This week Erin and Cinnamon and I got together for dinner at India House. We had all been jonesing for Indian food and so we’d decided that we wanted to go to an Indian restaurant for our next dinner.
It was funny… fate.. on the day that I emailled Cinnamon and Erin about setting up a date for Indian dinner the Groupon for the day was for India House. I honestly wasn’t sure about buying it. Cinnamon lives right by Devon and so that is where we’ve gone in the past when we had an Indian food craving. I checked with Cinnamon and Erin and they were willing to try an Indian restaurant in (gasp!) River North, so I bought the Groupon and this week we went.
I realllllly wanted the food to be good so we could go back and you know what? It was really good. The menu is HUGE. The restaurant was not too packed with people, but not empty. And the interior was nice, but not too formal or fancy. Very comfortable all round.
I thought it was strange at first that we weren’t served papadum in the beginning of our meal. We were served a bread that was sort of like buttered strips of naan. It’s not that I was disappointed or that I love papadum so much, but I guess I”m just used to the routine of getting it at the beginning of every Indian dinner. No matter.
For an appetizer we had Bhindi Amchur, which is deep-fried, wafer-thin slices of okra that is sprinkled with tangy Indian spices. Erin had this somewhere else once and remember that she loved it, so we ordered it. It was SO good. Exactly what the description says.. crispy, tangy, addictive. We had this whole discussion about the first time we’d ever eaten okra. Erin and Cinnamon grew up having it fried, but my dad used to make it boiled and it was the grossest thing ever. It took me a long time to come to terms with okra and realize that if you fry it, like most things fried, it is delicious.
For another appetizer we ordered Papdi Chaat, homemade pastry crisps topped with boiled potatoes, chopped onions, and cilantro, smothered with sweet chutney and chilled light yogurt. Think nachos for this one. The pastry chips were round like round tortilla chips and you could sort of eat this dish in the same way. It was a cold dish, though, unlike nachos. I was telling Erin and Cinnamon about the Samosa Chaat that I had in New York and how great it was, so that’s why we ordered a chat. I liked the one in New York better, but this was still very good.
We decided that for our main courses we would each order something and share with everyone else so that we could sample a few different things. Since I haven’t gotten it for a while, I ordered my old standby: Chicken Tikka Masala, which is chunks of chicken roasted in a clay oven and then folded into a creamy sauce. Cinnamon ordered a dish none of us had ever heard of: Chicken Badami, chicken cubes cooked in a rich almond-flavored sauce. Erin ordered a vegetarian spinach dish. I think it was Palak Paneer, fresh cottage cheese cubes in a spicy spinach sauce.
Finally, for a bread we ordered Khandhari Naan, a rare bread made with leavened dough and a rich sprinkling of pistachio nuts. The three of us will never forget the delicious pistachio bread we had at Bhabi’s Kitchen (now closed, sad face!). I have to tell you… I was very happy with all of the food we had, and this includes the naan, but nothing is ever going to top that bread we had at Bhabi’s. Never ever! It was SO good. All in all, though, India House did not disappoint and I’m sure I’ll be back, now that it passed the test!
Of course it is always great to go out with Erin and Cinnamon. We don’t see each other often, but when we do, we just pick back up where we left off and it is so great. So much has happened to everyone that we had so much to talk about. Erin is expecting a baby girl in February, I’m getting married in February, and Cinnamon has gone on a bunch of trips over the summer. So nice to catch up with the ladies and enjoy some super delicious food.
Oh! I almost forgot… dessert! At the end of dinner they brought out dessert menus and we were so busy talking that we didn’t really look at them. The waiter came back a few times and we still hadn’t really looked. So, Erin and I both looked down at the dessert menu and the first thing that we read was “golden fried balls.” BINGO! I didn’t even read the rest. I’d eat golden fried balls of anything, I think. So we ordered it. It was Gulab Jamun, golden fried balls of milk pastry soaked in a sweet saffron syrup and served hot. Cinnamon had this dish before and said we would not be disappointed. OMG. So delicious. What a great dinner.