Monday, November 5, 2012

Cheap Eats: NaanStop

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 at 1:15 PM

HANDHELD: NaanStops homemade samosa

Before I tell you about the food at NaanStop, let's beat its pun to death with a somewhat NaanSensical Naan Sequitur: Some say the idea of NaanStop as the harbinger of a national chain of Indian quick-service restaurants is a NaanStarter. They say it's a NaanStory. However, in a NaanScientific poll undertaken by Creative Loafing just last week, seven out of 10 NaanSmokers expressed a preference for naanwiches over burritos (smokers actually prefer burritos, but I have no clue why). The notion that NaanStop can't become the next Chipotle is pure NaanSense. NaanSense, I say! Apologies, I had to get that out of my system.

The basic premise of NaanStop is actually quite appealing: serving home-style Indian food in a format that's more accessible to a broader audience than the typical Indian restaurant. For founders Neal and Samir Idnani, that means the recipes come from their mother and grandmother, and the Willy's and Chipotles of the world provide diners with a frame of reference for the basic menu approach. Diners order at the counter, choosing a format (rice bowl, salad, or "naanwich," in this case), a primary ingredient (such as chicken tikka masala or lamb curry), and then top it off with various veggies and sauces (aka chutney). While some of the ingredients (paneer) or words (chola) may be foreign, the basic concept is clear and easy. And the brevity of the menu allows diners to quickly grasp the options, a stark contrast to many Indian restaurant menus that tend toward the encyclopedic.

Read the full story by Brad Kaplan here.

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