Our overnight stay in Chicago
My husband and I came in for a concert at the Metro Sunday and I wanted to just give a brief review of the places we visited while we were there.
We stayed at a fabulous B & B in Oak Park called The Harvey House. Wonderful, beautiful room, we stayed in the Golden Chest suite, which had an Asian influence. Free WI-FI, bottles of wine were free to bring up to our room (which we did) pantry and fridge were open to the house guests. We were given a sheet to fill in what time we wanted breakfast and were served hot coffee, fresh oj, warm sliced apples with a sweet roll type icing, cinnamon and nuts, eggs benny with red skin potatos. Absolutely YUMMMY! I would highly recomend them for anyone who would love a more homey atmosphere.
We ate lunch at Khyber Pass which was quite close to where we were staying. I will tell you in a word about Khyber Pass....AWFUL! We arrived at 2:30 for the buffet. Food was luke warm at best and items of for dessert were already gone and not replenished. The tandoori chicken, which they bring to your table, was flavorless and borderline gamey. The Naan bread, also brought to your table was warm but tasteless as well. Service was marginal. If this is the best Indian Chicago has to offer, I feel bad. I can only say that if anyone is in the Detroit area, please check out Rangoli in Auburn Hills. They will absolutely blow you away.
For dinner, which ended up being around 10:30 PM after the concert, we headed to Quartino. An Italian eatery which was beautfully decorated. The prices were very moderate with pizzas running 10-12 dollars and 1/4 carafe's of wine beginning at 4 dollars. The place was virtually empty, not surprising on a Sunday night. We ordered the Soprano pizza, which came out hot and crispy. It was good although the veggies seemed pickled which was not described on the menu. Service was acceptable, but one of the staff persons who we asked for a box for our leftovers, seemed less than happy to do so. We also were not offered a taste of a sample pizza that was being distributed among patrons in the restaurant.
I liked this place and would try it again to see if it was just a bit of an off night.
In our travels the following day, we happened upon a little coffee house called Blue Max. We each had a latte which were good but the milk could have been hotter. They did remake them for us and were very apologetic. We also decided to get lunch there. We split a cheese/chicken quesadilla which came with a nice helping of mixed greens with balsamic vinegarette and tortilla chips and housemade salsa. It was all good but not remarkable in any way. I did love the atmosphere of the place and there were lots of other items on the menu including a nice size breakfast menu that is served all day. We will definitely go back.
So while we I wouldn't say our food experiences in Chicago were a complete bust, they certainly didn't wow us. We hope for a little better experience next time.
Khyber Pass? Best in Chicago? BWAHAHA! That place does not even deserve recognition as Indian food when we have Devon avenue. Khyber Pass isn't even in Chicago. If someone from Chowhound recommended this place as the best Chicago has to offer, you've been duped. Did you ping the Chicago Hounds on where to go for your stay?
Hmm, that's too bad that you wasted your time and money at Khyber Pass.
Chicago has sooo much diversity in Indian and Pakistani cuisine that, I would be surprised if there is a city in North America that has more widely diverse regional Indian and Pakistani restaurants than Devon Avenue in Chicago. It's also known as the Sari Capital of the Midwest.
I haven't been to Khyber Pass, so I won't comment on it. However, Chicago has wonderful Indian (and Pakistani) restaurants. lbs mentioned Devon Avenue on the North Side, which has the greatest concentration. It's also worth noting that there are some very good Indian restaurants in lots of other neighborhoods in the city and suburbs.
I would add a couple of points about lunch buffets at Indian restaurants, which I enjoy from time to time, but primarily for value, rather than quality. The buffets really vary in quality, to begin with; some are very good, and others are not. They are almost never as good as food made to order, ordered off the menu (for lunch or dinner), for reasons that are obvious. And the absolute *worst* time to go to a lunch buffet is when they are winding down at the end of the lunch hour, and much of the food has been sitting in the steam table for quite a while (and, as you note, not everything gets replenished). So the timing you describe are the absolute worst possible time to try *any* Indian restaurant.
Chicago has some outstanding food, of all types. I'm not sure whether you were just trying what happened to be close by, or someone actually recommended these places. But you can find some great recommendations by asking in advance here on Chowhound. Not that everyone here always agrees on everything, but places that are recommended by a lot of people here are generally pretty reliable picks.