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Rangoli - new Indian in Humboldt Park

Rangoli - new Indian in Humboldt Park
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  • Rangoli - new Indian in Humboldt Park

    Post #1 - June 23rd, 2012, 11:46 am
    Post #1 - June 23rd, 2012, 11:46 am Post #1 - June 23rd, 2012, 11:46 am
    I didn't find anything about this restaurant on the forum, so here we go.

    My wife found out about this new restaurant in our neighborhood and we checked it out last night. Rangoli has been open for about a month, and is located in a small storefront on North Ave at Western. It's a shotgun space, narrow with about 30 seats (guessing) and two small tables in the raised front window spaces to either side of the door. A banquette runs along the west wall and faces a small kitchen pass-through window, which is the only sign of cooking visible. Very pleasing minimalist decor, with white walls and a little traditional artwork and chandeliers.

    We arrived early on a Friday night, before 7pm. There was only one other table seated, but by the time we left (after 8pm) they were over half full, not including the to-go orders and some delivery going out.

    The menu is classic but diverse, with dishes such as samosas, pakoras, tandoori, tikka, masala, paneer and vindaloo. We found some new (to us) dishes and decided to broaden our horizons.

    We ordered the keema samosas (2pc for $4) to gauge them on a classic, with ground lamb and a very flaky fried crust. Delicious. The other appetizer we ordered was a new dish for us: gobi manchurian. It's a large enough appetizer to easily feed 4-6 people ($9) and is fried cauliflower sauteed with garlic, scallions, ginger, soya, and chile spices. They list it as 2 chiles (out of 3) on the spice level and it has a beautiful slow burn that sneaks up on you. The corn starch crust of the veggies and the sauce/seasonings reminded us of sweet/sour pork but with heat and without the cloying sweetness that often accompanies that dish. I am now in love with this dish, and am hoping the other half we took home tastes as good the next day.

    Image
    Gobi Manchurian (samosas peeking from the corner of photo)

    For entrees we again ordered one classic and one unfamiliar. My wife loves chana masala, so we ordered that as our veggie dish, and for a chicken entree we were torn between chicken chettinad and chicken haryali. Chettinad comes from the coastal region of Tamilnadu, with the chicken breast chunks simmered in a sauce with savory ground spices. The Haryali is chicken cooked with green chiles along with coconut milk, mint, coriander and other spices. We opted for the chettinad (basically a coin flip) and weren't disappointed. I didn't take a picture of either dish, since their presentation is typical of a bowl of goodies in a red/brown sauce. The flavors were excellent, with the chettinad sauce similar in texture to vindaloo, and packed some pretty good heat as well. Fresh curry leaves were evident, but the other ground spices were camouflaged in the sauce. The chana masala was also quite delicious, with bright and savory flavors surrounding the well-cooked chickpeas.

    We ordered sides of naan ($1.50/pc), raita ($4 for about 10oz bowl) and spicy pickle chutney ($2.50 for a cup) and they were also well done. The naan was chewy but not oily, and the raita had small diced cucumber and carrot in it. The spicy pickle chutney was extremely sour and salty, and a little goes a long way!

    They are BYOB so we brought a bottle of spatlese riesling which went wonderfully with the whole meal. We saw other tables ordering sodas or mango lassi (also "salt" lassi offered, both $4) and they offer chai, masala chai and madras coffee.

    Since we're both mango fans, but were too full for lassi drinks, we went for one of 3 desserts: homemade Indian mango ice cream.

    Image

    The ice cream was well-frozen and I liked that they served it in cubes so that it would soften more quickly. There is a hint of coconut in there too, and it provided a wonderful cooling finish to our spicy meal.

    We are OVERJOYED that there is finally a good Indian restaurant in our 'hood, please do check them out so that they will be successful and stay. I want to return soon to try the chicken haryali, bagara baingan (southern specialty with eggplant, peanuts, sesame, and spices), and test out their vindaloo...I'm a sucker for excellent vindaloo.

