Lombard, Strip Mall, Vegetarian Restaurant. Nice small room with powder blue paint and a few Indian pieces of art. We started with an appetizer of Dahi Vadia, described on the menu as lentil donuts in yogurt. Two donuts probably baked, definitely not fried about 4 inches in diameter served in a boat full of thin tangy yogurt with a pleasant sourness. It was garnished with fresh cilantro, ground toasted coriander seeds and some sort of small crunchy puffed sesame crisp. This whole dish was drizzled with a sweeter than normal tamarind chutney with large chunks of a yet to be identified fruit. This was a colorful, well-balanced dish with contrasting textures and flavors of sweet, sour and salty almost bordering on a confection. We ate the whole thing.
After being embarrassed at previous Indian restaurants for ordering a ridiculous amount of food we kept it simple. One order of Vegetable Briyani, one order of Baingan Bharta, or roasted eggplant with tomatoes, onions, peas and assorted spices and one order of Pratha to round it out. The veg briyani was respectable, plenty of carrots, peas, chilies and cardamom pods and garnished with a slice of tomato and onion. A bit of heat but not hot.
The eggplant dish was well....I could whip out my thesaurus and pick fabulously descriptive words a la Dennis Miller until I go blind...satisfying. Deeply roasted and generously spiced, this was a good accompaniment to the rice and a bit higher on the heat level than the rice. The pratha was warm, tender and flaky. No complaints. My wife ordered a cup of coffee, the waiter asked, Indian style? Sure. She received a cup of full bodied coffee with a huge head of foamed milk. This was excellent coffee in an unexpected place. Our server was warm and gracious and able to answer any questions regarding the food. The menu has a large selection of dosais, uthappams and various curries along with a few specials on the table.
Next door is a small Indo-Pak grocery named Taj Mahal. This is a little store but has a decent selection of about 6 or 7 different white and whole-wheat flat breads and naans as well as a large choice of bulk spices, premixed packaged seasonings and a Halal butcher counter with any part of the cow or goat you could want at low prices. Fresh catfish and whitefish are available as well.
837 E Roosevelt Rd
Same strip mall