In the last issue of Windy City Times, I reviewed the new progressive Indian spot Roohand concluded it is good ( albeit expensive ) and needs to get its act together.
Rooh, a West Loop spot, could learn a lesson by looking north to a more experienced restaurant: Mango Pickle ( 5842 N. Broadway; www.mangopicklechicago.com ).
Mango Pickle, a smaller spot, features reimagined Indian dishes courtesy of Chef Marisa Paolilloan Italian-American who fell in love with Indian cuisine while residing in Mumbai with her husband for nine years. And what she's brought back from her trip constitutes a journey for more adventurous guests.
My friend and I were treated to the prix fixe itemsshe had the vegetarian menu while I took the more carnivorous route. What resulted is that both of us thoroughly enjoyed our disheseven if our heat limits were pushed a bit.
We both started with delightful paneer pops, accompanied by apple-coriander chutney. Then, our paths div = =erged. My friend had unwrapped samosas ( tasty, but pretty spicy ), steamed idli ( a delicious rice cake with peanut chutney ), and spring vegetable khichari ( solid, but probably my dining companion's least favorite item ).
After the pops, I had the sable fish paturi steamed in a banana leaf ( an acquired taste, but one I liked more as I progressed ), chicken chettinad ( shredded chicken leg in patty formand probably my favorite dish ) and lamb chops ( cooked very well ).
From there, we both had a sorbet and sodabut, of course, it wasn't the standard, as ingredients involved campari, orange and roasted meringue. The lovely pot de creme ( served on a saucer instead of a cup or pot ) featured chocolate ganache and brulee banana. But that was not all, as Paolillo's husband, Nakul Patel, poured us Lake Effect's chai masala barleywinewhich I couldn't stop sipping.
Did I mention that the prix fixe menu is $55 ( $45 for the vegetarian line-up )?
However, if prix fixe is not your thing, there are plenty of a la carte dishes, ranging from the spring vegetable clay pot to lamb biryani to masala shrimp salad. Whatever you pick, you're very likely to go on a gustatory adventureand like the trip.
Not as exoticbut just as satisfying in many waysis the contemporary American cuisine at the Gold Coast spot Somerset ( 1112 N. State St.; www.somersetchicago.com ).
Housed in the Hotel Viceroy, the food is impressiveeven with items that may seem pretty basic. The spring-pea hummus, with seeded crackers and feta, is absolutely delightful; and I underestimated the sweet corn-and-salt cod fritters, which I could've eaten all day. Other lunchtime itemsranging from grilled asparagus tartine to the wood-grilled bass to the steak friteswill have you feeling sated. Also, regarding dessert, the chocolate cake and budino are must-haves.
Also, here's another reason to check out Somerset: Throughout the summer, people can stop by there for Somer Socials each Sunday at 5-7 p.m. Chef Meg Galus serves flavors from her ice-cream cart like Brown Sugar Cookie Dough, Toasted Marshmallow, Mint Chocolate Fudge, Rainbow Sherbet, and Peaches & Cream. Items are $4-$6 each.
Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.