Indian Cuisine in the Western Suburbs
On Wednessday night I dined at India Palace Restaurant (Wheaton) with 5 co-workers who are all recent immigrants from India... and they all vouched that it was among the better Indian restaurants they have eaten in, in the U.S.
First, you should know the owner is a Muslim Indian from Haryana, I only mention this because my co-workers (from Gujarat & Andrha, including two vegetarians & two omnivores) made sure to quiz about the chefs origins before ordering. According to them you never order Southern Indian from a Northern Indian cook & vice versa because it will be sub-par.
With that in mind... they ordered Sikh style Kabobs (Ground Meat) in Lamb & Vegetarian versions as starters. The Lamb was excellent by all accounts, and the Vegetarian (made from boiled plantains) surpassed everyones expectations. These (and the rest of the meal) were accompanied by a relatively wide selection of Indian beers (10 or so... thats more than I have ever seen)... I really enjoyed the moderately hoppy Haywards 5000, Kingfisher was also a table favorite, as was the Kalyani Black Label.
Oh yeah... we were started off with most savory, anise, fennel & charoli laced Pappadums served with a trio of thin chutneys Tamarind, Green & one other.
As we ordered mains, one of the Telugu native speakers got really excited about the depth of the Roti selections... ordering Uttranchaley Roti, as well as Parntha & Chapatis, we also asked for some plain nan... they were all excellent with the Uttranchaley being my favorite.
We also had:
> Egg Curry (one of my favorite dishes)... hardboiled eggs in the common reddish brown curry
> Egg Bhurji (kind of a curry but with large vegetable pieces particularly green chiles)
> Masala Uttapam... a wheat pancake griddled with onions, tomatoes, chiles, spices & herbs served with Coconut Chutney & a Sambar... this is one dish my friends thought would suck... and then they were all astonished that it was good... the best compliment was... wow this is proper Sambar etc.,
> Goat Curry... very good, specially the meat around the riblets
> Basmati Rice... fluffy & flavorful on its own
> Plain Yogurt served in a big bowl (nice & tangy)
Overall the group was impressed and labeled it a very good restaurant. I talked to the owner afterwards... and he highly recommended the Murg Tikka Irani & Cabbage Muttar for another visit.
India Palace Restaurant
242 E Geneva Rd, Wheaton, IL
Unfortunately we missed RST on Tuesday night due to logistics issues. We also had a meal at a place called Ki's Steakhouse.... meat was okay, nice that it was grilled with a coating of bleu cheese but lets just say that seafood is not a specialty there. Also there "Spinach" salad is really made with tender Kale... an improvement over bagged Baby Spinanch imho... but I was shocked at such mislabeling (I would think that Kale would sound more gourmet etc.,).
I had a lunch at a Jimmy John's (wow are they ubiquitous in that part of town)... quality of ingredients was fine... but they are pretty tasteless (lack of good condiments, too much bland bread etc.,)... and so I was shocked that all the Taquerias around that part of town seemed so empty. I didn't try any of them... but I would have thought that a Torta or Taco would be more comforting in the cold wheather than these asceptic heroe style sandwiches... but the Jimmy John's & Subways were doing quite well. Also... the line of 20 cars almost made me stop to try the Dogs at one of several Portillo's I spotted in that area.
One thing about the Chicagoland area - there are a TON of taquerias, and I mean a TON of them. About 15 of them are good. Most of them are horrible. I have no idea how so many of them stay in business. It seems that the drunk crowds keep them afloat. The great ones are usually extremely busy even at lunch time. (Although some of the horrendous ones are busy for lunch too - like El Famous)
Glad you enjoyed this Indian restaurant. I wish that you had also gone to try Sizzle India which is one of the few places in the Chicagoland to enjoy Andhra cooking. When Sizzle India still had a presence on Devon, it was easily my favorite Indian restaurant on that stretch. I have never been to the Schaumburg location but heard that the owner keeps the same high standards. Sizzle India also makes a wonderful gongura chutney, which I could not get enough of.
On gongura pickle, see my comments on this blog by foodfirst:
But then Schaumburg was probably too far from where you were. So I am glad that this worked out after all.
(Got you a small bag of jumiles as well as a bag of "milperos" and a bag of frijoles comba to share with Bay Area hounds. I guess I'll have to eat those myself after all. ;0) )
India Palace was our "go to" for good food. One of our favorite dishes was the lamb chops. I didn't have a dish there I didn't enjoy. They have a lunch buffet 7 days a week that offers a nice selection of their dishes. Highly recommend India Palace.
I don't live the in area any more and am *so* missing good Indian food. Fortunately, I have neighbors who are from India and share their food.
My sister is moving to from Michigan to Naperville very soon (YES!!) & I will certainly let her know about India Palace. Just the other day she asked me to research CH for Indian restaurants in the Schaumburg area - guess there are a lot of Indian restos there? Any good places for pure South Indian for dosas, vadas, etc? Looking forward to visiting Chicago this summer and finally...non-stop flights to visit family!!!
I know this is slightly off topic, but are there are any good Indian restaurants in Chicago proper that do not require the haul up to Devon? We've been to Devon many a time, but it takes forever to get there from Wicker Park. I'm from Ireland originally so Indian curries were a staple "takeout" food in my life until I moved to Chicago. I would love to hear about non-Devon (close to Wicker Park/Bucktown/West Village) Indian places that are good. .
A little east of you, but FAR closer than Devon. I have never been to this Hema's location, but I sincerely do love her Devon and Oakley loc. I like to go at non-peak hours, and ask Hema or her sister or son what I should really order that day. When the place isn't packed, they will hook you up right. I do have friends that like this location as well.
2411 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60614
I may have posted about this before, but I've had some wonderful meals at Shree, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in the western suburbs (655 N. Cass in Westmont). The website (which is a nice one - shreerestaurant.com) says that it is the "oldest and the only" (hmm) South Indian restaurant in the western suburbs. The thali is a fun way to go (12 vegetarian items in one metal tray!). The setting is just lovely, and it is BYO.