A chance meeting at a cocktail party turned into a life change for Jim Dragatsis and Sandeep Malhotra who joined culinary forces in 2006 to create Marigold Restaurant, an Indian eatery infused with modern elements. To breathe life into their menu, the duo brought in Executive Chef Joe Moore, who has keenly and artistically crafted such entrees as tandoori barbecue lamb ribs, naanwiches, and curries seasoned with grilled fennel. This creative approach to Indian food earned the Uptown eatery a shout out in the 2011 Michelin Guide, and allowed them to upgrade to new digs in Andersonville in the fall of 2012. Though the location may have changed, guests can still dine on savory platters of tandoor-baked naan, house-made paneer, and fresh chutney while sipping on sweet mango lassi, Chakra Indian beer, or a variety of creative cocktails.
Snarling facemasks painted in rainbow colors hover above diners at Yak Thai Cuisine. Like the BYOB restaurant's name, these masks are a nod to the ogres, or yaks, of Thai folklore and are juxtaposed elegantly against the contemporary space's chocolate-brown color scheme. This contrast of old and new can also be found in the menu, which features traditional Thai dishes infused with modern culinary techniques and ingredients. An appetizer of smoked salmon is brought to life with a sprinkling of lime dressing, whereas spaghetti noodles are paired with kaffir-lime leaves and deep-fried soft-shell crab with chu chee curry sauce. Hot and cold teas offer a brief moment of thirst-quenching relief from spicy curries before diners dive into a dessert, such as homemade chocolate lava cake oozing with authentic magma.
The chefs at The Little India, which has earned a feature as One of the Best in the Chicago Tribune, populate an expansive menu of Indian cuisine. Along with cooking up a vast array of vegan and vegetarian dishes, the chefs pack meaty entrees with only zabiha halal meat. Amid warm wood hues and floor-to-ceiling front windows, waiters unload starters of golden fried samosas and insulate homemade bread with succulent chicken, lamb, and fresh veggies. Sweet teeth sink into savory desserts such as sweet-potato custard, and the restaurant's BYOB policy encourages patrons to sip glasses poured from their own bottles of wine or jugs filled with bathtub moonshine.
The ingredient-smiths at Masala Indian & Mediterranean Cuisine construct an extensive menu of noodles, curries, and vegetarian specialties that blend Indian and Thai culinary staples. A clay oven fires flavored naan breads, as well as lamb, chicken, and seafood dishes augmented with piquant indian spices. Chefs prepare vegetarian options to appease meat-free maws, and a swath of Thai dishes combines rice noodles with meat, tofu, or veggies. Plates of fiery delicacies rest atop royal-blue tablecloths, surrounded by wood-lined walls and posters of famous curries autographed by the spices themselves.