    Rangoli
    2421 W North Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773-697-7114
    http://www.rangolifeast.com (website is still "coming soon" right now)

    Tue-Fri 11am - 3:30pm, 4:30pm - 9:30pm
    Sat-Sun 12pm - 3:30pm, 5pm - 9:30pm

    BYOB, major credit cards accepted
    Dine-in, Carry-out, Catering, and Delivery available
    Delivery available within 2 mile radius, $3 charge
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 8:48 am
    Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 8:48 am Post #2 - June 25th, 2012, 8:48 am
    I do have an update on the leftovers...the Gobi Manchurian lost its crunch (cornstarch crust gets soggy and is best consumed right after being cooked), but the flavor was still excellent.

    The chicken chettinad was very good as a reheated meal, with a nice smoky spice heat that catches up with you.

    The basmati rice, which I forgot to mention initially, is excellent - light, fluffy and fragrant with a bit of toothiness.

    Looking forward to our next meal there.
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #3 - June 28th, 2012, 7:27 pm
    Post #3 - June 28th, 2012, 7:27 pm Post #3 - June 28th, 2012, 7:27 pm
    Intriguing. I love the idea of getting decent Indian in the hood without trekking to Devon. I'm going to try this place even though that Gobi looks alarmingly like airport Chinese food -- and I'm going to fervently hope the place is good. Thanks for posting!
  • Post #4 - June 29th, 2012, 8:41 am
    Post #4 - June 29th, 2012, 8:41 am Post #4 - June 29th, 2012, 8:41 am
    I'm excited about going back again, hopefully in the next week or two. Happy dining!
    - Mark

    Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon? Ham? Pork chops?
    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.
    Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
  • Post #5 - July 8th, 2012, 3:22 pm
    Post #5 - July 8th, 2012, 3:22 pm Post #5 - July 8th, 2012, 3:22 pm
    Just ordered in lunch for Rangoli (they are on GrubHub) and found it to be very good, though not without a few issues.

    The Chicken Korma was in a great, fragrant sauce. Though I ordered in Medium, I thought it could have been a little spicier - you never know with Indian restaurants which will downplay your spice requests, and which will take you seriously. The chicken itself, was properly cooked without being dry. However, I thought the meat lacked any seasoning at all. Now, obviously being surrounded by a great sauce gives the chicken flavor, and I did like it, but a lot of the pieces were pretty large cubes - large enough where when you ate it the ratio of sauce to unseasoned meat was a little off.

    The other thing I found to be a big disappointment was the basmati rice. I love rice - I love all types of rice. But more importantly I appreciate truly great rice, which can be very hard to find. I found my rice nothing like it was described up thread. I thought the rice itself was over cooked, not toothsome at all, and dry. But more importantly, it lacked any semblance of fragrance, seasoning, flavor, etc. It was devoid of any scent, reminding me of the first time I tried to make it, putting rice, water, and nothing else in the pot, and cooking for too long.

    That may seem a little harsh, but I really like rice...And it wasn't really terrible, just a very important piece of the meal not living up to the other parts.

    I also ordered a piece of butter nan that was really outstanding. The Nan had all the chewiness and char one looks for, without being dried out or crackly at all. I easily could have made a meal out of just dipping the nan into the korma sauce...note for next time...

    Anyway, even with that issue I found the overall meal to still be very good - better than at least 50% of Indian places I've been to, not to mention that fact it was delivery, and everything held up quite well and was delivered piping hot.
  • Post #6 - October 3rd, 2015, 3:09 pm
    Post #6 - October 3rd, 2015, 3:09 pm Post #6 - October 3rd, 2015, 3:09 pm
    Definitely the best Indian food south of Devon and one of the best for the South Indian in the city at the moment (though their focus is generally northern). They do everything quite well but I would highly recommend both the Chicken 65 and the Chettinad, both as good as you get in Tamil Nadu.
  • Post #7 - October 3rd, 2015, 7:23 pm
    Post #7 - October 3rd, 2015, 7:23 pm Post #7 - October 3rd, 2015, 7:23 pm
    aaronpaul27 wrote:Definitely the best Indian food south of Devon and one of the best for the South Indian in the city at the moment (though their focus is generally northern). They do everything quite well but I would highly recommend both the Chicken 65 and the Chettinad, both as good as you get in Tamil Nadu.


