LTH Home

7 Spices: Stunning South Indian in North Suburbs [closed]

7 Spices: Stunning South Indian in North Suburbs [closed]
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • 7 Spices: Stunning South Indian in North Suburbs [closed]

    Post #1 - August 9th, 2018, 10:41 am
    Post #1 - August 9th, 2018, 10:41 am Post #1 - August 9th, 2018, 10:41 am
    In my various self-imposed imprisonments over the years in the Chicago north suburbs, I have found a succession of Pakistani/Indian outposts up here that are worth the trip.

    This one might be the finest one -- 7 Spices in Vernon Hills (!)

    Out west of Lake Forest, just past a tiny and heretofore unknown village known as
    "Mettawa", lies the completely nondescript mega-mall where 7 Spices has settled.

    The exceedingly modest environs and interior does not prepare you for what comes next -- south Indian food with an intricacy and depth of flavor I have never experienced in this country. The Ulavachuru Goat Biryani (boasting of an ingredient known somewhat disconcertingly as "Horse Gram") is an earthy mountain of richly-spiced rice hiding massive nuggets of perfectly cooked goat, encrusted and doused. The Karikudi Chicken
    is a somewhat miraculous dish, taking an ordinary chicken curry on a dark technicolor ride through a smokey, ashey world which blew my mind. Less crucial but also good is the Idly Sambar, lentil patties swimming in a spicy tomato sauce.

    All in all, this is a must-visit if you live in the area or if you love South Indian food period. The owners are from Tamilnadu, the Indian province just across the bay from Sri Lanka. Thrilling stuff.

    7 Spices
    555 E Townline Rd
    Ste 6
    Vernon Hills, IL 60061
  • Post #2 - August 9th, 2018, 12:16 pm
    Post #2 - August 9th, 2018, 12:16 pm Post #2 - August 9th, 2018, 12:16 pm
    https://www.7spicesus.com/

    Thanks for the intel.
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #3 - August 9th, 2018, 1:50 pm
    Post #3 - August 9th, 2018, 1:50 pm Post #3 - August 9th, 2018, 1:50 pm
    HPGlutster2 wrote:In my various self-imposed imprisonments over the years in the Chicago north suburbs, I have found a succession of Pakistani/Indian outposts up here that are worth the trip.

    Care to share some other places that you have been impressed by? Always looking for good Indian food in the area.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #4 - August 10th, 2018, 12:16 am
    Post #4 - August 10th, 2018, 12:16 am Post #4 - August 10th, 2018, 12:16 am
    My other two, alas, closed -- there was Shree on Milwaukee Ave far west in Deerfield and then that tiny takeout place next to Old Orchard -- Thali Bites.

    That's why it's important to go to THIS one :D
  • Post #5 - August 10th, 2018, 6:10 am
    Post #5 - August 10th, 2018, 6:10 am Post #5 - August 10th, 2018, 6:10 am
    Yeah, same here. Both Katie and I live in Mundelein, and while there isn't exactly a dearth of Indian/Pakistani restaurants around, what there is seems to be pedantically-spiced.

    Couple days ago I had the lunch buffet at Aroma in Vernon Hills. OK, not great. The one thing they do really well--saag paneer, medium spice on order--wasn't on the buffet.

    I have also occasionally gotten carry-out from Spicy Bites, virtually across and down the street from Aroma, and they are wildly inconsistent. Huge menu, but you never know the quality that you're going to get on any given day.

    Looking forward to trying 7 Spices!
  • Post #6 - August 10th, 2018, 9:42 am
    Post #6 - August 10th, 2018, 9:42 am Post #6 - August 10th, 2018, 9:42 am
    LTH,

    Let's please try to keep the focus of this thread on 7 Spices. For a more general discussion of Indian and other ethnic offerings the northern suburbs, please see this thread . . .

    Indian and other ethnic in the northern suburbs

    . . . which we just split off from this discussion.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    for the Moderators
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #7 - August 26th, 2018, 10:29 pm
    Post #7 - August 26th, 2018, 10:29 pm Post #7 - August 26th, 2018, 10:29 pm
    Had the lunch buffet at 7 Spices today. Since the only part of India I've traveled in is the south, it was fun to see the menu lean in that direction. That said, even the more northerly dishes, such as tandoori chicken and goat curry, were mighty nice. Hard to say which dish was my favorite, but I think I might vote for the chicken dopiaza. But happily, I didn't have to pick just one. Buffet is $12.99 on Sundays and includes dosa and masala chai. Truly enjoyed this place. Relatively small -- I think the kitchen is as big as the dining room-- but delightful. I'll be back.

