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Swagat - new indian and Gemato's - an old grill in N'ville (long)


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Swagat - new indian and Gemato's - an old grill in N'ville (long)

dickson d | Feb 27, 2004 02:40 PM

Don't go to Fox Valley to eat - there is better stuff, just around the corner.

I recently stated here that I thought the golden age of Indian food in N'ville was over - the Paki place closed, Bhartmela is skinnying up their lunch buffet, and Indian Summer appears to be in terminal decline. I am happy to say I seem to have been wrong, again.

Have you ever noticed that there are good & bad locations for chow? Some locations are death to restaurants, and the food they offer while still breathing is none too good. Other locations seem to offer good food, and lots of choices. The good and bad locations do not make sense - Cress Creek Mall in N'ville for instance supports 3 terrible restaurants, and lots of useful stores, but the one decent place died quickly. A little down the road, at Jefferson and Ogden, is a dead, dead, dead mall - Jefferson Square, with 2 good chow destinations. It used to be a Kmart, then a Menard's, and now it is a big boarded up building with a big empty parking lot, an island up front and a little strip mall hidden from the street along one side. Its neighbors are car dealers, a Quaker Oats plant, and a little car repair mall. For Naperville, this is about as down & out as it gets.

Up on the island is Gemato's Grill which I have posted on before, tho I do not think I have convinced anyone here to try it. My family, friends and coworkers are all quite pleased to go back regularly. A pink fast food joint with a wood-fired grill. In addition to burgers, gyros, and dogs, they offer grilled chicken, shish kabobs (pork & chicken) and barbecue, as well as great greek potatos, which is their best thing. I am not a fan of the barbecue as it is roasted, then briefly finished over the wood fire, and sauced with some doctored, commercial sauce, but I do eat the pork sandwich from time to time with a bunch of onions and tabasco, as the meat is pretty good if not truly barbecue. The Greek chicken (really roast chicken) and both shish kabobs are excellent, however, and the burgers seem pretty good. All benefit greatly from the final char over the wood fire. Check it out.

And now, hidden way back in the corner where the dearly departed Yen Ching used to be (though Yen Ching has not been good in the 5 years since it was sold to new owners)is Swagat. South Indian, a little heavy on the incense, but a big comfortable room. Lunch offerings are thali, and an idly, vada, dosai combo. Dinner has larger portions of the same offerings. On 2 visits, I have had the vegetarian thali (2 curries, rice, rasam, sambar, raita, pickle, papadam, chappati and pudding), and the idly, vada, dosai combo, which also includes sambar and coconut chutney. Companions have had the non-veg thali (adds 2 meat curries to the above), navaratan korma (mixed vegetables and nuts in a sweeter gravy) and aloo mutter (spicy potatos and peas). With my combo, I had a paper masala dosai (thin and crispy, spread with hot chutney and filled with potatos and onions).

I was able to try all of the above, and everything has been very good. Nicely seasoned, fresh, and cooked well, full of flavor from fresh spices and complex spice mixes. This place is my favorite today, particularly for lunch as the food is made from scratch and not on a buffet. Cuisine of India still deserves mention for meat and Northern Indian food, but I think Swagat is doing better work than Bhartmela at present. And the place was fairly busy at 6pm on a Thursday, with about 6 tables occupied, all the others being Indians (a good sign for an ethnic place, IMO). And the place is very reasonably priced.

A wonderful thing, don't mind if I gush.

Gemato's Grill
1566 W. Ogden Ave
Naperville, IL 60540

1570 W Ogden
Suite 101-102
Naperville, IL 60540


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