Reservations are booked until Tuesday at Rooh, the modern Indian restaurant opening tonight in the West Loop. The restaurant has already made a splash on Randolph Restaurant Row, providing the strip with an upscale spot for Indian cuisine in a city with few of those options. This is the second location of Rooh, as the original in San Francisco opened in 2017.
Indian food isn’t a monolith, as regions offer different specialties. Rooh takes from different cities, and fuses them with fancy presentations. The cauliflower koliwada comes with a curd rice mousse. In parts of South India, rice and curds represent a simple, yet iconic dish. Indian Americans sometimes copy this by mixing plain yogurt or buttermilk with white rice. That familiar composition is seen at Rooh, but they’ve gussied up the dish with a mousse and a sprinkle of nori dust. While the dishes are plated like they’re served at a fancy western restaurant, the extra bit of color provides a South Asian touch. Rooh chef Sujan Sarkar has trained around the world and has hired a local staff to bring his recipes to Chicago.
Another dish, butter chicken, is true to its Anglo-Indian origins. Westerners almost expect that dish to appear on Indian menus. All those familiar flavors are intact in the Rooh version, but the chicken is higher quality than most and the dish is elegantly plated.
Indian restaurants often offer an oasis for vegetarians. Rooh pushes the envelope by using jackfruit in its kofta. Jackfruit is a trendy meat substitute — vegan barbecuers swear by it. It’s also the state fruit of Kerala in India, and a welcome addition. Other dishes to note are a curry served with a melt-in-your-mouth beef short rib, and tandoor-smoked pork belly.
There’s only an a la carte menu, so customers can dine family style, sharing flatbreads such as a duck-apricot kulcha and more. Rooh management said a coursed-out tasting menu, like what’s served in San Francisco, could make its way to Chicago in late June or early July. The cocktails are also of note with bars on the first and second floors.
Take a look at some food photos below. Rooh opens tonight on Randolph Restaurant Row. It’s one of the most anticipated openings of the year.
Rooh, 736 W. Randolph Street, (312) 459-7750, open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m on Sunday. Reservations via Resy.