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    Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 1:17 pm
    Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 1:17 pm Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 1:17 pm
    Leafing through the Russian Yellow Pages (I love living in Chicago), I saw an ad for an Uzbeki restaurant in Buffalo Grove. Has anybody been there? If so, is it worth the trip from the city? I am fond of Uzbek cuisine. There used to be a Uzbeki restaurant in Skokie (I think it was called Tashkent)

    Chaihanna
    19 E. Dundee Rd.
    Buffalo Grove
    847.215.5044

    edited to remove "?" from title.
    Last edited by d4v3 on April 6th, 2010, 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - March 6th, 2007, 10:38 am
    Post #2 - March 6th, 2007, 10:38 am Post #2 - March 6th, 2007, 10:38 am
    Dave mentioned this place at the last North-Clark-a-Thon, so we tried it Friday night. It’s in a nondescript strip mall on the southeast corner of Dundee and Buffalo Grove Road, around the corner from a large shoe store. Seemingly not an auspicious location for ethnic dining. (Actually, the location and the ambiance reminded me somewhat of Kabul House.)

    Bottom line – yes, I think it’s worth a drive from the city.

    I didn’t take any notes, and it was several days ago, but I’ll do my best to summarize.

    Upon entering, at the table was a small bowl of herbed croutons to munch on while looking over the menu.

    We started with the spicy eggplant appetizer. Small slab of eggplant, with a spicy (think garlic, not hot pepper) topping. The eggplant, soft but not limp, was a perfect carrier for the flavorful ingredients on top.

    My companion had Chicken tabaka – basically marinated chicken on the bone cooked under a brick. But the meat was flavorful, with the slightly dense texture from the cooking process.

    I had the Lamb chops – four little “lamb lollipops” – again marinated and very tender. I believe it was the most expensive entrée on the menu, at about $14.

    Our waitress informed us that all the all the plates – similar but not matching – were made in Uzbekistan.

    There’s a small list of Georgian wines (a red and a white, both sweet), so we opted to BYOB for the $5 corkage fee.

    I’ll go back.
  • Post #3 - March 17th, 2007, 2:12 pm
    Post #3 - March 17th, 2007, 2:12 pm Post #3 - March 17th, 2007, 2:12 pm
    And I did go back - last night. Except this time I took the camera, and also took better notes.

    If I didn't know it was Uzbeki, I'd probably think it was Asian, maybe Chinese, from the exterior.
    Image

    As I mentioned, there are complimentary herbed croutons to munch on as you go over the menu. (Note the Uzbek serving dishes.)
    Image

    We probably over-ordered, especially on starters. But we began with the salmon rolls - salmon rolled with soft cheese and a little dill.
    Image

    Spicy Carrot was just what you might expect - thin strips of pickled carrot - a very refreshing opener.
    Image

    Achichuk was another pickled vegetable dish, mainly tomatoes and cucumber.
    Image

    A little more substantial appetizer was the Andijhan - sort of mayonnaise-y cole slaw with beef tongue.
    Image

    The traditional bread is Lepeshki - a good-sized yeast-based loaf (maybe 7" diameter), with a soft crust, decorated with a circular pattern of pinpricks, and a few sesame seeds.
    Image

    My entree was Urama - beef that's sort of a cross between rouladen and a kabob, served with vegetables and a spicy, not sweet ketchup-type sauce.
    Image

    My companion again had the Chicken Tabaka - a full half chicken, marinated with lots of herbs and baked under a brick. Be sure you like garlic.
    Image

    The meal came to $50 before tip, but including the $5 corkage fee (their wine list could be a weak point).

    For such an interesting place, it was disappointing to see that it was virtually empty last night. I'm hoping a little LTH love can find its way out to Buffalo Grove.
  • Post #4 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:47 pm
    Post #4 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:47 pm Post #4 - June 2nd, 2007, 8:47 pm
    Based on this thread, a friend of mine and I headed over to Chaihanna's for an early dinner today. We got there about 5:00, and there was only one other table occupied (with what sounded like a Russian family.

