Cho:Tu in Midtown Offers Indian Street Food in a Casual Setting

Cho:Tu's menu is made up of Indian snacks and appetizers.EXPAND
Cho:Tu's menu is made up of Indian snacks and appetizers.
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Pravin Mascarenhas and Shamsu Lalani, owners of Maska in Midtown, have launched the restaurant's casual counterpart, Cho:Tu. The Indian street-food concept is located next door to its more formal sister establishment.

The 42-seat eatery shares the kitchen and a wall with Maska and offers indoor and outdoor seating, along with takeout. The menu is a collaboration between the two Indian-born partners, filled with affordable comfort food. The meat, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan specialties are similar to those found in highway rest stops and food stalls in each of the subcontinent's six regions from Delhi in the north to the southern Indian states.

Mascarenhas, who plans to open several Cho:Tu locations throughout South Florida, emphasizes there's no watering down of the exotic seasonings and spices.

"There's no tweaking the recipes to adapt to Western palates," he says. "This is authentic Indian street food, our traditional flavors ring out, and if it's served spicy in India, that's what you'll get here."

Cho:Tu's indoor dining room.EXPAND
Cho:Tu's indoor dining room.

Start your meal with one of the frankies, made with egg paratha, onion, pickled chilies, and powdered spices in vegetarian ($9), chicken bhuna ($10), or lamb bhuna ($12) options. Move on to the chaats (snacks) portion of the menu, which showcases vegan pani puri, crisp semolina shells with white chickpea stew ($7 for six pieces); samosas stuffed with lamb ($8); and tempered potatoes and green peas ($7), all served with tangy tamarind chutney.

Other items include bhurji pav, spicy scrambled eggs served with homemade bread rolls ($8); and pav bhaji, a mixed vegetable curry with onions, butter, and homemade bread rolls ($12). Quick bites from South India include a plain dosa, crispy rice crepes with coconut chutney and lentil curry ($10); and medu vada, savory lentil doughnuts with coconut chutney and lentil curry ($7 for three pieces).

The beverage list features the dessert-like falooda ($8), made with rose syrup and milk; ganne ka, AKA sugarcane juice ($5); and mango lassi ($5), a smoothie made with yogurt.

Cho:Tu. 3252 NE First Ave, Miami; 786-971-9100. Daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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