I am used to traditional Indian menus, with the old standards like Tandoori Chicken and Samosas. So, when I was invited to the opening press party for the new, upscale and progressive Indian restaurant and cocktail bar, ROOH Chicago, I thought I would know exactly what would be served to me.
Ok. I was wrong, but the food and drinks were very “right.” Ok. Delicious. And a wonderful evening in the newest addition to Restaurant Row at 736 West Randolph Street.
Let’s give resounding applause to renowned Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar and Chef de Cuisine Sahil Seth for assembling such an innovative cocktail selection of nine seasonal drinks, complete with beautiful, edible flowers inside most of them. This selection includes the Hyderabad Tonic with gin, turmeric, orange thyme, and grapefruit tonic; Pink City with tequila, guava, chili, and ROOH masala; and Malabar Old Fashioned with bourbon, coco-almond, coffee bitters, and maple.
ROOH, meaning soul or spirit, is determined to bring the spirit of India within this modern tri-level restaurant which includes a public and a private dining room downstairs for special parties and events. The space is as classy as the food, too.
“When developing the culinary programming for ROOH Chicago, we have made a conscious effort to work with both local and specialty purveyors to ensure we are providing our patrons with the finest ingredients,” says Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar. He was honored as a Times Chef of The Year in India.
Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar explained that ROOH Chicago has “also put a focus on incorporating the influence of the Chicago food scene into our cuisine by including unique items, such as our take on a hot dog with Malabar prawn sausage and kasundi mustard.”
Cleverly, the chef use local Chicago ingredients and modern techniques to create his beautifully plated and flavorful dishes. Small plates and kulcha, or bread, on the menu will include Green Pea and Goat Cheese stuffed unleavened bread, with shaved fresh truffle, goat butter, and pea shoot; Tuna Chaat with avocado, green mango, chilled melon rasam, and puffed black rice; Cauliflower Koliwada with home-made spiced chickpea batter deep fried and tossed in house peanut chutney, served with tempered yogurt and rice mousse with peanut thecha; and Fresh Oyster served with charred unripened mango granita, pickled chili, and finger lime pearls.
ROOH Chicago offers a selection of large plates such as the Paneer Pinwheel, a roulade of nuts and marinated cottage cheese served with makhani sauce and fenugreek; Achari Monk Fish, wrapped in a bamboo leaf and served with kerala allepey curry; Lamb Chop, coated with pistachio and curry leaf crumb, baby eggplant moussaka, and varuval gravy; and Beef Short Rib Curry, braised in house spice mix of cumin, coriander, and black pepper and served with madras curry, semolina coated bone marrow croquette, and garlic mashed potato. Those looking for a post-dinner sweet treat may enjoy dessert options such as Haji Ali Cream served with fresh mango and honeycomb in a mango shell and Baked Semolina Cake with milk ice cream and toasted pistachio.
This is a definite “go-to” restaurant for appetizers, large and small plate meals and out-of-this-world cocktails. Be sure to add ROOH Chicago to your upcoming dining plans.
The hours of operation for ROOH Chicago are Tuesday-Thursday 5pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday 5pm-11pm, and Sunday 5pm-9:30 pm. For more information about ROOH Chicago, please visit the ROOH Chicago website
All Photos: Barry Brecheisen
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