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Little India is Big on Flavor

By John DiGilio in Food on Jun 2, 2011 7:00PM

The name notwithstanding, there is nothing small about Edgewater's Little India. From the generous size of the dishes to the big, bold flavors, it is a giant among Chicago's more petite Indian outlets. Their menu is every bit as extensive as any you might find in one of the bigger restaurants on Devon. Little India offers tandoori specialties, curries, meat and seafood dishes, desserts, and a plethora of vegetarian options. Best of all, the prices won't break your bank.

We strolled into Little India looking for a leisurely, and tasty, weekend lunch. Though our curry cravings would normally have taken us to one of the many fine restaurants that line Devon, that day we were in Edgewater and wanted to stay. From the moment we walked through the door, we knew we had made the right decision. While we were warmly greeted by the hostess, our noses were equally welcomed by a tantalizing array of smells. With so many fragrant spices used in the cooking, Indian restaurants should smell good. Little India was olfactory utopia! Add to that the bright, comfy interior and excellent service and we knew we were going to be there for a while.

We whetted our palates and appetites with the vegetable samosa appetizer. Two substantial dumplings bursting with potatoes, green peas and cilantro, they were cooked to a crispy, golden perfection. They were also spiced just right - enough to let you know you were in an Indian restaurant, but not so heavily as to require triage of the tongue. After taking our time savoring the samosa, we ordered one of our favorite dishes and the one by which we tend to judge most Indian eateries, mutter paneer. A dish featuring cubes of homemade cheese and green peas in a tomato - cream sauce, it is wildly popular among vegetarian diners. The hallmark of a good mutter paneer in our opinion is not being stingy with the cheese. Little India certainly hit that mark with us. The cubes of paneer were plentiful, large, and wonderfully soft. We paired our paneer with some tasty naan and rice pulao. Though we ate slowly, we got stuffed.

Throughout the entire meal, and we certainly took our time, the service at Little India was attentive and friendly. Some meals deserve to be savored slowly and in the company of good friends. This was just such a meal and it was enjoyable from beginning to end. We sadly did not have any room left for dessert. Next time, we will make it a point to save some. We also took a good bit home as leftovers. Let us just say that everything was equally as good the next day. Given how much we enjoyed our lunch, it was a surprise to us all that anything even made it overnight.

Little India is located at 1109 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue.