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Biryani in Lombard, & Gemato's update in N'ville

Biryani in Lombard, & Gemato's update in N'ville
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  • Biryani in Lombard, & Gemato's update in N'ville

    Post #1 - November 21st, 2004, 9:06 pm
    Post #1 - November 21st, 2004, 9:06 pm Post #1 - November 21st, 2004, 9:06 pm
    Shahi Nehari is a large and slightly run down Muslim Pakistani (is this redundant?) resto off Roosevelt. At one point it was a Sabri Nehari sister, but is now under different ownership. (Perhaps a new project could be a restaurant genealogy chart?) In my continuing effort to catalogue good Indian (broadly defined) joints in the western burb, I have visited there twice. Large, sort of interesting buffet. First visit the food seemed semi-interesting and fairly spicy. This was at lunch. Next visit was Friday evening at the end of Ramadan - the place was empty, and for some reason they insisted we have the buffet. Probably the holiday? Anyway, I am told one can order off the menu on some nights.

    The ffod that night showed every evidence of having been out a while, and seemed much more lightly seasoned than at lunch. Without dissecting the buffet, I can say that for me the only reason to go back is for a Biryani fix. My local Indian informant explained to me in detail how the Pakistani Biryani differs in that it is cooked together in multiple steps, ultimately put together in layers and baked to meld the flavors, where the Indian version in more of a group of ingredients cooked separately, and then combined with stir-fried rice. I think I got most of that right, but feel free to correct.

    My informant also said the best thing is to order a tray of Biryani to go, because then they have to make it up fresh for you. So I will try that. Shahi Nehari is worth stopping by if you are there, but not worth a trip.

    Gemato's is a grill across from the Shredded Wheat plant in Naperville. Except it has now been re-packaged, and where it was once a pink grill, it now is wood paneled and renamed "Gemato's Pit Barbecue." They have not updated the web site, http://www.gematosgrill.com/, so it still shows the old look. The repackaging is skin deep, in that the menu remains the same, as does the interior, though it looks like that will change one of these days. The owner tells me the big difference is in their volume, which is up significantly.

    They have a big old slow roaster somewhere in back, and they roast, grill and otherwise precook a variety of meats, and then finish them when you order, either on the wood fired pit, or on the grill. As far as I can tell, the pre-cooking is never with wood or smoke. Meat is their specialty - and they do a very good job with pork (roasted, then fired over wood), brisket which is a special and cooked the same way, grilled and greek chicken, and then pork and chicken kabobs, which are just cooked on the grill.

    All of these are available with wonderful greek potatoes.

    The Bride likes their burgers which are also finished over the hickory fire.
    And they do the grill standards - hot dogs, regular and chicken gyros, etc.

    This place is a Naperville essential, and everyone I have taken has become a convert. But, for whatever reason, my various posts on it seem to convince no one. Oh well. I stopped by between work and some evening meeting last week, and had a special brisket sandwich for $6.50 with a drink and potatoes, and was reminded just how good their food is. Half a pound of tender brisket with just a touch of smoke and crust from the finishing on a crisp roll. The barbecue sauce - which I believe is slightly doctored commercial grade, and not usually my favorite, was a good complement to this with sweetness and tang. Check it out.

    Shahi Nihari (630) 889-8600
    800 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, IL 60148

    Gemato's Grill, or Pit Barbecue
    1566 W. Ogden Ave
    Naperville, IL 60540
    630-778-9990
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #2 - November 21st, 2004, 11:04 pm
    Post #2 - November 21st, 2004, 11:04 pm Post #2 - November 21st, 2004, 11:04 pm
    You've convinced me.Since the Chow Chicks and I will be out that way soonI will give them the look I give when imploring them not to take me to McDonald's once again.
  • Post #3 - November 22nd, 2004, 9:08 am
    Post #3 - November 22nd, 2004, 9:08 am Post #3 - November 22nd, 2004, 9:08 am
    D,

    I also have had trouble convincing others about the bounty of eats available at Gemato's. When they first put up the new sign I was a little worried that they were going to change to some mediocre wanna-be BBQ joint. I was pleased to find the same chicken and potatoes that I truly do enjoy. HMMM... Do I see a N'ville-athon brewing?

