Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cumin

When I was in undergrad my buddy Supreet and I were always in search of good Indian food. Too bad that Champaign basically had Bombay Grill and Ziggys (not necessary a plethora of options). To add insult to injury, Supreet was boycotting Bombay for their unreasonable prices. Well nowadays Supreet's back in India eating food so authentic it'd turn my stomach inside out, but I'm still here looking for good spots in America. This past week my friend Jodi and I decided to check out one of the more talked about places in the city, Cumin.

Logistics
Cumin is on Milwaukee and Wood in Wicker Park. Just like every other good restaurant in Wicker Park, you can expect a moderately cramped restaurant with long waits. We went on a Tuesday, and I was happy we had a reservation because it was pretty full. The inside is well decorated and seems kind of trendy, but there's definitely not too much breathing room. Good thing the neighborhood dress code is skinny jeans.

The service was fantastic. There seemed to be a large amount of employees for how many tables there were, and we were checked on multiple times to make sure everything was alright. Our waters seldom got half empty and our food came out promptly.

I thought the price was more than reasonable. I've come to expect that any Indian restaurant has dinner entrees in the $12-$15 range, and that's what they had here. We however went for the platter for 2 which was 3 entrees, 3 sides, and dessert for $38. It said for 2, but it could definitely feed 3. They also have a lunch buffet for $11 (not applicable in our case).

The Food
At first I was interested in one of the Chaat appetizers, but Supreet says that it just doesn't taste right unless a dirty street vendor mixes it with his bare hands. Instead we went for the non-vegetarian platter for 2. This included a Mixed Tandoori Plate, Dal Makhani (lentil dish), Lamb Curry, a basket of Naan, Matar Pulau (rice with peas), Raita, and Kheer.

The Mixed Tandoori Plate

The Dal Makhani

The Lamb Curry

The Naan

 The Kheer

The Naan was excellent with a nice soft center and spots that were a little crispy at the edges. Some times I feel like a good piece of Naan could keep me coming back to a place by itself, and this was almost that good. The tandoori plate came with some chicken and lamb that was delicious. The lamb came out a little tough, but the spice rubs were a nice touch. The Dal Makhani had lentils and some other kind of beans in a rich sauce (maybe a little too rich). It was nice that the other beans gave a different texture to what can otherwise sometimes be a mushy dish. The highlight was definitely the Lamb Curry. Each piece was savory, cooked just right, and soaked in a moderately spicy curry sauce. The dish smelled great too. I know that's not really what everyone's going for, but I could've smelled that plate for a while before eating it if I didn't think I'd look ridiculous. The Raita was a nice way to quell some of the spicy flavors going on, but I only used it sparingly since I didn't want to tone anything down too much. The kheer was very nicely done. Most of the time I get what looks like rice pudding, but this was properly a little bit runny and an excellent way to end the meal.

Overall
The food was delicious across the board. I wish I'd tried something off of their Nepalese menu, but I guess that's something for next time. One thing was that I thought the food could've been spicier. I know we didn't order vindaloo or anything, but I thought some of the dishes were a little rich and not spicy enough. Really though I'm just picking at what was an amazing meal. I'm just saying that maybe it was catered toward American tastes a bit. Next time I go I'll ask them to kick it up a notch with the spiciness (kind of like Ian did at Jaimito's Burritos when he demanded not to be treated like just some gringo). I'm giving Cumin 4 out of 5 Pearls.


Cumin on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

  1. I probably should go back. Went right after opening and service was quite bad. Good food though.

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  2. Just moved to the neighborhood and Cumin is right down the street from me. Will have to give it a whirl as I'm definitely missing all the great Indian and Pakistani food in London!

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  3. I'm a huge fan of this resto, try some of the Nepalese dishes if you're able to go again.

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