    Our server was not willing to answer when my friend asked him what his favorite thing to eat off the menu was (he just gave us a general "well, everything is good--you can pick some appetizers here..." blah-blah-blah tour of the menu), but he did go into some detail describing the various dishes that don't have decent explanations of what they are.

    We weren't in the mood for too much, so we just got a samsa (a small meat pie that was quite good and not too big), Spicy Carrot (very tasty, and something I wouldn't mind trying to make at home!), the bread (fresh out of the oven, and very yummy basic bread), and a bowl of soup each (my friend had a meat soup, and mine was called [IIRC] "marpan," which was a good beef soup with a not-too-thick broth and lots of bits of dough and veggies included. All told, we only spent $26 with tip and tax.

    Very filling, and delicious overall! I'm going to try and get my dad (who doesn't like to get adventurous when going out to eat) to try this place the next time he comes up to visit from Plainfield. If I tell him it's meat and lots of pickled items, he might be interested!
  • Post #5 - November 15th, 2007, 1:15 am
    Post #5 - November 15th, 2007, 1:15 am Post #5 - November 15th, 2007, 1:15 am
    I like this place; it’s pleasant, shows attention to detail; NR706, the china matches now and it’s pretty. The Wife, who would notice such things, mentioned that it has to be hand-washed (gold-trim requires that, I understand).

    Image

    Pickles were superb.

    Image
    The cabbage had strong notes of clove, and I like the semi-pickled cucumber (if that’s the name for it); even the red tomato was pickled. Pickles are a sure-fire way to sparkle up the tongue for dinner. The eggplant salad was a big hit with the Wife; it was thick and rich with meaty slices of veg. Nice.

    Chak-chak is a standard Uzbek dessert (or so we were told by our charming server), and I thought it looked great: fried noodles with honey.

    Image

    The flavor, though, seemed a little off, but maybe (more'n likely) I just don’t know chak-chak.
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #6 - November 15th, 2007, 1:38 am
    Post #6 - November 15th, 2007, 1:38 am Post #6 - November 15th, 2007, 1:38 am
    DAvid,

    What was your experience of the service flow? I recall earlier reports suggested it was slow paced.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - November 15th, 2007, 1:40 am
    Post #7 - November 15th, 2007, 1:40 am Post #7 - November 15th, 2007, 1:40 am
    Service flow was fine...though for most of our meal, we were the only people in the restaurant, so with one cook in the kitchen and one server in front, it was a 1:1 server/customer ratio.

    Fun part I forgot to mention: there was a black/white kind of Stalin era melodrama on the flat screens; quite entertaining.
    “We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni
  • Post #8 - November 15th, 2007, 3:24 am
    Post #8 - November 15th, 2007, 3:24 am Post #8 - November 15th, 2007, 3:24 am
    David,

    Glad you liked Chaihanna - I've thought it was the kind of place that would've gotten a little more LTH love if it weren't for the location.

    When I've been there, there has usually been another table or two - sometimes large gatherings - of, apparently, Uzbekis, but it's rare to see others there. Definitely needs to be discovered by the rest of us.

    At Bombay Kebab Tuesday, the topic came up about how Uzbek food compared to Afghan cuisine (in part because Mhays and eggplant are planning the Afghan lunch this Saturday; eggplant is originally from Uzbekistan). Even though the two countries share a common border, my limited experience (based only on visits to Chaihanna and Kabul House) is that the each is fairly distinct - for example, I don't remember Chaihanna's variety of pickled vegetables at Kabul House. And I don't remember anything resembling Aushak at Chaihanna.

    Of course, those differences could just be a result of the decisions of the respective owners re: what they choose to put on the menu.

    Anyone want to chime in on the differences/similarities between Uzbek and Afghan cuisine?
  • Post #9 - November 15th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Post #9 - November 15th, 2007, 9:49 am Post #9 - November 15th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Hi,

    Kabul House has long been nearly the only Afghan restaurant in the area. Rene G reported on Afghan Kabob on Montrose at Elston. I brought Josephine there who has been a long term customer of Kabul House. She noted a number of dishes were better executed at Afghan Kabob, which due to her long term experience at Kabul House is meaningful to me.