    Oh -- and in case it matters to you -- they are currently giving airline miles. :)
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #8 - September 8th, 2018, 7:57 am
    Post #8 - September 8th, 2018, 7:57 am Post #8 - September 8th, 2018, 7:57 am
    I finally made it 7 Spices. LOVED it. It's not fancy in any way, pretty no frills. Perfect lunch buffet spot for me. In and out - no real need for any kind of "ambience." I walked in, and basically it was a record skip. I was the only non (insert ethnic name of peoples here) at the time. As I left, two other "outsiders" showed up to the feast.

    Everything I tried was on the better side of decent, nicely spicy. There were several of the standards, a few of the not so standards, and a few things I have never even heard of. BONUS! This is easily my fave of the Indian Buffet circuit up that way. It's way closer to work than Rivaj, so it springs to the top of the list. Don't sleep on Rivaj, tho. It's pretty good, too.

    Nice touch at 7 Spices - they had naan on the buffet, but brought out a fresh, plain, dosa for each person at the table.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #9 - September 10th, 2018, 6:49 am
    Post #9 - September 10th, 2018, 6:49 am Post #9 - September 10th, 2018, 6:49 am
    HPGlutster2 wrote:(boasting of an ingredient known somewhat disconcertingly as "Horse Gram")


    My Tamilian mother-in-law is obsessed with this stuff. She claims it is extremely healthy and regularly makes a chutney out of it which she eats alone with rice.

    7 Spices sounds like the real deal. I will have to check it out when I’m in that neck of the woods.
  • Post #10 - January 26th, 2019, 2:22 pm
    Post #10 - January 26th, 2019, 2:22 pm Post #10 - January 26th, 2019, 2:22 pm
    Had another outstanding buffet work lunch at 7 SP on Thursday. Uptick in heat levels across the board. My regular workmates thought the same, and we all agreed that the cross references between 7SP on Thu and Rivaj on Monday were worth the question. A coworker asked one of the staff if the owners had any other restaurants. Answer: No.

    No big deal or anything, but the uptick in spiciness and the identical chutney tray +7sp even had mushroom 65 that day! Seemed worth asking - I still would not be surprised if a part of the staff worked at both.

    True to form for my visits, 7sp had some new things for me to try.

    One was a new dessert, which, I thoroughly enjoyed. It was labeled a kheer of some sort, forgot the name, but I always thought kheer was a pudding-like substance, this stuff was basically chunks of what I can only describe as what tasted like sweet streusel topping in some weird lookin thin sauce. By itself, the chunks were way too sweet, but wrapped in a piece of naan, or one of their dosa?/ Holy balls was that really good. Really buttery flavor, too. Sugar, butter, and carbs - perfect dessert, no?

    This is easily the best Indian Buffet I've ever encountered*, but, Rivaj has only been a half step below the last few times.

    * I haven't been to many, maybe like 10. Three or four VERY forgettable ones on Devo, a few up here in the northern burbs, one or two in Schaumburg.

    Just another shout out, they really deserve it. 7SP is really decent.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #11 - January 26th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    Post #11 - January 26th, 2019, 2:55 pm Post #11 - January 26th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    seebee wrote:This is easily the best Indian Buffet I've ever encountered*

    Just curious, for reference sake, if you've ever been to Himalayan in Niles and if so, how you think this compares.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #12 - January 26th, 2019, 8:19 pm
    Post #12 - January 26th, 2019, 8:19 pm Post #12 - January 26th, 2019, 8:19 pm
    Never been to Himalayan, sorry. Hopefully someone else can chime in on that.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #13 - January 27th, 2019, 8:42 am
    Post #13 - January 27th, 2019, 8:42 am Post #13 - January 27th, 2019, 8:42 am
    Himalayan was my favorite until I went to 7 Spices. Good days at Aroma and Viceroy of India surpassed a bad day at Himalayan. So far, no bad days at 7 spices after three visits (many visits at the other listed emporia). A place sharing space with the Big cinema on Golf road was conditionally in the running, but they closed. The food was the best quality, but the selection much smaller.

    --Carey
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #14 - January 27th, 2019, 9:29 am
    Post #14 - January 27th, 2019, 9:29 am Post #14 - January 27th, 2019, 9:29 am
    If you are comparing buffets, if a good day at Aroma surpassed Himalayan, then, imo, that does not say much for Himalayan at all. I've always found Aroma to be extremely boring. I mean, I used to go strictly for the goat curry and samosa. Both were pretty bland, but imo, it could scratch an itch. Their buffet was a decent size, so I could find a thing or two to dot the plate with for a contrast, but really, it was 99% goat curry and a samosa or two for my 11 dollars.

