Marco Polo's travels through India are left largely undocumented because he decided to write his journal entries on naan and later ran out of Clif Bars. Discover the culinary treats Marco Polo used for stationery with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Indian cuisine at India House's downtown location on Grand Avenue. Any outstanding balance exceeding the value of the Groupon must be paid in cash.
India House's vast menu is broken down into types of meat or lack thereof, and then further subcategorized in matryoshkan manner by cooking style, such as dishes cooked in the traditional tandoori clay oven.
Herbivores can enjoy the benefits of India's longstanding vegetarian traditions with dishes such as dal banjara, lentils cooked tenderly in an Indian wok with rare herbs and spices ($12.95), or the hearty palak paneer, made of cottage-cheese cubes in a spicy spinach sauce ($13.95).
Tandoori chicken comes in numerous varietals, such as the chicken tikka, boneless cubes marinated in yogurt and spicy spices ($15.95), and the khurmi naan makes for excellent excess-sauce sopping with garlic, tomato, and chili baked into the tender flatbread ($4.50). Sea-meat cravings can be aptly sated with a dish of shrimp masala, cooked in a medley of traditional herbs and spices ($19.95).
Cool down a spice-sodden palate with a chilled mango lassi, a traditional yogurt drink ($4.75), or save your sweet tooth for a juggle-worthy dessert of gulab jamun, golden-fried milk pastry balls in sweet saffron syrup ($3.95). Noontime diners can take advantage of the lunch buffet, which offers up a delicious Indian smorgasbord.
The subtle décor of the downtown India House reflects the traditions and culture of the cuisine, with warm lighting cast over saffron walls, red drapes, plants, and traditional Indian artwork. Restaurant founder Jagmohan Jayara is dedicated to bringing India's sophisticated use of herbs and spices to the waiting mouths of salivating hunger havers.
The epicurean alchemists at India House, winner of Chicago magazine's Best Indian Buffet designation, draw inspiration from the cuisine of Bombay and Delhi as well as Indian street fare and homestyle tandoori cooking. The menu's more than 250 items please vegetarian and meat-eating palates alike with curries, kebabs, and grilled saris that utilize the flavors of fresh cilantro, chilies, and coconut. A reviewer for the Chicago Tribune praises the restaurant’s “incredibly tender tandoori chicken,” and Chicago magazine says that the fiery "Hyderabadi-style mahi-mahi … is a must." Midday lunchers can dig into a buffet whose myriad options beget multiple trips and consultation with a pack of tarot cards before deciding which delicious curries should be ladled over naan and rice.