I feel its fair to mention I have had experience as a Food Blog/Critic in Chicago for a site for world travelers who will gather with visitors for events and dining.
This is a 2 visit review: Dined 4/29/13. 2.5 STARS w/promise Grand Opening sign up for the past 5mo? I have been frequenting Indian Cuisine for 10 years now. One of my best friends owns a fantastic Indian restaurant on Devon Av. In Chicago IL (Heart of the Indian Culture in Chi-town
The staff is in chaos, no training by mgmt. on serving procedures, the female staff have very lovely personalities. We received our ordered appetizer, no small plates for us to put food on. Frequently re-asking for things.
The Food: Tamarind chutney lovely! The Mint chutney was watered down & pathetic. Are we being cheap? 1st thing a customer taste, you want to Excite & delight , not depress me before I’ve gotten to my meal.
The Vegetable Pakora: Batter and style of a funnel cake drizzle, I enjoy. Green pepper and Green beans? Where’s the Cauliflower, Spinach, Onion??? At least they did dust it with the Chad Masala, which is a lovely addition to a Vegetable Pakora.
Chicken (Murgh) Tikka Masala arrived with the Garlic Naan: We ordered 2, got 1, honest mistake. The Garlic Naan was ordered to be Thin & Crispy, came med thick & limp w/no flavor or odor of garlic, NOTHING. The chicken dish could use a lil more yogurt but otherwise edible. The HORRIFYING aspect was the way they presented the plate. They served it on a 7"Oval plate, no garnish, just a very small portion slopped on this plate.
Their website shoes lovely food images on elegant/fancy creative dishes. Talk about misrepresentation? Their entire food presentations were all bland, not imagination, creativity or visual appeal.
Audibly: No stimulating music, very few customer.
2nd Visit last night: HORRIFIC! 1 star. The Male management/owner(s) were there. The man was very abrasive, condescending to an Elderly couple & even to me. Manager is argumentative, talking down to the customer as if he was revered, rather than making them the star. The Elderly “White” Grandma inquired as to why the dish was so spicy. The mgr didn't respond appropriately, they wont be back. The customers face as they left said it all. You don't talk down to your customer, it's not their job to know better. It's your responsibility to inquire upon order how spicy a customer want their food. CLUES: They live in Texas, They are White Americans, They are very OLD. HELLO? SPICY/HOT FOOD?
When trying to get the Papadum/Chutney, the man refused to give it to us prior to our order. Told us we needed to order 1st, later explain that his reason was - people will come in, get that dish & not order appetizers. Quite an assumption! This is a 1st for me in any of Indian restaurants 10yrs.
You could hear the same man in the kitchen bickering and arguing. When I ordered my Naan Think & Crispy I got the condescending tone of how they can't make it this way because there is garlic on it. What a big pile of dung! 10 years of ordering my Naan this way, I don’t think so! I tried to laugh it off telling him that “I have faith in you”. The Naan came back with a TON of garlic and a Pile of Cilantro literally covering the entire Naan. Again, the argumentative manager telling me this is how it comes. As I tried to advise him that is not so, he completely ignored me, talked over me & walked off w/o listening to me, to return to give an excuse that the cook misunderstood the writing on the ticket. It was the Manager who argued with me telling me that is how Garlic Naan there comes!!
When the mgr delivered my food, he decided to turn on this rotating fan, while I waited for him to resolve the Naan issue, I & my main dish got cold, as well had to ask for rice! With in 2 minutes my Naan was cold mush because of this fan & no one around to request to turn it off. My meal was ruined. I couldn't eat it! The Ras Malai was a joke, it is not fresh, came out with no dried fruit or nuts on it, the texture was hard and grainy. The mgr didn't like that I had requested him to put nuts/fruit on as is the tradition of Ras Malai desert. I got yellow raisins & some mystery powder w/not explanation.
The final straw was having to hear this loud annoying Diners Bell throughout my meal. The kind you’d find at a Dry Cleaner desk or a cheap motel. !!!!!DING!!!!..... !!!DING!!!... if the food was not picked up promptly, the bell was slammed harder & more repeating. HOW UNSETTLING & In no way a relaxing experience!! When I made the comment to them about this.. The mgr responds that other restaurants have this. WTF? MAYBE A dive Diner from 1980.
Are they trying to make a great experience for the customer? NO! The mgr clearly is oblivious. He & his staff need a STAT visit from Gordan Ramsey! This is a HELLS KITCHEN Special! No GOOD stimulation of your senses.