    I'm looking forward to trying Chaihanna sometime soon.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - November 15th, 2007, 7:20 pm
    Post #10 - November 15th, 2007, 7:20 pm Post #10 - November 15th, 2007, 7:20 pm
    I went back to Chaihanna a few Sundays ago with my dad, a big fan of pickled veggies, beets, and beef, so I just knew it would just his kind of food. Sure enough, he loved the place, and is anxious to return.

    We were there just as they opened on Sunday afternoon (1:00), and were the only customers the entire time. They had Food Network playing on the TV with some Sade music piped in.

    I took care of ordering all the appetizers (Spicy Beets for Dad, Spicy Carrots for myself, a Samsa for us to share) and got the Mampar soup again (very tasty beef, veggie, and noodle soup), and Dad ordered the beef pilaf, which he really liked. I was a bit worried that the spices might be too exotic for him, but he found it delicious. We both discovered that the spices will clear out your sinuses in a way unlike Mexican food--it doesn't burn your mouth like a good salsa can, but it will definitely decongest you!

    Next time I go, I think I'll try the chicken entree, which sounds wonderfully garlicky.
  • Post #11 - February 17th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    Post #11 - February 17th, 2008, 5:51 pm Post #11 - February 17th, 2008, 5:51 pm
    Six of us ate at Chaihanna last night, and had a grand ol' time. Not as grand as the big party in the back of the room, perhaps, but terrific food, I'll be back, I might even try to GNR the place.

    We ordered a bunch of appetizers:
    Lepeshki: A bread that looks like a sesame bialy with a pituitary condition -- thin in the middle and puffy around the edges

    Spicy Eggplant: more of a way to use eggplant to deliver garlic than anything else. Fantastic. Nice slices of eggplant with oily chopped garlic on top. Tasted very strongly of garlic. Garlic was prevalent. Eat if you like garlic. Garlic garlic garlic.

    Beef blintzes: A bizarre concept to me -- I've only had fruit, cheese and potato in the past, but delicious. Fine-ground beef and onions in a three large blintzes, served with sour cream.

    Meat manti: May have been lamb in this, or part lamb, diced not ground. Closer to a large dumpling, I've made these from Routhier's "Cooking Under Wraps" and these are similar. Middle-eastern seasonings, butter-cooked dumplings, also served with sour cream. I liked the blintzes a little better.

    Sour spinach soup: a little borscht-like, not as sour but excellent flavor.

    Mushroom soup: great chicken stock and lots of mushrooms made for an outstanding soup.

    I had the Chicken Tabaka (or Chicken Chewbacca as it became known to our science-fiction loving group). As described above, another garlic delight. Meat was moist but not greasy, with crisp skin.

    MrsF had beef pilaf, which was a bit of a disappointment, as she was expecting something more like a piece of slow-cooked beef on top of the pilaf, rather than small crispy bits within it. Tasty, but inelegant.

    Others at the table had the "rabit in white souse" and kabobs. Everyone agreed it was a place worth returning to.

    A bottle of Georgian wine ("Expensive" said the waitress, at $28) was interesting: a little sweet-and-sour flavor to it, light and pleasant.

    Desserts were a "spiral beignet" (essentially a funnel cake) and the chak-chak. I thought it was like if a rice crispie treat and baklava had a baby. It was nicknamed "Cracker chak-chak" which might be a closer description. They also serve great tea.

    Service was fine -- perhaps a bit on the slow side, and dishes did not all come out at once, but not so far apart that we were upset. The waitress' heavily-accented english was sufficient-enough to get us through some of the odd items on the menu.

    Note: Next door is about to open "Pho U Asian Noodles"
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #12 - February 25th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Post #12 - February 25th, 2008, 12:10 pm Post #12 - February 25th, 2008, 12:10 pm
    Sharpie66 wrote:I went back to Chaihanna a few Sundays ago with my dad, a big fan of pickled veggies, beets, and beef, so I just knew it would just his kind of food. Sure enough, he loved the place, and is anxious to return.

    Sharpie,

    Any and all fans of pickled vegetables should get themselves over to Chaihanna for coral colored pickled cabbage, earthy carrot, half sour cucumber and the star of the pickle lineup, full sour pickled watermelon, which Mike Sula (m'th'su) likened to strong kimchi that had reached the "fizzy" stage.

