-Grubbing in Chicago
Modern Indian Food in North Center
Indian food is having a bit of a moment in Chicago right now. It's by no means new to the city. Over on Devon (or "Little India" as some people call it) Indian food and culture has had a major presence in the area since the 1960's. As time went on mom and pop Indian restaurants began to open in neighborhoods like Wicker Park and such and with that Indian food became readily available in and around Chicago. Over the last five years or so it's taken the next step as the city has welcomed a collection of new restaurants and pop-ups doing things we hadn't previously seen in terms of both regionality and originality. This next step is typically taken when a new generation of chefs start to come up. Chefs that grew up in Indian households but did so in the U.S or elsewhere and in doing so were exposed to different food and cultures that they can be inspired by plus all of that which they learned in their own homes. I hope that makes sense. What I'm saying is I think Indian food is headed where other Asian cuisines have recently gone in Chicago. We're seeing more places that focus in on the regional aspects of the cuisine while also putting their own creative spins on the classics and such. Basant is that type of spot. It opened last year and I was immediately intrigued.
Newly Opened in North Center
Basant describes itself as both modern and traditional. It's location is kind of hidden on Byron street right off of Lincoln avenue. But that hasn't stopped the neighborhood from taking note. We recently dined in on a Friday night around the peak time for reservations (7:30) and the place was completely booked. So reservations are recommended. Most of the online reviews are glowing but it's always tough to gauge the knowledge of those doing the reviews. But then it was the menu that got me in to begin with. There isn't as many options as a typical Indian restaurant though plenty of the favorites can still be found. For starters an order of veggie (potato) samosas hit the spot we were looking to scratch when we decided we wanted Indian food for dinner. Since it was a Friday during Lent we also chose to get an order of Fish Amritsari and Chips. Truth be told we would've ordered this no matter what day and or season it was. Both the fish and chips were seasoned really nicely with a dry spice similar to chaat masala. My knowledge of Indian food is limited but what I do know is it's one of the most regional cuisines in the world so I'm always on the lookout for regional specific dishes. I found one here by way of the Kashmir Valley. It's called Lamb Gushtaba and it consists of tender meatballs in yogurt based sauce. It certainly hit the spot. Basant has a full bar with interesting cocktails too.
Dinner at Basant (click pics to enhance)
Basant Modern Indian
1939 W Byron St
Chicago, IL 60613
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