Monday, February 2, 2009

I've been such a slacker on updating this web site.  I really want to be good about it this year, since we recently noticed it's so helpful when we want to recall what/when/where we ate.  Also, instead of going to the same ole places we're comfortable with, we made a list of places to check out in the city & burbs, so reviews will be great references for us.  This year, I really hope to explore cuisine we're not as familiar with...ethiopian, egyptian, soul food, indian, mediterranean..

First to review is Shikara Indian Restaurant.  Bobcat LOVES curry of all kinds.  He claims he can eat curry consecutively (all three meals) for several weeks.  I asked him, "what if it's eating curry for dinners-only?  how long would you be able to last?"  his response, "oh I can do that forever."  He wants to go on a curry tour.

We selected Shikara Indian Restaurant because I found a "buy 1 meal, get 1 free" coupon in the mail (which, by the way, Bobcat was embarrassed to use).  A part of me was hesitant, since reviews online weren't great (mostly listed it as overpriced).  This restaurant wasn't mentioned by Bobcat's Indian co-workers nor our acquaintance that we met several weeks ago either.  But who can resist getting a free meal via coupon??

Overall, it's a nicer, more spacious, probably fancier Indian restaurant than usual.  The menu's extensive, but everything we chose was quite good... definitely strong on spices (as Indian food should be).  We had plenty of leftovers that we consumed for lunch the next day...I think I am addicted. I miss the blend of Indian spices and cannot wait to explore further.

Here's what we ordered:

Mattar Paneer
Green peas and homemade Indian cheese cubes prepared with spiced onion, tomato, and roasted cumin sauce to perfection.

This was good, but a little too salty to eat by itself.  I wish the bread or rice we ordered came out with this dish.

These are 4 sauces that came with the dish.  They also brought over typical flat crackers.

Chicken Curry
Boneless cubes of spring chicken cooked in a savory onion, tomato, and garlic sauce.
This was my favorite...perfectly creamy and flavorful sauce, very tender chicken...just a little stronger than the Japanese roux.  I guess that's to be expected since it probably originated in India.

Tandoori Chicken
Again, the chicken was perfectly tender and moist.  I loved wrapping some onions and chicken in the bread, and eating it like a tiny sandwich.

Onion Kulcha
Leavened bread stuffed with chopped onions, cilantro, and mild seasonings,
baked in the clay oven.

Aloo Parantha
A multi-layered whole wheat bread stuffed with seasoned potatoes, finely chopped cilantro and mild spices, baked in cly oven

Both of the breads were good (I preferred Onion over potatoes), but I think I'm going with plainer versions next time.  Unless I'm eating bread by itself, all the additions distracts the main dish so much that it no longer complement it.

Peas Pulao
Basmati rice cooked with green peas and cumin.

Nothing special - just a few veggies in the rice, adding a bit of texture and lightly flavored peas -- probably would be fine paying a few dollars less for the plain rice, since we're eating it with the curry.

Indian Beer - Flying Horse
Belvediere Martini

As for service, the manager and host were both welcoming and professional.  We waited a while to place orders (even though it wasn't that busy).  It was the manager that noticed we've been waiting and told the waiter that we're ready.  The waiter was one of the worst...I can barely understand him, he wasn't that friendly, and he kept pressuring us to order pricier dishes (as well as more dishes than we need).  The host wrapped up our food, and took our coupon.  Instead of deducting the lower priced tandoori chicken (I think $8), he deducted our appetizer ($11).  (curry was around $15)

After all of the food & drinks we had, we paid around $66... not bad.  According to reviews online, this restaurant is considered overpriced, so without the coupon...we can probably find cheaper restaurants with equally delicious food.  we shall see!

Shikara Restaurant
1620 75th Street, Downers Grove, IL
Phone: 630.964.1720

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