    i've enjoyed several meals at rangoli, including medium spicy food. but my one delivery experience was dreadful: i was careful to order 3-4 dishes (can't remember now) that werent noted as spicy, and i mentioned that i wanted the spice level mild in my phone-in order, but everything was so spicy i ended up just throwing them out, i couldnt eat them. so be careful with delivery and pick up orders is my advice.
  • Post #8 - October 5th, 2015, 3:41 pm
    Post #8 - October 5th, 2015, 3:41 pm Post #8 - October 5th, 2015, 3:41 pm
    Hi Mark, I still dream longingly about the veg manchurian I ate in Hyderabad last year... probably the best thing I ate in India (and that's saying a lot). Thanks for posting this, now I have new Indian place to try out.
  • Post #9 - October 6th, 2015, 12:24 pm
    Post #9 - October 6th, 2015, 12:24 pm Post #9 - October 6th, 2015, 12:24 pm
    justjoan wrote:
    aaronpaul27 wrote:Definitely the best Indian food south of Devon and one of the best for the South Indian in the city at the moment (though their focus is generally northern). They do everything quite well but I would highly recommend both the Chicken 65 and the Chettinad, both as good as you get in Tamil Nadu.


    i've enjoyed several meals at rangoli, including medium spicy food. but my one delivery experience was dreadful: i was careful to order 3-4 dishes (can't remember now) that werent noted as spicy, and i mentioned that i wanted the spice level mild in my phone-in order, but everything was so spicy i ended up just throwing them out, i couldnt eat them. so be careful with delivery and pick up orders is my advice.


    good point, I should add "both as good and as spicy as you get in TN"
  • Post #10 - October 16th, 2015, 4:51 am
    Post #10 - October 16th, 2015, 4:51 am Post #10 - October 16th, 2015, 4:51 am
    I grew up eating Indian food at home and throughout the motherland- no, not India- I'm talking central and north Jersey. What impresses me most about Rangoli is that they stay true to the recipes regardless of the number of orders they crank out every night. The manager quoted 100 orders on "a good night, but very very busy, too busy". Most other places would use fillers and take shortcuts to meet the demand. Not Rangoli. All the Yelpers need to calm down about the wait time for take-out/delivery. It's called Indian Standard Time (IST)- stop being culturally insensitive. :twisted:
    "We eat slowly and with gusto." - Paul Bäumer in AQOTWF
  • Post #11 - November 15th, 2015, 8:44 pm
    Post #11 - November 15th, 2015, 8:44 pm Post #11 - November 15th, 2015, 8:44 pm
    Sweetbread wrote: The manager quoted 100 orders on "a good night, but very very busy, too busy".


    This was our experience last night on our visit to Rangoli. On a busy Saturday night, the folks there seem to be working extremely hard. But we didn't even get menus until about half an hour after we sat down. As mentioned above, the rice was also a real disappointment. That said, the main dishes--the aloo gobi especially--were excellent.

    Overall, they just seemed completely overwhelmed. We really liked the food, but aren't sure about coming back for dine-in. Next time we'll plan on takeout.
  • Post #12 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:12 am
    Post #12 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:12 am Post #12 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:12 am
    I've been to Rangoli twice now in the past month. The stories about them being overwhelmed when busy seem true, but the food makes up for it (I'm not a stickler for service or efficiency).

    I've had the gobi manchurian (highly recommended), the onion bhajee, the tarka dal (also highly recommended; not your average bland dal), the bagara bhaingan (eggplant in a mole-like sauce that was outstanding), chicken haryali (green chilis, coconut milk, spices), lamb vindaloo, and mango kulfi (also highly recommended, and I usually don't like Indian desserts).