    Assorted Pickled Vegetables
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    Pickled Watermelon
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    Spicy eggplant was truly so, amped up with garlic and a healthy does of jalapeno.

    Spicy Eggplant
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    We couldn't pass on the tongue salad, but maybe should have as mayonnaise overpowered any potential interesting flavor. All was forgiven with the assorted meat platter, thin sliced tongue and roulad of chicken, both served cold.

    Assorted Meat Plate
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    Both house made Manti, meat and pumpkin, had a strong cumin presense, my slight preference being pumpkin.

    Manti with meat (top) Manti with pumpkin (bottom)
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    Meat blintze had a subtle lovely dried fruit/raisin note, though cheese got the nod from our group.

    Blintzes with meat, cheese.
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    Crisp skin, heavy on the garlic, the interesting brick pressed was tasty even if slightly overcooked.

    Chicken Tabaka
    Image

    Yogurt marinated grilled lamb lollipops, hit of cumin with a nicely tender chew. Not rare, but tasty.

    Grilled Lamb Chops
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    The following three dishes pictured all reminded me of others, pork kebab a Uzbek version of carnitas, Beef pilaf, Uzbeki jambalaya and minced kebab American meat loaf. Of the three I quite liked the minced kebab, though I was mostly alone in this opinion.

    Pork Kebab, Minced Kebab, Beef Pilaf
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    Minced Kebab
    Image

    We finished with Chak Chak and a fruit plate.

    Chak Chak
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    Fruit plate
    Image

    Service was quite good, not slow as some had mentioned, and our very pretty and interactive waitress was free with suggestions, recommendations and a smile.

    Olga, Jazzfood
    Image

    D4V3, great catch, you should browse the Russian yellow pages more often! Puts me in mind of when ReneG picked Mike's Fried Chicken from the yellow pages.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Chaihanna
    19 E Dundee Rd
    Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
    847-215-5044
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #13 - February 25th, 2008, 1:05 pm
    Post #13 - February 25th, 2008, 1:05 pm Post #13 - February 25th, 2008, 1:05 pm
    More recent visits have actually shown much improvement in service, as GWiv notes. My first visit, we waited forever (wondering if it was because we were the only Anglos in the place). On my most recent visits, however, the service has been excellent. They did have new wait staff on more recent visits, so perhaps they have just gotten someone more comfortable with the job.

    I did note that only one poster has mentioned the sour spinach soup. It's one of my favorite things there.

    Also, a note on the "kimchi-like" pickles. Last visit, I was with a friend who'd been in the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan for four years, and she related that the presence of the many Korean-like pickles came from an old Communist tradition of moving Korean prisoners to Central Asia as slave labor. There is even one cabbage dish among the appetizers that, though spelled differently, if said aloud is clearly a corruption of the word "kimchi."

    Another note, if you make a special trip to Chaihanna, you can pop across the street (sort of -- it's the little strip mall on Dundee, where I Am Siam is visible from the street), and there is a wonderful Russian deli/grocer store/backery where you can pick up wonderful foods to take home with you.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #14 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:43 am
    Post #14 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:43 am Post #14 - March 2nd, 2008, 8:43 am
    Yet another huge thanks to the forum, as I don't think I ever would have found Chaihanna on my own yesterday, when I was placed in charge of finding dinner for 4 in or near Palatine. I didn't eat anything not already described upthread, so I'll spare intricate details. The group enjoyed everything except the beer "list" (= Stella only), and my favorite dish was the pumpkin manti - generous amounts of cumin flavoring a pumpkin filling that still had some texture, surrounded by fresh noodle with a nice bite to it.
    We started with the spicy eggplant appetizer. Small slab of eggplant, with a spicy (think garlic, not hot pepper) topping.
    The version we had last night had quite a bit of peppery heat in addition to loads of garlic.

    I'll be back again when I'm in the area, and might even consider a trip from the city to introduce more friends to this gem.
  • Post #15 - July 28th, 2008, 9:51 pm
    Post #15 - July 28th, 2008, 9:51 pm Post #15 - July 28th, 2008, 9:51 pm
    Thanks for the rec guys. My friend and I wanted to try something new and went there on Thursday. We had the pickled watermelon, chicken tabaka, rabbit with white sauce and cheese blintzes.

