The Vegetarian Option: Hampton Chutney Co.

The Vegetarian Option

Dining out meat-free.

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[Photographs: Laura Togut]

Hampton Chutney Co. is nothing short of a New York dosa institution. Their first location was in fact in the Hamptons back in 1997, but they've had a packed shop in SoHo since 2001, and in the Upper West Side since 2006.

For those who haven't encountered a dosa before, it's a common south Indian dish: a thin sour-dough rice crepe is filled with any combination of fillings and rolled up. Think giant, long, Indian burrito, in a crisp and slightly sour wrapper. Not to be confused with kathi rolls.

Hampton Chutney Co.'s dosas come with fillings both traditional and otherwise, but whichever you're in the mood for, it's a great place to grab a bite when you're in either SoHo or the Upper West Side. Just beware of long lines and lack of seats—like I said, this place is an institution.

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The butternut squash red pepper soup ($4.25 for a small, $5.25 for a medium, and $9.50 for a quart) got our meal off on the right foot. It's a solid fall number accented by a subtle blend of exotic spices. A great twist on fall in a cup.

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My go-to dosa here is the Masala Deluxe ($10.95). It has the same delicious spiced Indian potato filling as the classic masala dosa, but with the addition of spinach, jack cheese, and roasted tomato. With all the flavors and spices in perfect balance, this dosa never fails to satisfy.

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In the seasonal roasted butternut squash dosa ($10.95) with portobello mushrooms, arugula, and jack cheese, the butternut squash was tasty, but the mushrooms were definitely my favorite part—tender and meaty, with just a slight bite. The only real fallback was that the sour tang of the dosa crepe didn't quite blend in with the other flavors the way it does with the more traditional fillings.

The orange blossom lemonade ($3.50) could not have been a more perfect between-bite refresher. The frsh lemonade has just enough orange blossom to give it a delightfully exotic twist, without going so far as to start tasting like grandma's linen closet. Each sip of this lemonade was total perfection.

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And of course, you can't forget the chutneys. Each dosa comes with your choice of cilantro, mango, tomato, curry, peanut, or pumpkin. Of the ones we tried, the standard cilantro chutney and mango chutney were both quite good, but nothing to write home about. The seasonal pumpkin chutney, however, was surprisingly the clear favorite. Its rich flavor and creamy texture was perfect with both of our dosas, and I would imagine with everything else on the menu as well. Definitely get it while it's around.

Hampton Chutney Co.

Multiple Locations (see website)
hamptonchutney.com