    7Sp has me excited to go for an Indian Buffet. I haven't been to Aroma in about a year and a half. I'd rate it pretty poorly, to be honest. If 7Sp was not open, I'd go to Mumbai Tandoor before Aroma if I was in that area. It's smaller, but it's at least interesting. Aroma just seems boring and bland.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #15 - January 27th, 2019, 9:30 am
    Post #15 - January 27th, 2019, 9:30 am Post #15 - January 27th, 2019, 9:30 am
    diversedancer wrote:A place sharing space with the Big cinema on Golf road was conditionally in the running, but they closed.

    Do they still have the Indian movies and snacks? It has always been a hope to go there for a Bollywood movie and eat Indian snacks.

    I passed there yesterday, but the snow piles in the parking lot did not allow too much opportunity to see what the theater might be offering.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    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 #16 - January 27th, 2019, 10:46 am
    Post #16 - January 27th, 2019, 10:46 am Post #16 - January 27th, 2019, 10:46 am
    I believe the name has changed, so the food may be different

    I may made an error.. It may only have been the weekday buffet that ended.

    The theater is still open http://moviemaxcinemas.com/

    The restaurant website is active, specifies closed on Monday, hours the other 5 days but no hint about Sundays. Might be same lunch hours as Saturday but fewer or not open in evening? The website specifies a weekend only lunch buffet. {added later: phone not answered Sunday at 10:30, 11:30 or 1 PM}

    http://www.ruchiniles.com

    My memory is fuzzy. I drove by at some point and they were closed, but it might have been mid afternoon when they are closed. I may have asked and been told no buffet (at least on weekdays).
    Last edited by diversedancer on January 27th, 2019, 1:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #17 - January 27th, 2019, 11:14 am
    Post #17 - January 27th, 2019, 11:14 am Post #17 - January 27th, 2019, 11:14 am
    If you go for a bollywood movie but don't understand Hindi, you might want to have a "plan B". I went and was promised subtitles, but there were none. I believe most or all of the non-western snacks were "imported" from the restaurant, so might not be available when the restaurant is closed.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #18 - January 27th, 2019, 11:16 am
    Post #18 - January 27th, 2019, 11:16 am Post #18 - January 27th, 2019, 11:16 am
    Back on the topic of 7 Spices:

    Do not miss the hot beverage across the aisle beyond the goat curry which is included and AFAIK unique compared to EVERY other indian buffet I have been to.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #19 - January 27th, 2019, 11:40 am
    Post #19 - January 27th, 2019, 11:40 am Post #19 - January 27th, 2019, 11:40 am
    seebee wrote:Never been to Himalayan, sorry. Hopefully someone else can chime in on that.

    Himalayan Is my current favorite (I haven’t visited the other places) and has been for years.

    I visited years ago when it was a dark, single storefront with 5 chafing dishes on a table in the back.

    Now it is a full blown buffet with 4 islands (dessert and vegetarian included) and at least 4 Nepalese dishes. If you are toying with eating vegetarian this is a good time.

    Visiting at lunch there with a good and steady crowd insuring fresh food. You will have to show restraint if you want to try a sampling of the dishes.

    Bright and traditionally spiced (heat when needed) with fresh, warm and buttered naan brought to the table.

    If the other places mentioned are better a visit would be in order.

    More information on and photos on Himalayan on my SGD thread.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #20 - January 27th, 2019, 11:41 am
    Post #20 - January 27th, 2019, 11:41 am Post #20 - January 27th, 2019, 11:41 am
    diversedancer wrote:If you go for a bollywood movie but don't understand Hindi, you might want to have a "plan B". I went and was promised subtitles, but there were none.
    Thanks for the chuckle!
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - January 27th, 2019, 11:46 am
    Post #21 - January 27th, 2019, 11:46 am Post #21 - January 27th, 2019, 11:46 am
    diversedancer wrote:If you go for a bollywood movie but don't understand Hindi, you might want to have a "plan B". I went and was promised subtitles, but there were none.
    Most movie houses will refund your money if you leave within 15 minutes.

    This happened at an war film (Three Kings) I took My Bride to. A female teacher got shot at the beginning of the movie, she got up and walked out.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #22 - January 27th, 2019, 12:40 pm
    Post #22 - January 27th, 2019, 12:40 pm Post #22 - January 27th, 2019, 12:40 pm
    diversedancer wrote:Back on the topic of 7 Spices:

    Do not miss the hot beverage across the aisle beyond the goat curry which is included and AFAIK unique compared to EVERY other indian buffet I have been to.


