At Viceroy of India Restaurant, culinary craftsmen blend the piquant, regional flavors of northern and southern Indian cuisine with a slew of adroitly seasoned meat and vegetarian dishes. The menu reads like a who's who of Indian edibles, starring such favorites as chicken tikka masala, spicy lamb vindaloo, and assorted vegetarian curries that bathe fresh vegetables in mild or spicy sauces. Appetizing aromas emanate from the eatery's kitchen as leavened naan bread bakes in a traditional clay oven, and an extensive selection of wine, beer, and classic cocktails spill into eager vessels. Each table's presentation of flowers, cushioned wooden chairs, and glowing candles woos guests in search of a venue for a romantic evening, group banquet, or first foray into fire swallowing.
Shikara's chefs strive to represent India's rich culinary history with a menu that includes familiar staples alongside more contemporary fusion cuisine. An imported tandoor oven roasts discs of naan and skewers of chicken according to time-honored North and South Indian recipes, and liberal doses of fenugreek seeds, ginger, and chilies add distinctively traditional aromas to many of the restaurant's dishes. However, the chefs also demonstrate their range by forging a spread of Indo-Chinese dishes, including stir-fried rice and chicken in soya sauce. These flavors—which can be washed down with a full selection of Indian beers—demonstrate the culinary interplay between the two nations' cultures without the mess of a UN-moderated food fight.
Home cooking can be hard to find when home is on an entirely different continent. But the owners of Himalayan Restaurant knew how to bring the flavors of their South Asian home to Chicago. They sought out Chef Bishnu Subedi, who relies on his 12 years of experience as well as his training in a Kathmandu culinary school. Befitting the subcontinent’s rich and diverse history, Chef Subedi designs expansive menus, which embrace the Northern Indian, Nepalese, and Asian subcultures that define the region’s cuisines.
This cultural fusion is readily apparent in dishes such as the momos: steamed Nepalese-style dumplings that are typically stuffed with minced chicken or vegetables and served by street-food vendors throughout Nepal. Northern Indian flavors completely shine through on certain dishes, including the tandoori chicken, which marinates overnight in spiced yogurt before the chefs quickly barbecue the meat inside a traditional clay tandoor oven. House-made paneer cheese and fluffy naan also evoke the flavors of South Asia; the restaurant further embraces its cultural roots by serving Indian beers and water from melted Nepalese glaciers.
Taj Mahal Restaurant, named for Uttar Pradesh's famed palace, celebrates India's diverse cultures and culinary styles. Its chefs focus on a panoply of ethnic recipes and regional dishes from areas such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Agra. They prepare everything from simple comfort food to meals traditionally enjoyed by the upper classes and their pet lobsters. They use traditional preparation methods such as the tandoor oven to bake and simmer chicken, lamb, and seafood with herbs, spices, and yogurt. Though they specialize in catering, they also serve dishes inside the restaurant, and they make Indian sweets in-house daily.
The Indian Harvest adorns white tablecloths with north Indian curries, pilafs, and kebabs distinguished by myriad spices such as pods of cardamom, cloves, cumin, and mustard seeds, and bowls of mint or pickle chutney. Over 20 vegetarian dishes showcase the versatility of eggplant, cauliflower, and peas, as well as their ability to harmonize with lentils and avoid getting redfaced when infused with whole chiles. A clay oven known as a tandoor sizzles lamb, chicken, and shrimp at a high temperature to seal in marinade and keep cholesterol down, and provides the bellows to puff up rounds of seasoned, leavened naan bread. Wood panels cut with floral designs screen sections of tables and booths in the dining room, whereas views of the lake open up the banquet hall.
Within Cuisine of India's modern dining room, Rahul Saigal strives to merge contemporary methods of culinary science with his family's longstanding kitchen traditions. Evidence of his success graces the eatery's crisp white tablecloths, where whole spring chickens from the tandoor oven rendezvous with curries simmered over a slow flame.
Full lunch buffets insulate plates with dishes such as spinach pakora, chicken masala, lamb curry, and alu mutter, plus garlic naan for sopping up sauce and traditional desserts for testing the severity of a budding dental cavity. Furthermore, Cuisine of India's catering can accommodate events for up to 2,000 guests with food, crystal, and linens.