-Grubbing in ChicagoNew to the 'Scene'
There's little doubt that 2019 will go down as the year of Indian food when it comes to picking the years trendiest cuisine. The food of India has waited a long time to join the spotlight but better late than never. Indian food is some of the most complex as far as spices and flavors and also super regional which makes for all sorts of fun stuff to be shown off. 2019 will also go down as a great year for chef driven restaurant openings. There's been some great spots to have opened up and Vajra is not to be forgotten. Vajra opened at the beginning of 2019 and many other spots have opened since then so while it hasn't exactly been forgotten about it's no doubt got some company among the years best openings and as we all know whatever is the newest is usually the hottest. But Vajra is still blazing.
Newly Opened in West Town
Vajra filled a space that had been home to a couple of crowd pleasers. Those two previous tenants were seemingly popular but couldn't make it in this spot. Well I've been to Vajra twice and both times it was packed so I'm hoping they can make this space work. The menu here is a modern ode to both Nepalese and Indian cooking. You'll find many of the classics when it comes to both cuisines. On the Nepalese side there's nothing more classic than Momo dumplings. These are South Asia's gift to the well traveled dumpling family tree. At Vajra they use goat in a few of their dishes and the momo is one of them. Minced goat is spiced up with the traditional flavors of momo which include Nepalese spicing like cumin as well as a mixture of herbs. These were one of my favorite bites of the year thus far. They were extremely juicy, aggressively seasoned, and both the tomato and house special avocado chutney sauces were terrific. The avocado version tasting much like the addictive DF style Avo-Salsa.
Momo Dumplings at Vajra
Elsewhere on the menu you'll find a classic rendition of butter chicken. If you're ordering anything saucy don't forget to pair their perfectly made garlic naan up with it. Actually my only minor complaint thus far is I wish they didn't fill up the curried dishes with as much meat and veggies as they do. The naan is so good I could go there and be totally happy with it and a bunch of sauces such as their terrific madras curry. The coconut based curry will take you straight to the palm trees and sandy beaches of it's native land. If you're big on skewered meats like me the goat seekh kebab is also a classic. Canteen chicken is another a good way to go. Nothing here has been bad. We needed a little boom of Indian food in Chicago and Vajra is doing a good job of helping to lead the way. It's honest Indian cooking with respect given to the ingredients many of which are secured locally. I'm a big fan of what they're doing. Right now it's my go-to spot when the bold flavors of India and Nepal come calling.
Dinner Spread at Vajra
1329 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
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