Sometimes you get a craving for one type of food, and it almost doesn't matter where you get it. The Feast takes a look at local restaurants that all serve a single food in common with one another. This week The Feed takes a close look at one cuisine that spices up in a variety of ways: Indian food.
What's great about the notable Indian restaurants in Naperville is that they each have their specialties. Indian Harvest is known for it's focus on Northern Indian dishes. This means a menu with a good deal of spicy curry options and Tandoori plates. The menu really runs the gamut here, though, and ranges from vegetarian items to seafood dishes and back again. Loyal regulars who like this place really like this place: some say that it features naan superior to any they've had elsewhere. Others pine away for warm summer days so that they can sit on the patio overlooking the pond outside. Luckily for Naperville, Indian Harvest can cater to it's customers no matter what they're in the mood for, and the wide ranging menu means that no one ever has to make up their mind. Entrees like the Tandoori Mix, an assorted presentation of their different Tandoori kebabs with dal makhani, Basmati rice & naan start at about $17, though most entrees are in the $12-$14 range.
It might not look like much from the outside, but Chataka Masti is a deceptively large space. Featuring an upstairs and downstairs level of dining, the spacious interior takes one by surprise as much as their food does. Chataka Masti has three different areas of focus: it's menu is wholly vegetarian, the food is extraordinarily spicy, and many of the menu items are savory fried pastries like samosas or masala dosa. Chataka Masti offers an Indian approach to fast food takeout for local lunchers on the go. The restaurant offers a vegetarian sandwich, bag of chips and a pop for just $5. It doesn't sound very Indian, but let Chataka surprise you. Just don't let it surprise your taste buds if you're a spice wimp: this place is beloved among fire breathers for a reason.
Whereas Indian Harvest has the dishes of the north under control, Dakshin offers the dishes of the south. However, for an extra added twist, the chefs at Dakshin let their Chinese influence shine through and offer up a blend of food cultures in an Indo-Chinese style. One is just as likely to find naan and Tandoori on this menu as they are to find fried rice and American chop suey. One popular feature here is the Friday night buffet, with vegetarian and carnivorous items separated from one another, as well as the on site bakery. Dakshin does catering as well, and is currently promoting it's 'Onsite Dosa Party' in which it brings it's equipment to your location, and cooks up fresh Indian bread with several different types of chutney sauces.
Regulars say that this restaurant holds it's own against some of the better Indian food in the region. Comparing the cooking here to Chicago's famed Western and Devon area is saying a lot, and customers who cared enough to comment on CoI online say it again and again. The buffet here is dangerous, responsible for more than a few food comas, and the a la carte items feature huge portions as well. As far as the decor goes, this restaurant is pretty bare bones, but that doesn't effect what most people head here for: the delicious eats. A quick tip: end your meal with the homemade mango ice cream.
Curry Leaf is the land of daily specials. Despite being the newcomer to Naperville's Indian restaurant scene, owner Bhupendra Singh has more than 25 years experience in restaurants. He also happens to be a pretty amazing singer, which is why Curry Leaf hosts a weekly karaoke event on the first Friday of each month. Otherwise, this restaurant features a rotating array of specials that go a long way toward ensuring that it's always fairly busy: most dishes are half off on Monday nights, and the rest of the week other certain areas of the menu get the same treatment. This restaurant, like Dakshin, offers a number of Indo-Chinese dishes, making it possible to get your Indian and Chinese food fix almost simultaneously. Notably, Curry Leaf offers a large banquet hall that can accommodate more than 100 people as well as delivery.