Perhaps it’s because the recent news of Krystal filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy has me feeling nostalgic, but when I recently tasted the Shammi sliders at Chaatable, they took me back to a familiar, happy place. The soft, warm bun and thin patty with a crunch of onion. It also didn’t hurt that it was happy hour.
Sliders, like tiny Tabasco bottles and the miniature bottles of Heinz that come with hotel room service, tend to offer big taste in adorable packages. But these made-from-scratch sliders (called “Shammi the Way” on Chaatable’s pun-heavy menu) take the concept so much further. With only four components — all of them house-made — they are basically nesting dolls of flavor to be unpacked. The patty alone (no wider than a teacup) comes with a list of spices as long a CVS receipt: Ground lamb is seasoned with chopped mint, turmeric, cumin, crushed coriander seeds, garam masala, Kashmir chili powder, ginger, garlic, lemon and more. It’s a riff on a shami kebab, a popular Indian snack. Here the patty sits instead on a squishable pillow, or pav (Indian-style roll). Pickled onion tops the patty, slicing through the spice with tang and texture, and the bottom layer gets a smear of fresh mint-cilantro chutney, which looks like moss from a fluorescent forest.
Shammi sliders appear on Chaatable’s lunch and dinner menus with sides, but two sliders alone are just $7 during happy hour (Monday-Friday, 4:30 to 6 p.m.). And Chaatable’s sliders don’t seem to be going anywhere, whether or not Krystal sticks around. “It’s been on the menu since we opened,” says chef Praveen Pedankar of the item. “It sells a lot, so we keep it on.”