Chai & Chai is a long way from Chez Panisse...

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Chez Panisse created its own butterfly effect, changing the way Americans cook, eat and think about food. For Venu Alla, who lived near the legendary restaurant in Berkeley, that influence was personal and powerful, turning him into "something of a foodie," he says, and inspiring the Indian architect and tech consultant to open a restaurant of his own: Chai & Chai;

See also: 100 Favorite Dishes -- Masala dosa from Chai & Chai

An offbeat place at Anschutz Medical Campus, Chai & Chai offers not the seasonal, high-end fare of Chez Panisse but an eclectic -- and ever-evolving -- mix of Indian and Jordanian food.

Rather than offering fusion, though, the two kitchens operate separately under one roof. On the Indian side is Rajesh Kannan, a dosa chef who honed his skills at Masalaa. On the Arabian side is Enas Khalili, a Jordanian who is said to have cooked for the Royal Jordanian Army. And if that sounds like a complicated endeavor, it is. "There's no synergy," laments Alla. "Except salt, there's nothing they share."

I trekked out to Chai & Chai in search of dosa, which had earned top honors as Best Dosa in the Best of Denver 2014. Find out if the rest of the food was worth the trip when my review is posted here tomorrow.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.