be an intimidating feet, but Chauhan eases the pain by combining culturally traditional dishes with southern American classics. Familiar featured items like BBQ Ribs, Chili Relleno, and Poutine (fancy French fries) are dressed in all of their Indian-seasoned glory creating entirely new flavors to test your taste buds with. They even pay homage to their southern locale with their own version of a “meat and three (sides)” dish! Chauhan creates an approachable and interesting Indian menu for every type of patron to enjoy. If you’re still a little leery to try it out, you can find comfort in knowing that the staff is well versed on the menu and is happy to make suggestions to help ease your decision-making process. Even the cocktails bring American and Indian tastes together in harmony (they make their own vanilla chai infused old monk Indian rum!).

Not only is the menu something to admire, but the décor and overall atmosphere are inviting for a group outing or date nights. Intimately lit with a fireplace as the dining room’s centerpiece and adorned in modern pieces, patrons can enjoy each other’s company, not feeling cramped against others’ conversations. And luckily, parking is easy to find on the street or in a nearby gravel parking lot. The service is friendly and timely, leaving you to enjoy your meal and not rushed out the door. Not meant for Monday Night Football or rounds of shots, but for a nice first date, girls night or to impress visitors, Chauhan should be the next place on your list to test your palate with. Tandoori and Vindaloo might sound scary for the traditional meat and three lover who regularly heads to the neighborhood BBQ joint, but with Chauhan you may just find that by reinventing the familiar, you ignite the inner Indian-food lover that you’ve been ignoring all along.

IMG_8413

Kale Pakora Chaat (Top Left), Chicken Vindaloo (Top Right),
Tandoori Chicken Poutine (Bottom)

 Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!

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