Soho Tiffin Junction aims to do for Indian food what Chipotle did for Mexican food: to create affordable, fast, healthy, good tasting ethnic food in an environmentally responsible way. I came; I saw; I tasted.
Verdict: STJ has conquered! Jawahar Chirimar, the founding partner of the STJ Corporation, is offering the public a sound alternative to all the deleterious health and environmental effects attributable to usual fast food.
Chirimar, an affable Indian-born man who was clearly brimming over with excitement about his new venture, sat down with me and described what he has wrought:
“We have been cooking for two years to meet the big challenge of making the food flavorful and healthy. Using traditional southern Indian recipes which people have enjoyed for centuries, we leave out the butter and the cream and make sure that the food is not too spicy for the American palate. I am giving the public the food I eat at home. We offer healthy fast food.” What admirable efforts and good intentions. And STJ offerings are less caloric than Chipotle’s equivalent menu items.
A sign posted on the restaurant’s wall specifically lists exactly why STJ prepares food with care. The meat is humanly raised and hormone and antibiotic free. The dairy products are organic. All of the food is devoid of gluten, nut, soy, sesame, shellfish and cilantro. Even though I am obsessed with eating healthy food, I must say that I have never been worried about cilantro! But it is better to be over cautious than butter, cream, and hormone filled hamburger sodden. The more care the better! I applaud STJ’s effort to protect the environment via using recycled paper products, and compostable plastic.
Guests enter an appropriately Spartan and functional environment. They stand in front of an open kitchen and choose between a dosa (sourdough crepe wrap), rice, or salad foundation which can be topped with potatoes, baked egg whites, pulled pork, kale and vegan cheese, grilled chicken, or shredded beef. Interesting chutneys and garnishes add authentic Indian flavorings.
I thoroughly enjoyed my plate filled with a little bit of everything. The beverage called Mango Lassi made from mangoes and low fat yogurt was swoon-worthy. The reasonable entrée prices range from $6.95 to $8.99.
Congratulations to Jawahar Chirimar for making such good tasting and responsibly prepared food available.
– Marleen Barr
Soho Tiffin Junction
42 East 8th Street
Photos via Soho Tiffin Junction