    We always have a cup or two, and we didn't even notice it until the 2nd or 3rd trip. Agreed, it's usually fantastic.

    I actually had to go potty on Thu, and walked down that hallway. This place is pretty big, and the men's bathroom, at least, was VERY nice.
    Last edited by seebee on January 27th, 2019, 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #23 - January 27th, 2019, 1:07 pm
    Post #23 - January 27th, 2019, 1:07 pm Post #23 - January 27th, 2019, 1:07 pm
    Panther in the Den wrote:
    diversedancer wrote:If you go for a bollywood movie but don't understand Hindi, you might want to have a "plan B". I went and was promised subtitles, but there were none.
    Most movie houses will refund your money if you leave within 15 minutes.



    I am aware of that, but the person who I was with didn't want to and I lacked the spine to leave on my own. I think we did leave eventually, but it was too late by then. With the same person, we did leave a movie at the Wilmette theater, got a credit for a future movie, which I actually did use.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #24 - January 27th, 2019, 2:04 pm
    Post #24 - January 27th, 2019, 2:04 pm Post #24 - January 27th, 2019, 2:04 pm
    diversedancer wrote:Do not miss the hot beverage across the aisle beyond the goat curry which is included and AFAIK unique compared to EVERY other indian buffet I have been to.

    Can someone please name or describe this beverage? :?:
  • Post #25 - January 27th, 2019, 3:51 pm
    Post #25 - January 27th, 2019, 3:51 pm Post #25 - January 27th, 2019, 3:51 pm
    The mystery beverage is masala chai.

    I haven’t been to Himalayan in years and never had the buffet, so can’t comment on that. But the small cruelties of life brought me to Vernon Hills recently and I got to try the buffet at 7 Spices.

    I don’t go to buffets much, but I have relatives who really enjoy Tava, so I’ve had theirs quite a few times. Tava is my gold standard (keep in mind the first clause in the previous sentence) for the quality of the cooking, but I was very impressed by 7 Spices. Quite a large variety (Southern, Northern, even some Indo-Chinese) and all of it well-prepared. None of the dishes themselves were standouts (well, the biryani was very nicely spiced — could have eaten quite a bit of that), but everything was maybe at B to B+ level, which is about the best you can hope for with a buffet.

    If I were to make a direct comparison: Tava still wins on individual dishes and freshness, but 7 Spices has a clear edge on variety. (If you go to Tava several times, you’ll notice pretty much the same stuff every time and eventually it gets a bit boring.) It’s also a bit cheaper and has another advantage: At Tava, part of your meal involves freshly-made (and very good) tandoori chicken and naan, which may be a plus for some, but is just an annoyance to me — I have no interest in it, but you can’t take any leftovers home (buffet!) so I end up picking at it, or else it’s just a lot of wasted food. At 7 Spices, you just get a plain dosa, which is fine and much less filling.

    Plus the aforementioned chai.
  • Post #26 - January 27th, 2019, 5:30 pm
    Post #26 - January 27th, 2019, 5:30 pm Post #26 - January 27th, 2019, 5:30 pm
    cilantro wrote:I don’t go to buffets much, but I have relatives who really enjoy Tava, so I’ve had theirs quite a few times. Tava is my gold standard ... for the quality of the cooking, but I was very impressed by 7 Spices. Quite a large variety (Southern, Northern, even some Indo-Chinese) and all of it well-prepared. None of the dishes themselves were standouts (well, the biryani was very nicely spiced — could have eaten quite a bit of that), but everything was maybe at B to B+ level, which is about the best you can hope for with a buffet.

    If I were to make a direct comparison: Tava still wins on individual dishes and freshness, but 7 Spices has a clear edge on variety. ... At Tava, part of your meal involves freshly-made (and very good) tandoori chicken and naan, which may be a plus for some, but is just an annoyance to me — I have no interest in it


    Darn, I had a post almost ready to submit, switched tabs and coming back I closed the tab on my draft. At least the rewrite is better organized and maybe shorter.

    I went to Tava once, many years ago, with a friend who is an expert on Indian food (went on a 2 week food tour of india) and the most gourmet cook I have ever known personally (as in multiple meals at their home) and my go-to person for any food question. She also gave me suggestions for new variatons for me to prepare or improve what I had been making. She felt Tava was a step up in quality over Himalayan, which was still her overall first choice for acceptable quality and variety. She felt, and I concur, that Ruchi (or its predecessor, this was up to 10 years ago) was the best quality of ALL buffet restaurants, and I would say up to the quality of ordered food, not buffet. But an even more limited choice than Tava. Mostly we went to Himalayan.

