I don’t know about everyone else, but many of my nearest and dearest fall into three distinct dining categories. I know a few spicy food people, a lot of non-spicy food people, and as long as they each know who they are, making plans with either works fine. The problem are the people who think they are spicy food people but start making excuses when I want to go for Indian, Thai or Mexican. Luckily, if I want to eat any of the above, I have a go-to couple that I can call anytime, who think suicide wings are swell.
So, when a Green Chili recently took over what had been a Burger Inn on Bow Trail, I called my hot-food friends, and we headed over on a weeknight. Upon arriving, I was impressed with how they’ve dressed it up inside. Though Green Chili is a Calgary-based chain, and this new Bow Trail spot is actually their fifth location, I’d never been inside another, so had no basis for comparison on that front. I had however been to the Burger Inn, and they’ve definitely improved on the decor since then.
It’s still small, and really, there’s no kidding yourself that you’re in a strip mall, but the prices take that into consideration, as most dishes are in the teens. They also have a short, cheap wine list with one red & white each available by the glass. When they brought me the wrong one, they reduced the price on the bill by half, which was a nice touch, and fit with the pleasant and prompt service we received all night.
To start, we got both the vegetarian and beef samosas. First and foremost, they were the biggest I’ve ever seen, and that wasn’t a good thing in this case. The dough was a little dry, and they were stuffed so full that the crust was cracking. The texture suffered from the dryness too.
We followed the samosas with goat vindaloo, madras lamb, chicken tikka masala and garlic prawns (which come from the ‘Chinese cuisine of Calcutta’ section of the menu). The garlic prawns had the same dryness issues as the samosas, though not to the same extent. The texture of the shrimp didn’t get rubbery, so they were still pretty tasty, though they could have been a little heavier on the garlic, given the name of the dish.
The goat in the vindaloo was impressively tender, and for a dish that is typically one of the hottest on the menu, it actually didn’t make eyes water or noses sniffle. The good meat quality carried through the chicken tikka masala and the lamb madras curry as well. Both were also was nice and creamy, and none were oppressively spicy (in fact, I think the Cowboy would have liked it if the at least vindaloo were more so). When our tastebuds did need a little cooling down, we had sides of plain, butter, garlic and cheese naan bread, and coconut and saffron rice to do the trick. Of the naans, I found the butter sort of damp and floppy. Better were the garlic and the cheese. Both rice dishes were good, but I the saffron was a better match for the dishes we’d chosen.
All in all, Green Chili is definitely better than I expected for a chain restaurant in a strip mall. If the others are like this location, I expect that’s why they have been able expand the way they have.
On the ratings scale:
3.5 out of 5 Stars!
Green Chili (note that the website hasn’t been updated to reflect the new location yet)
3829 Bow Trail SW