    Flip
    "Beer is proof God loves us, and wants us to be Happy"
    -Ben Franklin-
  • Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm
    Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm Post #4 - January 24th, 2005, 4:00 pm
    An update on Gematos, from the Daily Herald, of all places. I doubt that it will drive much business their way (and the description of the ribs is fairly accurate, and not a recommendation, IMO), but it is probably interesting info for those that frequent N'ville.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/timeout/dining.asp?intID=3837211
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 9:14 am
    Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 9:14 am Post #5 - January 25th, 2005, 9:14 am
    dicksond wrote: Without dissecting the buffet, I can say that for me the only reason to go back is for a Biryani fix. My local Indian informant explained to me in detail how the Pakistani Biryani differs in that it is cooked together in multiple steps, ultimately put together in layers and baked to meld the flavors, where the Indian version in more of a group of ingredients cooked separately, and then combined with stir-fried rice. I think I got most of that right, but feel free to correct.


    Mmm, IThink Indian biryani should be made the same way, but it is most often made the way your informant described as a shortcut. In the more famous biryani spots in india, such as Hyderabad it is made the way described above, in Lucknow it is common for the whole thinkg to be sealed with a layer of dough to trap the juices. The dough is then broken open to eat the whole thing. This method of cooking is known as dum phukt (yeah, its a good thing I just didnt write that phonetically)

    also given the day you went, it may be worthwhile trying on another visit, given that some observant folks may have avoided cooking during the day, can't speak from personal knowledge however.
  • Post #6 - January 9th, 2006, 9:14 am
    Post #6 - January 9th, 2006, 9:14 am Post #6 - January 9th, 2006, 9:14 am
    dicksond wrote:Shahi Nehari is a large and slightly run down Muslim Pakistani (is this redundant?) resto off Roosevelt. At one point it was a Sabri Nehari sister, but is now under different ownership. (Perhaps a new project could be a restaurant genealogy chart?) In my continuing effort to catalogue good Indian (broadly defined) joints in the western burb, I have visited there twice. Large, sort of interesting buffet. First visit the food seemed semi-interesting and fairly spicy. This was at lunch. Next visit was Friday evening at the end of Ramadan - the place was empty, and for some reason they insisted we have the buffet. Probably the holiday? Anyway, I am told one can order off the menu on some nights.

    Shahi Nihari (630) 889-8600
    800 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, IL 60148



    This is right up there with my lunch at Dong Ky of discoveries that are not really discoveries. Hey, who needs to be first.

    We've tried this buffet on subsequent weekends. We liked it on a Saturday and then wanted to try the Sunday buffet where we were promised 7 additional dishes.

    7 new? No. Saturday and Sunday's total output was about the same, with the one true addition to the buffet on Sunday, fresh made puri (a fried puffy bread) for the table. The Sunday buffet also includes the standard Punjabi breakfast items of orange cream of wheat (halwa) and chick peas. Good stuff. The puri, well, fried bread is fried bread, but it was a bit too oily and surely not crisp enough.

    The buffet is mostly meat dominated. Yesterday, there were two goat curries, a chicken curry, tandoor chicken, ground beef (keema tasting a lot like sloppy joes) seek kebabs and nehari. I like nehari generally, and this was a good, but not quite Sabri version. The seek kebabs could have used a few more minutes on the grill for my tastes, but the curries are hugely flavorful and filled with slices of jalepenos for heat. They and the nehari go great with the made to order naan. The few vegetable offerings each day (besides the breakfast chick peas) are ghee dominated and make a good change of taste. The birayana looks ordinary but it packed a lot of flavor.

    A few weeks ago I visted India Gardens on Da'Bomb. To say this is world's better is to damn with faint praise. Still, I love this style of Indian food, and enough of it is cooked well enough to make this a good choice for a lunch.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 9:18 am
    Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 9:18 am Post #7 - February 26th, 2006, 9:18 am
    I tried shahi nehari a while back when we had some relatives in town and were in the general area. I thought the nehari itself pretty good, not quite as good as sabri's but pretty close. Also good was the dal, though it may not be to everyone's taste as it had strong hits of asofoetida (hing), and garlic. Most everything else was good but not great. some things I didn't care for as much were the tandoori chicken - I'm pretty sure these were oven baked rather than in a tandoor given the wetness of the onions and sauce (maybe this would be different for a la carte rather than buffet version) and the chapli kabab which were very thin and kind of eggy in texture

    all in all thought I'd say it held up well to devon buffets.
  • Post #8 - February 27th, 2006, 4:03 pm
    Post #8 - February 27th, 2006, 4:03 pm Post #8 - February 27th, 2006, 4:03 pm
    Muslim Pakistani (is this redundant?)


