Of all the restaurant concepts to emerge in the past few years, the one everyone wants to be most like is Chipotle. The chain is unquestionably the inspiration at Currytos, a unique new spot in downtown Grapevine that took over a former Quiznos on Main Street.
Currytos has all the Chipotle benchmarks: a pared-down menu, an efficient ordering system, even a Chipotle-like industrial decor. But it takes a bold step with its menu by fusing two unexpected cuisines: Indian and Mexican — a combination that actually worked pretty well. Both were spicy but in different, complementary ways.
The choices are culled to three: a burrito option called a curryto, a salad and a “naked” curryto served not on a tortilla but in a bowl. Prices run from $7 to $8.50, depending on your choice of meat, which you combine with rice, toppings and sauce.
The key factors were the condition of the ingredients, and how the flavors blended together, and Currytos got high marks. Imagine a Chipotle burrito, but with a more complex range of flavors, delivered via Currytos’ rich sauces, some of which packed a big dose of spicy heat — a more exotic profile than salsa and guacamole.
Those sauces numbered six and included classic tikka masala, a creamy tomato with garlic, ginger and cilantro; red curry, a sweet Thai-inspired sauce made with coconut milk; rich korma with yogurt and fried onions; and fiery-hot vindaloo, with red and green chilies.
White rice was moist and satisfying. Both the steak and the chicken — our favorite — were marinated and grilled, then diced into tender, bite-size squares.
For non-meat-eaters, a “veggie” option offered black beans and grilled onions, as well as paneer, consisting of cubes of mild white cheese. If you simply must have cheese, it’s fine, but the mild flavor didn’t add much to the mix.
We got a curryto-burrito, and had them do it up as they saw fit. They started by warming a large tortilla, which they topped with rice, corn, pico de gallo, black beans, shredded lettuce and finely shredded cheese. The sauce was “sweet and spicy,” and the spice mix — cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and cumin — created an unusual interplay of sweet and savory.
If you don’t want the tortilla, the naked curryto serves those ingredients in a black plastic bowl. There is no dessert, although there is a cooler with bottled Indian drinks such as mango lassi.
One way that Currytos is not like Chipotle is that it’s independently owned, with accompanying quirks. Sometimes they don’t answer the phone; sometimes when they do, they don’t respond with the highest level of customer service. The night we went, they were out of change. But if you like Indian flavors, delivered quickly and deliciously, then Currytos may be worth a shot.
110 N. Main St.
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday