844 W. Randolph S.
Our usual Indian food stomping grounds are usually closer to Devon Ave., but a recent pre-concert dinner took us into the vicinity of the West Loop – home to the modern Indian restaurant Veerasway. We went into Veerasway a bit skeptical. It looked like any other trendy restaurant in the already-trendy West Loop – complete with low lighting, colorful walls and a cool, minimalist interior.
Something about Veerasway looked too picture-perfect, but they started winning us over right away. When we sat down we were given a complimentary basket of Pappadum chips with three dips – raita, cilantro/green chile and ginger tamarind. We had to restrain ourselves from gobbling up all the chips (and the raita especially) and leaving no room for the meal.
Veerasway’s menu, a definite departure from most Indian restaurants, was pretty pared-down. There was one section of more traditional dishes (mutter paneer $14.75) and another of Indo-American fusion dishes (like the curious naan burger $13.75). They also had an extensive drink list (both alcoholic and not), which was definitely the draw for the pre-bachelorette party crowd dining next to us (their hats gave them away).
We were both feeling traditional, so we ordered off of that portion of the menu. L ordered the saag aloo ($14.75) – a (uncharacteristic for L) vegetarian dish consisting of spinach and fingerling potatoes in a cumin, ginger, and chili sauce. M went the carnivorous route with the Tandoor chicken ($15.75) which is a half-chicken marinated in tandoor spices and yogurt. The chicken also came with pickled shallots, lemon and basmati rice. M declared Veerasway’s version of tandoori as the best he’d ever eaten – the spices on the outside had formed a delicious crust and the chicken was perfectly tender. However, despite the uncharacteristic accolades from the judicious M, we both even preferred L’s dish, which despite it’s simplicity was both heartier and spicier than we expected. The cream sauce was perfectly delicious and packed a punch.
Unfortunately, our major bugaboo – paying for bread – was policy at Veerasway, and since we definitely have to have naan we got an order of Olive Oil Naan ($2.50), which was fine, but a bit steep for only a single piece. For dessert we sprung for some drinks, including M’s old standby, the Mango Lassi ($5) and a (tiny) chai tea ($4) garnished with ground black pepper. It was a perfect end to a delicious meal. Though we were skeptical, Veerasway really won us over. The elegant decor, while originally off-putting ended up contributing to the mellow experience and delicious food.