Until a few weeks ago, when RST started on me to try the new Bangladeshi place in town, I mostly associated Bangladesh with my 3 record, Concert for the People of Bangladesh, and I mostly associated my three record Concert for the People of Bangladesh, with the cheap cardboard boxes used back then for multi-record sets, and I mostly associate that cardboard box with it always collapsing, and those 3 concert records always all over the place, and now, how do I associate Bangladesh with chow? Good, I thought the food at Sonargaon very good.
Bangladeshis reportedly work and even own many Indian restaurants, but actual Bangladeshi food is rare in Chicago or elsewhere. Sonargaon changes that. In a large, well-lit restaurant, with features that belie its low prices, eaters can now try the food of Bangladesh. Our primary waiter, Sonny, easily led us to the more Bangladeshi options on the menu, and after serving each dish, waiting a bit too long to see if we truly liked it.
Bangladesh fronts the Bay of Bengal and contains a range of rivers. Bangladeshi food mostly draws from these sources, especially freshwater or sweetwater fish. Sonargaon gets its fish frozen from Bangladesh and presents it more than ten ways including fried, in gravy and minced as kofta, fish balls. The spicing is much milder than Indian food generally. Much flavor comes from onions and other vegetables. We tried "ruhu fry", steaks of ruhu fish, fried and smothered with candy sweet onions and "ruhu bhuda", the same fish stewed in a sauce of pulverized onions.
Sonargaon also has dishes typical of Muslim cooking such as nehari and the grain and meat dish, haleem. They use their tandoor oven well. Chicken tikka was moist and infused from its yogurt marinade, yet fully textured. We also tried a vegetable, bhindi masala (okra). They cook their vegetables less than other places on da' bomb, this looked almost like a Chinese stir fry. Very good, but you have to like okra.
They say their rasmalai is a Bangladeshi version, but we could, in no way, discern how. It tasted like most otherscreamy, sweet and fresh
There is a lunch buffet, with choices mostly typical of Pakistani food--think few vegetables, but we did not try this.
The Sonargaon Restaurant
2306 W. Devon, Chicago