Fusion cuisine straight from the Oven

Fusion cuisine has come to Rochester. And what better cuisines to fuse than Indian and Chinese?

That’s just what Ken Dewanhas done at Clay Oven, located on Commerce Drive Northwest off West Circle Drive, near Green Mill. Dewan opened his doors last week, making good on his longtime dream to own a restaurant. And his other career as a real estate agent and developer didn’t hurt, either — Dewan knows Rochester can handle and embrace something different.

"It’s nothing like you’ve ever tasted," he says.

And he’s right — at least as far as this writer is concerned.

The location


Clay Oven opened in the cozy restaurant space vacated by Happy China a few months back. Dewan added some classy touches (and of course, an Indian clay oven in the kitchen), but kept the vibe informal and friendly. The dining room is small enough to invite chatting with acquaintances, and Dewan and his waitstaff make everyone feel at home.

The food

The menu features some dishes that are purely Indian and others that are Hakka — a fusion of Chinese and Indian. The flavors are spicy and sweet, having recognizable Chinese elements like savory orange sauces, sesame and almond flavors, but also some fennel, cloves, curry or something pickled to steer it back into the Indian side.

The Hakka chili chicken has sliced whole chiles and other vegetables mixed with an orange sauce-covered chicken. There’s plenty of heat in that one. For an appetizer, try the pakora vegetable tempura basket, which features seasonal vegetables and paneer fritters fried in chickpea batter, then served with an amazing tamarind and mint chutney.

They feature no less than five varieties of Naan bread, and if you’re going for an Indian dish, try the Thali (vegetarian or non-vegetarian). It features a chef’s choice of two vegetable or meat dishes with traditional Indian sides like raita, daal lentil, Naan or puris, pakoras with salad and dessert — all served in traditional Indian dinnerware.

The menu is packed with dishes that will take you on a food journey, surprising you with flavors you didn’t expect. Several vegetarian and vegan options are available, and there are two to three off-menu specials daily. I recommend going with a group of people and sharing everything.

The prices

Appetizers are $6 to $8, while entrees are $12 to $16. Clay Oven is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays. They also offer catering.


Burritos for a cause

On Wednesday, stuff yourself at Chipotle South, but feel good about yourself afterward. That's because when you bring in a flier and place an order, 50 percent of the proceeds will go to the Rochester Area Family YMCA.

To print out a flier, go to, or e-mail to get one via e-mail. Then stop by the Chipotle at 1201 S. Broadway between 5 and 8 p.m. Wednesday — a burrito never felt so good.

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