    The pickled watermelon tasted like a pretty strong pickle. If I didn't know it was watermelon, there's no way I would have known.

    Chicken tabaka was very good, I love the garlic coating and I don't think it's over the top. Mine was not as well done as the pictures shown above.

    The rabbit was good, very mild and tender. I don't think it tastes like chicken, but I definitely see how chicken is the closest thing you could compare it with... I think it was served with quinoa, but I'm not sure cause i've never had quinoa before. I did not really like it though, it felt like tiny balls of half cooked potato. I would have preferred cous cous or rice.

    Lastly, we had the blintzes and thought they were excellent with a very smooth cheese filling and were quite good without the sour cream or jam toppings. We think those alone are worth returning for more.
  • Post #16 - July 28th, 2008, 10:18 pm
    Post #16 - July 28th, 2008, 10:18 pm Post #16 - July 28th, 2008, 10:18 pm
    filbertman wrote:I think it was served with quinoa, but I'm not sure cause i've never had quinoa before.

    Judging by the tiny, out-of-focus Flickr picture of this dish that I found by Googling, what you had was kasha (buckwheat). In any case, definitely not quinoa.
  • Post #17 - September 11th, 2008, 5:09 pm
    Post #17 - September 11th, 2008, 5:09 pm Post #17 - September 11th, 2008, 5:09 pm
    Made it back to Chaihanna last night. Despite the location - which seemed like halfway to Iowa for this Evanstonian - it was a great meal.

    When we walked in - around 8pm on a Wednesday night - the lights were turned down low, and the place was empty. It looked as if it was closed. But after walking around a bit, and shouting hello, a nice guy came out, and assured us they were open. We had a rather wide choice of places to sit. He turned up the lights a bit, and turned on the flat screen tv (sadly, to some network reality show - a Russian or Uzbek broadcast might have made for more interesting background).

    Later, a party of seeming regulars (sounded like they were speaking Russian or some related language) came in, so there was one other table occupied.

    Knowing the limited wine list, we brought our own - for the reasonable $5 corkage fee. And knowing portion sizes, we tried ordering conservatively. We started with a shared platter of pickled vegetables - cabbage, carrot, tomato, ginger, and a few more I'm forgetting - these people know how to pickle their vegetables. All (except the juicy tomatoes) were crisp and refreshing.

    Entrees included the rabbit, served with a cream sauce over buckwheat. And it didn't taste like chicken. I know, because we also had the garlicky Chicken Tabaka. Full, we took home leftovers of all three dishes.

    Apparently now not all the tableware comes from Uzbekistan, though. We noticed that several of the serving had "Chaihanna" in gold down the middle - otherwise they matched the rest of the tableware - and our server confirmed that they'd found a source in New York that makes tableware almost exactly like that from the old country.

    For a casual, white tablecloth, linen napkin experience, a bill under $30 (including corkage, but not tip) is pretty amazing. For those who haven't tried it, the trip to the corner of Dundee and Buffalo Grove Roads is certainly worth it.
  • Post #18 - September 19th, 2008, 10:48 pm
    Post #18 - September 19th, 2008, 10:48 pm Post #18 - September 19th, 2008, 10:48 pm
    Since I will not be able to make it to the dinner next Friday, the bride and I headed up there for dinner tonight. One word says it - delightful.

    I somehow expected food that would be more like Serbian, Russian or Hungarian food, despite what others had said. I found the food lighter, the seasoning brighter. We started with the Watermelon and spicy beets. The beets are crunchy and bursting, bursting with flavor. Summer preserved.

    The Watermelon was an interesting experience, another situation where my eyes and palate were at odds. I guess my eyes wanted to taste something like the wet, bursting flavor of a fresh watermelon, or at least the sweetness of preserved or candied melon, but what I got was a softer, more slippery pickle with just the slightest hint of watermelon in the background, and after a bite or two of the pickled garlic that faded into the obscurity.

