Vajra, a contemporary Nepalese and Indian restaurant in West Town, will debut on Thursday and reservations are online. It’s the first South Asian restaurant in Chicago on Tock, the reservation system from the co-founder of the Alinea Group. That could mark a change in how food from that region is perceived, as Alinea is a name synonymous with fine dining. However, Vajra won’t be over the top — it’s a casual restaurant that aspires to show off fine dining touches such as tasting menus on holidays.
The restaurant takes over the space vacated in October 2017 by the Charlatan at 1329 W. Chicago Avenue. Co-owner Dipesh Kakshapaty is Nepalese and helped open Cumin, a well-regarded Nepalese restaurant in Wicker Park. While the restaurants are nearby and will serve similar items, such as momos — the popular Nepalese dumplings — Vajra’s approach is different. While a menu wasn’t available immediately, Kakshapaty teased unique items such as goat steak. He’ll also use suppliers used at many successful Chicago restaurants such as meat from Slagel Family Farm and Rare Tea Cellar.
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The Soft Opening | Vajra Restaurant; the first edition of Rice Paper & Company ( RPAC) happily announces the soft opening at 5 pm on 14th of this February, Thursday | Reservations can be made through TOCK by clicking on Reserve button | #chicago #restaurant #nepalesecuisine #indiancuisine #westtownchicago #goodfood #chicagorestaurants #noblesquarechicago #vforvajra #vajragram #eaterchicago #likefoodchicago #eeeeeats
Kakshapaty also mentioned a bar program that will use Rare Tea Cellar teas and South Asian ingredients. Vajra is a reference to the mace-like weapon used by Indra, a deity that appears in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts. The restaurant is among a trio of modern South Asian restaurants opening in Chicago this year joined by Rooh in West Loop and Superkhana International in Logan Square. All aim to challenge perceptions of Indian food. They’re departures for the Chicagoans who expect to only find Indian food clustered in Rogers Park along Devon Avenue, the epicenter of much of the city’s South Asian population.