Green Chili: Best Indian Restaurant in Goodletsville
Indian food is family food and Ramesh is already looking to the next generations for his family business.
Ever notice how the best ethnic restaurants seem to be found beyond the city center? Much of the reason has to do with economics: Nashville's outer reaches are simply the places that many immigrant communities can best afford. One of those "outer reaches" is Goodletsville, and one of those communities is Indian, a locale that features a deliciously authentic Indian restaurant, Green Chili.
Ramesh Desai is the mind behind the menu at Green Chili. He was born in the state of Gujarat on the India’s western coast where his family ran a village café. After graduating college, Ramesh eventually settled in the Nashville area where he opened his Indian-Mart grocery store in 2011 and later Green Chili in May of 2016.
“Business is very good,” says Ramesh, proud that his business – with son Prajesh as his partner – is a family affair. “Both the grocery store and the restaurant stay busy – especially on the weekends.”
Ramesh serves northern Indian vegetarian and non-vegetarian food prepared as though Goodletsville were part of the subcontinent. Indeed, Green Chili makes its own yogurt and butter in-house to create clarified “ghee” – a central ingredient in South Asian and Arabic cuisines. They also make several versions of naan flatbread which is cooked inside of a traditional tandoor, a wood-fired oven that can heat to 600 degrees. The dough is flattened and stretched before it’s slapped against the inside wall of the oven. Between the hot radiating wall and the fire in the center, both sides of the bread cook quickly. The result is that thin, crispy outer layer with the soft, chewy center that makes for the perfect, edible utensil to soak up the sauces you don’t want to leave on your plate.
In Indian culture, food preferences are often based on religious beliefs. These considerations are taken very seriously, and, as a result, Ramesh’s kitchen is divided into two separate facilities – one for vegetarian preparations and one for recipes that include meat. Ramesh also has plans to dedicate a special section of his menu to vegan dishes which are also an ancient part of Indian cuisine.
“Indian food is spicy, healthy food,” says Ramesh and part of his mission is to educate non-Indians about his cuisine.
“We have 85% Indians at the grocery, but only 15% at the restaurant. It’s just the opposite for people who aren’t Indian,” he says. “They come to the restaurant because they love the food, but they don’t know what to do at the grocery because they don’t know how to cook the recipes. With the store and the restaurant I’m able to educate people.” He even has instructions for his restaurant customers, so they can learn more about all that Indian cuisine has to offer.
“People should come to the lunch buffet. Come and try the chicken tikka masala. Come and try a little bit of everything,” he says. “You find something you like and then you come back for a candlelight dinner and order a dish you’re craving.”
Most Indian dishes present complex flavors and many can be fiery hot. Green Chili is happy to please every palate with a heat scale that runs from mild to medium to extra hot. After all Indian food is an education, and Ramesh is a patient teacher.
Green Chili Indian Restaurant
707 Rivergate Pkwy,
Goodlettsville, TN 37072