There’s some good shopping on Newbury Street, but when I thought of restaurants on the street, touristy and overpriced were the only words that came to mind. Due to these assumptions, I was surprised by a recent visit to Mumbai Chopstix.
Wading through four-foot-high snow piles, we made it to Mumbai Chopstix at 11:30am on a Friday. The Indo-Chinese fusion restaurant opened in April 2010 and I’ve been hearing mixed reviews ever since. Furthermore, after visiting The Dosa Factory (same owner) a few weeks ago, I was reminded that I should try it out! When we arrived there was no host, so when I saw someone in sweats come upstairs carrying place settings, I apologized for arriving early and asked what time we should come back. The quick response was “we’re open right now! Buffet or menu?” The whole situation was very confusing and unnecessarily rushed. I would have come back if they weren’t ready to open.
We began the meal with Calcutta-style hot and sour soup, which had a thick and sweet broth. The mushrooms and vegetables were delicious, but I ate them with chopsticks to avoid the broth.
A small plate of fried noodles and chickpeas was next. The server said this was a street food snack. It was tasty. We also had small salads from the buffet with a fresh-tasting oil and vinegar dressing.
In the buffet were six dishes, a combination of vegetarian and meat. The vegetable hakka noodles (similar to lo mein), vegetable manchurian (like mini veggie burgers in ginger and cilantro sauce), and “hawker-style” eggplant and tofu in garlic sauce were my favorites. Other dishes included Calcutta Szechwan chicken (terribly sweet, I could only taste sugar), a beef dish & standard a fried rice with vegetables. The selection was simple: I would have liked a few more unique dishes, along with at least one seafood dish. I would have also liked to see more fusion (most of the dishes seemed like standard Chinese food, maybe with the exception of the veggie manchurian).
Our server was very friendly, but became a bit too involved in the conversations my friend and I were having. It would have been fine if this was our third or fifth visit, but not when you’re serving to complete strangers. We also couldn’t find him when we were ready for the bill.
The interior was intimate and easy: Mumbai Chopstix feels like an awesomely-cool Brooklyn apartment. Food was mediocre. Service was oddly unprofessional. The room was empty until we left at 12:30pm.
We couldn’t find the cost of the buffet when we ordered (based on the entree prices, I expected early/mid-teens), but at $9 for a complete meal on Newbury, it’s difficult to be too critical. I would consider going again if I was shopping at lunch time with an out-of-towner, but the quality of the food and service would keep me from returning for dinner or with someone other than a close friend looking for a casual meal.
Mumbai Chopstix, 254 Newbury Street, Boston