    There was a big party arriving as we finished our meal, and I think the kitchen and help were in a bit of an uproar. First, they were out of about half the entrees, and we were pointed toward the kebabs. The bride noted wryly that some of the dishes they did not have began to be served to the large party as they arrived, but the kebabs made that a moot point for me.

    The bride enjoyed the mushroom soup, rich, savory, not a drop of cream in sight and garnished with a bunch of fresh dill. Gone too soon. Then we had one pork and one lamb kebab. The pork preparation had a slightly different, meatier almost gamy, flavor than the lamb, surprisingly. The lamb highlighted a more complex rub, and was a little drier, often an issue with kabobs, of course. The pickled onions on top of the meat, the fried potatoes beneath and the tangy sauce all outshone the meat, IMO, which served as a nicely crunchy foundation to all the other flavors.

    Chak-chak was good (crispy fried bread bits in congealing syrup - it reminded me of a croquembouche, albeit less refined and without the cream filling, but the crispy pastry with sugar syrup bit of it). The coffee was quite good - a good American blend, not special, but rich and good.

    The spiced croutons were not offered when we arrived. The service was quite speedy, as I know the servers and I believe the kitchen sort of wanted to clear the decks before the big party got into full swing. It was a little rushed at times, but on the whole it was preferable to sitting and waiting while they handled the party of 18.

    Very good meal, and a worthy destination, we will be back. It was also very convenient to be able to peruse Fra Sula's review while waiting to be seated.

    {edited to correct typos}
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #19 - September 28th, 2008, 12:29 pm
    Post #19 - September 28th, 2008, 12:29 pm Post #19 - September 28th, 2008, 12:29 pm
    Had a very nice meal at Chaihanna the other night . . .

    Image
    Bread, served warm


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    Pickled Watermelon


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    Salmon Roll
    Very smoky salmon, which I enjoyed, rolled with cream cheese.


    Image
    Spicy Carrots


    Image
    Garlic Eggplant


    Image
    Achichuk with Sour Cream
    A version with oil is also offered.


    Image
    Assorted Pickles


    Image
    Beef Manti


    Image
    Chicken Tabaka


    Image
    Grilled Lamb Chops


    Image
    Rabbit with Bulgur Wheat


    Image
    Beef Pilaf


    Image
    Napoleon


    Image
    Hazelnut Balls (not sure of real name)
    Cookie-like pastry surrounding hazelnut paste.

    Image
    Tea Bread


    Image
    Chak Chak
    Fried noodles covered in honey

    Overall, I thought it was a tasty meal. I especially liked the Chicken Tabaka -- because it was juicy, nicely marinated and had a very crispy skin. It was missing the garlic that topped it at my previous meal at Chaihanna (and in some pictures above) but I was ok with that because I actually preferred it without that harsh, raw garlic note. I also enjoyed the spicy carrots, which were just spicy enough to counter their natural sweetness. The salmon rolls were nice, too. The fish was very smoky, which surprised and pleased me. The garlic eggplant was excellent, too -- tender and very robust flavor. The pickled watermelon was intense and fizzy and while I enjoyed it, a little goes a long way. Beef pilaf was nicely spiced but not in a hot way. It was also very oily, which I'm not sure was intentional or not. Not pictured here are some beef and pork kababs that were very chewy and not so good.

    I'm glad that Chaihanna is so close to my house because I can see going there on a somewhat regular basis. With the fall now upon us, I look forward to returning because much of this food seems like it would be a very nice match for colder weather.

    =R=
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #20 - September 28th, 2008, 11:27 pm
    Post #20 - September 28th, 2008, 11:27 pm Post #20 - September 28th, 2008, 11:27 pm
    I enjoyed the wonderful LTH event at Chaihanna on Friday night (my first such event--thanks very much to those who organized and attended to make the evening fun!!).

    This was my third sit-down meal there (I've also had takeout once), and since it was such a large crowd, I was able to try a much wider sampling of the menu. My favorites remain the spicy carrots, which I've loved every time I've eaten here and tried to reproduce at home with little luck so far. They're wonderfully tart and crispy, and are probably the best carrot dish I've ever had. Another previous favorite is the lepeshki bread, which has a nice sprinkling of sesame seeds to add a slight kick.

