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Tour West Town’s Contemporary South Asian Restaurant With Tandoori Venison

Vajra hopes to shatter what Chicagoans think of Nepalese and Indian food

Find traditional and modern South Asian fare at Vajra.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Though the restaurant is still working on securing its liquor license, the bar program could be one of the highlights at Vajra, the new Nepalese and Indian restaurant that opens Thursday in West Town. Solid cocktails are a way to ensure survival inside the former Charlatan space and something South Asian restaurants lack in Chicago. But they’re becoming increasingly popular at restaurants like Mango Pickle, and even the upcoming Superkhana International which spun out from a pop-up held at bars.

Vajra, pending the license, will eventually serve spirit-free and boozy drinks, riffs on classics like mango lassi. The bar will never be the center of the restaurant; South Asian traditionalists may balk at that. Vajra will still try to innovate, but there’s something for everyone: Diners can still find chicken tikka masala and garlic naan. But they’ll also find goat kebobs and tandoori venison.

Check out the space and a few shots of the food below. Vajra opens tonight. Reservations are on Tock.

Vajra, 1329 W. Chicago Avenue, (312) 929-4990, hours not posted yet.

“Vajra” is a South Asian mace-like weapon.
A long white bar with shelves filled with canisters of tea and wooden screens behind it.
The bar will hopefully soon have a liquor license.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
The newly decorated dining room.
No room for a buffet here.
Tandoori venison
Chicken tikka masala
Dhingri matar (mushroom and pea curry)
Rayo Ko saag (mustard greens)
Garlic naan
Heritage goat curry
Wailuku (butterfly pea syrup, gin, lime juice, egg white)
Mango lassi with habanero syrup
French Lavender, Salt, and Soda


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