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 $25, you get $50 worth of Indian cuisine and drinks at India House Restaurant in Hoffman Estates.
Amid India House Restaurant's elegant interior, owner Jagmohan Jayara infuses an expansive menu and bountiful lunch buffet with traditional Indian herbs and spices. Herbivorous appetites can delight in vegetarian dishes such as tandoor-roasted eggplant in baingan bharta ($13.95) or aloo gobi ($13.95), which cuddles cauliflower and potatoes beneath a satiny blanket of ginger and tomato sauce. Tandoori lobster ($24.95) bursts from a clay oven with the gusto of a one-man marching band, and chicken assumes multiple clever disguises—including coconut-kissed chicken Madras ($15.95)—to distract oncoming cutlery.
Golden walls wrap around India House's dining area, which doubles as a luxurious banquet hall and glimmers with plum lights and ivory tablecloths that camouflage secret recipes and Nintendo 64 cheat codes scrawled in cream sauce.
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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 seafood 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.