1473 W. Schaumburg Rd
On my last day of my whirlwind trip to Chicago, Cook County, and surrounding counties of Lake, DuPage and Kane, I was looking for some good Indian food. I went straight to Blogger and typed in "Indian Food Chicago" and what people were writing about was India House, so I went there for dinner. What I found was the India House building in a strip mall, as there are many strip malls all over the 'burbs of Chicago, and the building had a banquet side and and a restaurant side. The banquet side was quite similar to the Acropolis Banquet Hall in New York, except that the decor is of India style, and the the food is Indian. There were these ceramic pillars outside the function room doors similar to Greek columns, but the design was intricate with many colors in a design you might associate with wedding henna hand designs.
I entered the restaurant side and the waitstaff was very nice. The service was friendly, and it struck me because most of the service in Indian restaurants that I have been in Nashville, Boston, New York, and Los Angeles have been the surly at best. The waiter came immediately with cut up pieces of Naan and a red cream dipping sauce. Now this Indian restaurant understand the suburban American way of dining, being that there has to be a bread basket, chips and salsa, fried noodles and sweet & sour sauce, or other munchie on the table. The average American restaurant serves way too much food, yet for some reason, the American dining psyche expects to have these free baskets of food before ordering a meal anyway. Anyway, this free offering is going to solidify a lot of the local suburban folks to go back again and again.
All of the meals came with a side of jalapeno peppers, onions and lemon. I thought that was a great idea, and a great marketing ploy. I enjoyed it for what it is worth. I love assembling food, and playing with food, so adding lemon or onion or peppers to each bite was really fun.
When I ordered my meal, I ordered what a French woman, who blogged about India House, orders. She orders a chicken dish with a tomato butter sauce and began bertha eggplant. The deal is, I needed to order 1/4 of the volume of food. The portions here were so big that I ordered enough for 4 people. The food was fine, but a bit heavily salted. But what impressed me was all the other external things about this restaurant that says the owners and managers "get it" when it comes to serving Americans who dine out. The restaurant was tastefully decorated, the tables were covered with cloth, the chairs were of dark wood, the service was like that of a fine steak house, the plates and serving dishes were crisp and visually appealing, and the cost per dish was appropriate. They also seem to do well with families and business dinners.
India House is a small local chain in the Chicago area, and I am really routing for them to do well. It is really great that an Indian owned restaurant understands the American dining casual model and can win at the restaurant game without giving up traditional recipes.