Much of the decor at Essence of India is imported directly from India, from the framed artwork and tapestries right down to the dinnerware. The cuisine is a direct transplant, too, specifically from North India. A tandoori oven cooks jumbo shrimp that have been marinated in caraway seeds and flavored yogurt, and Indian spices lend heat to the goan fish curry, though the chef can tailor the curries' spice level to the diner's preference. The warm-weather months are a particularly appealing time to visit, since diners can sip an Indian beer on the restaurant's outdoor patio without having to light their shoes on fire to keep warm.
Zoku's sushi chefs roll more than 25 types of maki and rustle up warm bowls of pan-Asian cuisine. Crisp and flavorful components are found in all dishes, including Chinese appetizers, Thai noodles, and Japanese sashimi. Chefs serve up artful plates dripping with sauce, bursting with color, and hoping to be discovered and offered a food-modeling contract.
In the heart of Devon Avenue’s Little India, the chefs at Masala Grill offer a different take on the subcontinent’s cuisine by tackling the rich flavors of the northern regions that border Pakistan. Guests can indulge in a cross section of the regional recipes via the buffet, which the staff constantly refreshes with just-made portions of mutton biryani, chicken tikka, palak paneer, and crispy samosas stuffed with veggies. For a more intimate setting, diners can savor table service with such options as the Masala Grill platter, which combines two chicken entrees with two types of kebabs for a better overview of the menu than the chef's pile of self-authored Cliff's Notes. Crown meals with something sweet, such as honey-drizzled gulab jamun or the creamy beverage known as falooda.
The chefs at Anmol Barbecue Restaurant slice, dice, and spice vegetables and 100% halal meats to concoct their biryanis, kebabs, and myriad curry dishes. The traditional Pakistani plates gather juicy, delicately spiced cuts of mutton, beef, and organic Amish chicken.
Voted Best of Chicago 2008 by the Chicago Reader and lauded by Time Out Chicago, Uru-Swati earns praise for the carefully crafted vegetarian Indian fare served at its Devon Avenue storefront. Blue walls and painted cityscapes look down on dishes brimming with rich sauces, while nearby clocks slink down from walls to steal bites when patrons look away. South Indian cuisine in the form of masala dosa and uttapam meets classic dishes such as chana masala and dal makhani, and garlic naan and desserts round out an extensive menu.
Mood-setting muted lighting illuminates Urban Indian Restaurant's cozy dining room as waiters ferry piquant platters of Indian cuisine to tables and leather booths. The chefs bake spicy helpings of tandoori chicken harnessing the heating power of a clay oven—a more tasty method than warming them with a hair dryer—and help diners to achieve meatless munching with sundry vegetarian dishes. Complementing the spicy cuisine, the restaurant's warm, low-lit interior embraces guests in smoldering burnt-orange walls and rich wood floors.