In the early aughts, my high school friend Ben lived in San Francisco, which led to plenty of trips north to explore the Bay Area dining scene. Our days typically involved at least four full meals, runs up and over the hills to clear additional stomach space, and not a whole lot of repeats. Still, a couple of restaurants commanded our repeated patronage, including a bare bones Berkeley warehouse near the freeway called Vik’s Chaat Corner, which up until that point, dispensed some of the best Indian food of my life. The Chopra family – Vinod, wife Indira, son Amod and daughter Shagun – eventually outgrew the original space they founded in 1989 and expanded into a modern building down the street. Years later, a road trip with Matthew ”Mattatouille” Kang offered an opportunity to return to Vik’s, and the street food nearly matched my early memories.
Diners pile into wooden banquettes and stainless steel tables. Order at the counter, which forces you to walk past tantalizing colorful sweets (stay strong, or not). Then pick up your staggered order at different stations: chaat, bhatura, dosa and specials.
In this case, the taava (griddle) didn’t work wonders and the roti was thick and un-springy.
Vik’s was already Stop Two on our Berkeley crawl, and Indian sweets simply weren’t possible.
It was interesting to see how Vik’s progressed in the past decade. Now that several dozen additional Indian meals are in my “book,” the food no longer seems so mind-blowing. Still, Vik’s is certainly high-value and well-spiced, and considering all the other enticing dishes that emanated from the open kitchen, a return trip is more than likely.
December 27, 2010 at 6:48 PM
So happy to see your coverage of Vik’s. This is definitely one of my go-to places when in Berkeley and Dahi Puri is my favorite street/snack food!
December 27, 2010 at 7:16 PM
Wasima, glad to hear you also like Vik’s Chaat Corner. Have you eaten at Mumbai Ki Galliyon Se in Artesia? It would probably remind you of Vik’s, not in scope, but in terms of the menu items.