Appropriately dubbed the “Indian Chipotle”, newcomer Merzi is giving away free food today from 11 a.m. to noon at the Penn Quarter restaurant. I stopped by last night for a sneak preview, and walked away a big fan. The steps are just like Chipotle, pick a base (in this case, Naan, Chaat, Rice or Salad), add beans, add a meat (I recommend the beef, shrimp or chicken), toppings like lettuce and rice, and then a masala or a chutney to finish. My favorite was the green chili chutney, but don’t expect to cuddle up to your coworkers after lunch, it certainly has a kick.
Good news for our gluten-free friends, the owner’s son has a gluten allergy, so the restaurant is particularly conscientious of careful gluten-free preparation and keeps most items entirely gluten free (aside from the naan and the samosas, obviously). Boylan’s bottled sodas and a mango and probiotic yogurt smoothie keep you refreshed. Merzi is located on 7th street between D and E next to Carmine’s, and is open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily.