|Merzi: Chaat with Tandassori Chicken and Potato Tikka|
Think Chipotle, but inspired from an altogether different continent. That is pretty much the idea behind Penn Quarter's Merzi, the first of what the owner intends to turn into a chain of accessible, healthy Indian food outposts across the country. Whether I like to admit it or not, I really like Chipotle (yes, I know it
The food is fresh and healthy with options ranging from chickpeas and black-eyed peas to grass fed lamb, spicy chutneys, tangy yogurt sauces, and baked samosas. I suppose there could be hundreds of combinations. And on two visits so far, while the service speed is not yet up to the Chipotle standard, the ingredients are just as consistently fresh and delicious. The owner is on-site, engaged, and actively taking feedback.
On my first visit I enlisted my Indian friends T and S for help navigating the menu and to get their fellow-foodie take on this concept. Given the sparse menu board descriptions, I was very happy to have their help, but I also discovered there are printed menus for the more novice eaters. While I was taken with the concept and the food, they were not so sure -- this was in no way traditional Indian food -- but, to me at least, it was pretty darn good, and we all raved about the tenderness of chicken. I brought B along on my second visit, and he could not get enough.
For about $7 a fast, Indian-inspired, healthy feast is all yours. I hope this concept catches on because let's face it, fast food lunch options could use some spice!