    I am also not a tandoori fan.....except for the tandoori at Ruchi, which I would seconds of, when it was brought out on a sizzling platter, moist and tender fall off the bone.

    If you can choose last minute, perhaps see if Kulfi is on the buffet at Ruchi, and go there when it is. Definitely is (or was) 2 steps above buffet kulfi anywhere else, maybe above ordered kulfi at other places. Made with cream, not condensed milk.
    --Carey aka underdog
  • Post #27 - January 27th, 2019, 7:14 pm
    Post #27 - January 27th, 2019, 7:14 pm Post #27 - January 27th, 2019, 7:14 pm
    Possibly apropos of nothing more than random chance, I have been to Tava several times and consider myself a fan but a lot of dishes I've eaten lately at their lunch buffet seemed much sweeter than in the past. With Himalayan not much farther from my office, I've temporarily given up on Tava. :(

    As for 7 Spices, the barrier to entry is low. It's just matter of waiting until the logistics make sense but I plan on trying it sooner than later.

    =R=
    There are many things that are legal that are not a great idea --Nick Shabazz

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #28 - January 27th, 2019, 7:31 pm
    Post #28 - January 27th, 2019, 7:31 pm Post #28 - January 27th, 2019, 7:31 pm
    FWIW, I was a bit disappointed in the buffet at Tava. I've been happier with Mt Everest in Evanston as well as Tiffin in Rogers Park. I haven't tried Himalaya, but now I've got it on my list. (Nothing against 7 Spices, which I haven't tried, but it's geographically inconvenient for me.)
  • Post #29 - January 28th, 2019, 8:20 am
    Post #29 - January 28th, 2019, 8:20 am Post #29 - January 28th, 2019, 8:20 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:It's just matter of waiting until the logistics make sense but I plan on trying it sooner than later.

    =R=


    If whatever happens to bring you there on a Wed or Thu at a lunchy time, throw me a heads up. I don't need much of an excuse to go, but those are the only days I'm in the ofc up there. If you can plan it a few days before, those in the know will prolly gladly join as well, if possible.

    I'm no expert on Indian Buffets, by any means, and I don't get to Devon for lunch buffets generally ever, anymore. The last Indian Buffet that used to "pop" for me was India House in Buffalo Grove about ten years ago. Ever since then, every Indian lunch buffet (burb or devon) I've been to is just kinda tired, not much heat, same old, white meat butter chicken, and mild goat, mild kerahi, mild paneer makhani, just same ol, same ol.

    7Sp , generally, has been anything but that in each of my visits except for one. Tablemates and I agreed that nothing was popping one visit, I can't recall the exact reason, but I think the bone-in chicken dish was boring that day. (They usually have one boneless, and one bone-in chicken dish in the meat section, along with goat curry, and a meat biryani.) Splitting hairs, probably, but we've grown accustomed to having good, interesting, well spiced stuff from here.

    What I'm getting at is -
    In the past several years, this is easily the best Indian buffet I've been to, but I don't get to many. In my limited experience, the Indian lunch buffets I'm referencing have all been kinda ho-hum. By the description above that Aroma's buffet on a good day, could surpass Himalayan on a bad day, having lunched at Aroma quite a few times, imo, Himalayan sounds like it's not on par with what 7SP is. Aroma, imo, is one of those ho-hum places - it's been an Indian buffet for years and years, and from my visits, not much variance in quality - which can be a good thing for ppl that want the same heat / spice levels (and that's FINE - I get it.)

    Again, never been to Himalayan, it might be great.
    I'd love to give it a try for comparison since peeps are fans.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #30 - February 2nd, 2019, 8:04 pm
    Post #30 - February 2nd, 2019, 8:04 pm Post #30 - February 2nd, 2019, 8:04 pm
    I tried the buffet today. (Felt like a fish out of water.)

    Even after getting a explanation from my waiter, I still was looking for English subtitles.

    I sampled a little bit of everything. I didn’t care for the soups. I think one was sambar and the other was raisen. One of the appetizers was something like maslu vodu, didn’t care for that. Also I think the red curry was maybe too spicy for me. Everything else was fine.

    I wished they had WiFi, then I could look things up. The waiter suggested some dishes and told me I could put curry on them. I did it, but was a little reluctant. I didn’t want to put ketchup on a hotdog, so to speak.

    This was only my second exposure to Indian food, so not sure what I had or was it any good. I do know except for what I mentioned everything tasted ok.

    It was real crowded. Maybe next time I can go during the week and my waiter can spend more time with me.

    Oh, sorry for the spelling errors on the dishes.

    D.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more