    The entries that were new to me were just about everything other than the beef pilaf, which I've now determined to be not as spicy as it was the first time I had it (I think the chef was overly generous with the spices that time around, because my soup had the same sinus-clearing kick that it hasn't had since either). Loved the chicken tabaka and will probably have that again on my next visit.

    I'm also interested in trying the pumpkin manti next time around--the beef variety of the dish was really tasty, and the idea of pumpkin really intrigues me.

    The rabbit was decent, although the amount of small bones were irritating enough that I probably won't try it again any time soon. The kabobs were also disappointing, especially as the night went on--the beef kabob that came out toward the end of the meal was extremely tough and tasteless. The side dish of potatoes were also a bit dry, but the veggies and rice were both equally good side dish options.

    Loved both the chak-chak and the Napolean desserts, and the tea rolls were also good. The black tea was good after it steeped a bit, and I loved the handleless cups it was served in as well as the teapot itself.

    The young man who was our server, Ivan, was very much on the ball and did a wonderful job of keeping all 13 of us happy.
  • Post #21 - October 26th, 2008, 10:56 am
    Post #21 - October 26th, 2008, 10:56 am Post #21 - October 26th, 2008, 10:56 am
    We had tickets to a show in Palatine last night so I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out Chaihanna. We made a reservation, and I'm glad we did because there were two very large groups at the restaurant engaged in some sort of celebration when we arrived at about 6:15. Our arrival was a bit of a "needle scratching off the record player" moment, as just about everyone in the place turned around and gave us a funny look when we walked in.

    No matter. Our table was waiting for us and we had a wonderful dinner. We started with the assorted pickles which had a nice garlicky spice to them. The Wife had lamb chops. They looked like they were cooked within an inch of their life, but they were somehow still tender and flavorful. I went with the chicken tabaka. Not sure I have much to add beyond what people have already said. The chicken was perfectly moist, the skin was crispy, and if you like garlic this is the dish for you. I also ordered a side of fried potatoes, which really weren't necessary since the chicken was huge. The potatoes were good, though, so I'm glad I ordered them. The Russian ice dancing on the TVs (which looked like ice dancing meets American Idol) was also a nice added bonus.

    I don't think I would schlep out from the city just to eat at Chaihanna, but if I were in the area I would certainly return.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #22 - March 11th, 2009, 9:45 pm
    Post #22 - March 11th, 2009, 9:45 pm Post #22 - March 11th, 2009, 9:45 pm
    Took a coworker there tonight -- he's been spending a lot of sales calls here lately, and was looking for something a little more interesting.

    They were pretty-much empty on a Wednesday night -- while we were there, there was only one other couple.

    We started with the spicy cabbage -- nice fermented taste to it, with a bit of chile.

    Next we each had a bowl of the mushroom soup. Served with a dollop of sour cream, the soup itself also had a sourness to the rich broth, with big meaty slices of mushroom, potatoes and probably a few other veggies.

    Then, meat blintzes, which my coworker loved so much he ordered another batch (and then decided he was too full to eat, I took two home). He had the Chicken Tabaka, always a winner, I had the ground meat kabob. I don't know what meat it was, probably veal and pork by its paleness. Nice spicy red sauce it was served with plus dill and sliced onions, and on a bed of small chunks of fried potatoes.

    Go eat there -- we don't want them to go out of business.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #23 - November 27th, 2009, 10:49 pm
    Post #23 - November 27th, 2009, 10:49 pm Post #23 - November 27th, 2009, 10:49 pm
    Sadly empty on a Friday -- just one other family there at our 6PM seating, and nobody else but us when we left at 9. We had 13 folks for a post-Thanksgiving cousin's club, and everybody loved it. Lots of good stuff: fresh bread, pickled veggies, Chicken Tabaka, Pilaf (plov) (both beef and off-menu lamb), meat blintzes, and great soups: the (non-cream of) mushroom, and an anise-scented beef and vegetable soup. Total bill with tip was around $250 -- and we stuffed ourselves.

