Tandoor Char House

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Tandoori mixed grill

My family is from India, so I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken tikka masala. With that being said, the strong, spicy flavors of Indian food never really get old to me.

A lot of my friends are surprised to hear that I’m not terribly picky about the authenticity of it – I enjoy Indian fusion, dishes that take the flavor profile of Indian food and integrate it in an unusual way; that’s probably why I was so excited to try Tandoor. That’s also probably why I wanted to order the tandoori chicken pizza even though my dining companion vehemently objected. “Why would we ever order pizza at an Indian place?” he said.

We did order curly fries though. Tandoor’s take on this carnival favorite comes with chaat masala, an Indian spice blend. These were good – I mean, I’ve never met a curly fry (or any fry, really) that I didn’t like. They did lack a really strong flavor, though. I would say that while they were certainly good curly fries, they were fairly standard. We also ordered a palak paneer, which is a popular dish consisting of cheese cubes with spinach as well as a mixed grill platter.

As for the main dishes, the paneer was good, a nice creamy consistency, though a little bland even though we requested it spicy. The mixed grill was better: a generous selection of marinated chicken, shrimp and beef kabobs. These came with a side of tikka gravy that honestly tasted more like vodka sauce than anything else. All in all, this place seemed to cater to a more American palette. The food was rather bland. The good news? It’s accessible to those who aren’t familiar with food from this part of the world. Oh, and it’s BYO, so four for you, Tandoor Char House.

I think you should:

Take it or leave it. Take it if you’re new to Indian food, interested in trying it, and a little apprehensive. If you don’t want food that scorches your tongue (or have a weaker stomach) this is the place for you. If you’re expecting flavor-saturated, authentic dishes, go to Devon Street instead.

Go on a: Weeknight. I went on a Tuesday night and while the place was by no means empty, it was nice and quiet and getting a table was a breeze.

Go with: A date or a friend you haven’t seen in a while. It’s an intimate space, perfect for a quiet conversation.

Wear: Something moderately nice, but certainly not fancy. I went with a pair of jeans, a sweater and booties.

Bring: A bottle of wine, or perhaps beer if that’s your preference.  Pro tip: Hit up Devon Street’s liquor stores for a few varieties of Indian beer. I imagine they would pair well with this food. Not feeling boozy? Try a lassi, which is a yogurt drink, essentially a smoothie. Mango lassis are delicious but Tandoor also has a blueberry lassi on its menu, an unsual yet tasty-sounding option.

Order: The garlic naan was the winner of our dishes, but I would recommend going for the more “fusion-ish” dishes here. If I ever go back I will insist on trying that tandoori chicken pizza. They also had an Indian-inspired pasta dish on the menu. Interesting, no?
2652 N. Halsted
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 327-2652
Image credit: Tandoor Char House
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