    The portions seemed small for the mains but they are rich and we ordered too much (surprise), so you can do much less, but for the flavor it seems a good value.

    Try to go at off hours if possible and BYOB. Or carry out if you can. I'll be back in the near future and will just leave ample time for the meal.
  • Post #13 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:50 am
    Post #13 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:50 am Post #13 - September 3rd, 2018, 8:50 am
    Didn't realize that I hadn't commented. We love Rangoli. And BYO is a big perk. Our go-to Indian restaurant, both eat in and take out, followed by The Spice Room.

    Just wish we could find a good source of dosa’s without needing to drive to Devon.
  • Post #14 - April 9th, 2019, 4:10 pm
    Post #14 - April 9th, 2019, 4:10 pm Post #14 - April 9th, 2019, 4:10 pm
    Tonight, Indian food will return to the corner of Fullerton and Clark in Lincoln Park as Rangoli opens its second restaurant. Rangoli replaces Orange at 2415 N. Clark St.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2019/4/9/1830 ... treet-open
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #15 - April 14th, 2019, 8:35 am
    Post #15 - April 14th, 2019, 8:35 am Post #15 - April 14th, 2019, 8:35 am
    Another great dinner at Rangoli on North.

    Gobi Manchurian, chana masala, bargara baingan, bhindi masala, onion kulcha, and mutter palav were all excellent but for me, the bhindi masala is consistently one of my favorite dishes there.

    No drop off in food or service after the new location opened earlier this week. Hoping it stays that way.
  • Post #16 - July 12th, 2019, 10:04 am
    Post #16 - July 12th, 2019, 10:04 am Post #16 - July 12th, 2019, 10:04 am
    Unfortunately it seems that opening a second location may have had an adverse effect on the North Ave location. Ordered delivery from here, first oddity was that Baingan Bharta was off the menu, but no big deal. Food that arrived seemed to have been cooked with totally different recipies from (many) past orders over the years. Gobi Manchurian was tasty, though *totally* different from their previous version. The chicken 65 was...not chicken 65, or at least it was a severely under spiced version. Vindaloo was wrong, and the Chana was decent, though no where near what it used to be.

    On the positive side the food arrived in 30 minutes piping hot, which is about 3x faster than we have ever gotten before.

    Food was not bad, but it was nothing special at all. I would hope it was a one-off night, but as mentioned above, the actual recipies used have changed.
  • Post #17 - July 12th, 2019, 10:55 am
    Post #17 - July 12th, 2019, 10:55 am Post #17 - July 12th, 2019, 10:55 am
    aaronpaul27 wrote:Unfortunately it seems that opening a second location may have had an adverse effect on the North Ave location. Ordered delivery from here, first oddity was that Baingan Bharta was off the menu, but no big deal. Food that arrived seemed to have been cooked with totally different recipies from (many) past orders over the years. Gobi Manchurian was tasty, though *totally* different from their previous version. The chicken 65 was...not chicken 65, or at least it was a severely under spiced version. Vindaloo was wrong, and the Chana was decent, though no where near what it used to be.

    On the positive side the food arrived in 30 minutes piping hot, which is about 3x faster than we have ever gotten before.

    Food was not bad, but it was nothing special at all. I would hope it was a one-off night, but as mentioned above, the actual recipes used have changed.


    UGH!!! I hope this was an anomaly, but there seems to be a lot of things that are different. We were there about a month ago and everything was great. But it was extremely quiet on a Saturday night, we've never seen it that quiet. We did get there earlier, (around 6, prior to a play). But still less than half full when we left around 7:20.

    Not happy to see the baingan bharta off the menu. We didn't order it every visit, but was in our regular rotation. And we loved their version of gobi manchurian.
  • Post #18 - July 12th, 2019, 4:12 pm
    Post #18 - July 12th, 2019, 4:12 pm Post #18 - July 12th, 2019, 4:12 pm
    My take is similar to the two most recent reviewers. Nothing special.

    I prefer Spice Room. Any other good Indian spots in the Logan Square/Humboldt Park vicinity I should sample?

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