It's so easy to get stuck in a lunch rut. Frequenting the local eateries quickly wear out, and your midday meal becomes an unenjoyable chore.
Sandwich shops are convenient and generally let you pick exactly what you want between the bread, but maybe it's time to put the bread down and try something new. Tikkaway Grill in downtown New Haven takes that choose-what-you-want concept and applies it to Indian food, and the results are delicious.
The process is familiar. All the ingredients are laid out in a line: Tikkaway offers roti wraps (think the Indian food equivalent of a burrito), rice bowls and salad bowls as a starting point. From there you choose a base: chicken tikka, lamb kebab, chana (chickpeas), panir (Indian cottage cheese), veggies or aloo (potato). Next comes the sauce, with options from mild (masala) to spicy (vindaloo), and as many veggie toppings as you like. Even those who've never tried Indian food before can order with confidence, since Tikkaway allows sampling.
At Tikkaway, the entire menu is labeled to denote which items are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, nut free, etc., taking the guesswork out of ordering for those with allergies and dietary restrictions. My friend ordered a vegetarian roti wrap ($5.95), and filled it with chana, panir, cabbage, mushrooms and vindaloo sauce. Roti wraps come wrapped in foil, and Tikkaway's owner came to our table to show us how to unwrap them: tear the foil away in spirals from the top.
My rice bowl ($6.25), with chicken tikka, mushrooms, tomatoes and vindaloo sauce (I guess we both like our Indian food spicy) was enough for two lunches. We split an order of samosas ($1.25) and papads (99 cents). The samosas, which are vegan, were plump and savory.
For beverages, I got to indulge in my favorite Indian treat, a mango lassi ($2.50 regular; $3.25 large). I tried the masala chai ($2.25 regular; $3.25 large), and my friend had a fountain soda ($1.45 regular; $1.95 large). Tikkaway's menu is available online, so take a look and think about shaking up your lunch routine.
Tikkaway, 135 Orange St., New Haven, 203-562 1299, <a href="http://www.tikkawaygrill.com/">tikkaway.com.</a>Copyright © 2015, CT Now