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A Critic Embraces Modern Indian Cuisine in the West Loop

Plus Tortello’s pastas make up for the lackluster environment

Rooh’s dining room features high top seating, an orange couch, and a painted mural called Christine by Jenny Vyas,
Rooh’s progressive Indian dishes provide unexpected surprises.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Rooh is “rooted in tradition” but the dishes “embrace, from time to time, ingredients utterly foreign to traditional Indian cuisine” according to Phil Vettel. The tuna bhel is an Indian snack that gets “cross-pollinate[d]” with tuna tartare while gunpowder scallops feature fat, pan-seared scallops in a “creamy corn-curry sauce laced with uni.” Tender Kashmiri lamb ribs, finished with a spiced-apricot glaze, have a “spectacular depth of flavor” and are best paired with the “delicious” varieties of naan. Among the larger plates, the butter chicken is “slightly overcooked” but the butter, cream, tomato, and spice makhani sauce it comes in “has a freshness and liveliness [Vettel’s] not experienced before.” For dessert, the house-made ice creams and sorbets are “exactly what [he] want[s] after a spice-filled meal.” [Tribune]

Tortello’s pastas are worth the premium but the restaurant falls short of “creating a relaxed, comfortable environment in which to fully appreciate those hefty price tags,” writes Maggie Hennessy. The fast-casual spot “draws in passerbys thanks to its picturesque front window” that offers a view of the action. The “beautifully al dente” pasta include toothsome chiusoni in a “delicate, beguiling sauce” of onion, sausage, and saffron-kissed cream; and tortelli stuffed with “luscious” burrata — ”a mellow, sweet and richly satisfying dish perfumed with woodsy sage.” Other dishes, like a simple fennel and orange salad with buttery olive oil, also “drive home the high caliber of ingredients.” The only downside is the tiny dining room, which can get crowded during the dinner rush. Otherwise, the “pasta is exemplary and will lure [Hennessy] back to buy it by the pound.” [Time Out]

Israeli cuisine is finally having its moment at Galit. Mike Sula is wholly impressed by chef Zachary Engel’s Lincoln Park hotspot and it starts with the pita. Made using part heirloom Turkey Red flour, the bread is “darker, more flavorful” and has “heartier, yet softer crumb.” Hummus are “so smooth and dense they seem supernatural,” aided by ingredients like fatty brisket or fried chicken skin. The staple items also “set outstanding standards.” Crisp falafel “open into moist, fluffy chickpea clouds vivid green with herbs” while shakshukah is a “formidable skillet of roasted sweet potato and eggs coddled in tomato sauce.” Even stuffed cabbage turns out to be “extraordinary” as lamb kebabs are swaddled in cabbage leaves, immersed in sweet, hot harissa, and blanketed in tangy lebneh. [Reader]

Lunch is on at Joe’s Imports and the kitchen and staff are “executing at the top of their game.” Joanne Trestrail thinks that “many bites are truly remarkable,” such as a lime-dressed corn salad. A salumi platter packing five meats is similarly “marvelous” while other “memorable bites” include “juicy” Nonna’s chicken atop butter beans, almonds, and Brussels sprouts. There’s also a “spectacular” burger — with pork belly, onion jam, black garlic aioli, and crumbled Shropshire cheese — that’s “for the record books.” [Crain’s]

ROOH

736 West Randolph Street, , IL 60661 (312) 267-2323 Visit Website

Tortello

1746 West Division Street, , IL 60622 (773) 360-1293 Visit Website

Galit

2429 North Lincoln Avenue, , IL 60614 (773) 360-8755 Visit Website

Joe's Imports

813 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 (312) 736-1750 Visit Website

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