    Go, support this GNR before it disappears.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #24 - December 1st, 2009, 8:56 pm
    Post #24 - December 1st, 2009, 8:56 pm Post #24 - December 1st, 2009, 8:56 pm
    Dined at Chaihanna this evening, and we were the only people there when we arrived at 5, and still the only people when we left a bit after 7. Fabulous meal, well prepared and fresh, despite the lack of traffic. I love the sour spinach soup (simply amazing, and I'd go back if it were the only thing they served), so I started with that, while my companion had the spicy beets. Then we split an order of beef manti and an order of chicken tabaka. For dessert, we split a pot of tea and a slice of the sour cream cake, which is heavy on the whipped cream, too.

    Hard to imagine why this excellent and reasonably priced restaurant isn't full all the time. On the positive side, there was a sign in the window advertising for a waiter. So that looks like they're planning on staying in business for a little while.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #25 - December 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
    Post #25 - December 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm Post #25 - December 1st, 2009, 9:27 pm
    " On the positive side, there was a sign in the window advertising for a waiter. So that looks like they're planning on staying in business for a little while"

    Sounds to me like they can't hold on to waitstaff due to the low volume (tips). A server can make a lot more money working at Appleby's.

    :twisted:
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #26 - December 1st, 2009, 9:36 pm
    Post #26 - December 1st, 2009, 9:36 pm Post #26 - December 1st, 2009, 9:36 pm
    I highly doubt they're getting their waiters from the same employee pool as Applebee's.
  • Post #27 - December 1st, 2009, 10:14 pm
    Post #27 - December 1st, 2009, 10:14 pm Post #27 - December 1st, 2009, 10:14 pm
    cilantro wrote:I highly doubt they're getting their waiters from the same employee pool as Applebee's.

    Just curious why would you doubt that? I think these places would draw from the exact same pool -- restaurant industry professionals in the suburbs who don't want to commute into the city to work. I know a few servers at Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook, for example, who also pick up shifts at other chain-type places in nearby suburbs.

    =R=
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #28 - December 1st, 2009, 10:33 pm
    Post #28 - December 1st, 2009, 10:33 pm Post #28 - December 1st, 2009, 10:33 pm
    The few times I've been there, the waiters were all FOBs with not nearly enough English or pieces of flair for Applebee's work. That was over a year ago, though.
  • Post #29 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:18 am
    Post #29 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:18 am Post #29 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:18 am
    cilantro wrote:The few times I've been there, the waiters were all FOBs with not nearly enough English or pieces of flair for Applebee's work. That was over a year ago, though.

    Gotcha.

    =R=
    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #30 - April 5th, 2010, 6:33 pm
    Post #30 - April 5th, 2010, 6:33 pm Post #30 - April 5th, 2010, 6:33 pm
    Dad and I went here on Palm Sunday for lunch, and enjoyed ourselves as usual. This time, I had the chicken tabaka--lots of chicken, not as much garlic as I would have thought. It was very tasty, though, and reheated nicely for dinner the next day! Dad had the beef kabab, which he thought was excellent. We had our usual Spicy Beets and Spicy Carrots for side dishes, and for the first time ever, I thought the chef had gone too far in spicing up the carrots, because they were very close to being unbearably hot (the beets were much milder). Dessert was the chak-chak for me (the honey got a bit sticky and tended to gum up my front teeth, so I started eating it with a fork, which worked much better, but it was nicely light and sweet) and the sour-cream cake for Dad (which we both thought was fabulous).

    Service was really excellent this time around--the two young men who were working the room did a great job on providing details on the menu and keeping up with our drinks and making sure everything was going smoothly. There was another couple almost finished when we arrived, and then a very large family showed up soon after we did, who could have monopolized the servers' attention, but they both kept up with us as well. It helped that they both spoke English and Russian with what I presume was equal fluency; the large family had no problem chatting with them in Russian, and we had no problem understanding their English.

    I was pleased to see that the economy hasn't yet taken this restaurant out of business, because it's a really nice asset to the community. My dad, who lives in the SW 'burbs near Joliet, said that he wished there were more of the exotic ethnic restaurants in his neighborhood, instead of just the same old Italian places and occasional decent Mexican restaurants.

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