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It would have been foolhardy to attempt another Southern restaurant in the refurbished gas station long occupied by Watershed before its move from Decatur to Buckhead. But the arrival of a DayGlo canteen imported from Asheville, North Carolina, and serving variations on Indian street food erased Watershed’s ghost entirely.
Chai Pani has been packed daily since its opening. Attribute the response in part to the care that owners Meherwan and Molly Irani take with the food: The kitchen grinds its own spices and makes sauces from scratch, a rarity among typical Indian restaurants. Jump into the meal with Bombay chili cheese fries topped with incendiary lamb hash and paneer, or the whole-leaf kale pakora fried in curried chickpea batter. Move on to matchstick okra fries scented with lime, multi-dish thalis, uttapam pancakes topped with tomatoes and cheese, and glorious masala fish wraps.
406 West Ponce de Leon Avenue, Decatur, 404-378-4030, chaipanidecatur.com