    This is a really late reply, but actually, no.

    Pakistani Muslim versus Pakistani Hindu cuisine is quite different. Similarly, Pakistani Muslim cuisine versus Muslim food from Hyderabad or Lucknow (Awahdi cuisine) are very different.
  • Post #9 - February 27th, 2006, 4:24 pm
    Post #9 - February 27th, 2006, 4:24 pm Post #9 - February 27th, 2006, 4:24 pm
    Athena wrote:
    Muslim Pakistani (is this redundant?)


    This is a really late reply, but actually, no.

    Pakistani Muslim versus Pakistani Hindu cuisine is quite different. Similarly, Pakistani Muslim cuisine versus Muslim food from Hyderabad or Lucknow (Awahdi cuisine) are very different.


    My childhood was a testament to the fact that Punjabi Muslim (my family) cuisine is not the same as Hyderabadi Muslim (most others in our small Ohio town) cuisine.

    Maybe there's a difference, but with 98% of Pakistan Muslim and about 1% Hindu, I guess it's just an odds-game that I've never had "Pakistani Hindu" cuisine. Is this available in Chicago?

    z
  • Post #10 - March 1st, 2006, 12:57 pm
    Post #10 - March 1st, 2006, 12:57 pm Post #10 - March 1st, 2006, 12:57 pm
    Zeeshan wrote:
    Athena wrote:
    Muslim Pakistani (is this redundant?)


    This is a really late reply, but actually, no.

    Pakistani Muslim versus Pakistani Hindu cuisine is quite different. Similarly, Pakistani Muslim cuisine versus Muslim food from Hyderabad or Lucknow (Awahdi cuisine) are very different.


    My childhood was a testament to the fact that Punjabi Muslim (my family) cuisine is not the same as Hyderabadi Muslim (most others in our small Ohio town) cuisine.

    Maybe there's a difference, but with 98% of Pakistan Muslim and about 1% Hindu, I guess it's just an odds-game that I've never had "Pakistani Hindu" cuisine. Is this available in Chicago?

    z


    I didn't notice that question in the original post, but as many have mentioned there's quite a variety of muslim subcontinental cuisine. Though my own background is kashmiri hindu, most of population of that state is muslim and most descriptions of the food from the region focus on muslim versions. Kerala also has a sizable muslim population, traditionally fisherman I think, the cuisine of that community is known as moplah - its quite different from the others mentioned above.
  • Post #11 - March 1st, 2006, 4:06 pm
    Post #11 - March 1st, 2006, 4:06 pm Post #11 - March 1st, 2006, 4:06 pm
    Friends took me to an Indian place, I can't tell you where, all I know is that we were across the street from a Downers Grove water tower and in an un-named strip that had a Just Tires next door. The place had 4 Indian women in saris cooking and one older gentleman off to the side peeling potatoes. My friend is an office mate of an Indian woman and did all the ordering. I never had samosas before and just loved the green sauce that came with them. Everything was vegetarian but a bit on the greasy side as we tried all of their bread offerings. Our table was full of food, more kept coming and I think everything for the 4 of us was $30 or less. I would love to find and try this place again, my friend has since moved out of state.
  • Post #12 - March 1st, 2006, 6:54 pm
    Post #12 - March 1st, 2006, 6:54 pm Post #12 - March 1st, 2006, 6:54 pm
    LikestoEatout wrote:Friends took me to an Indian place, I can't tell you where, all I know is that we were across the street from a Downers Grove water tower and in an un-named strip that had a Just Tires next door.


    I think you mean Kohinoor on Maple Ave., it's between the tire place and a paint shop. I was there sometime two months or so ago – taken by a friend who lives nearby. The owners are (apparently) Punjabi, but the ladies standing and making a steady stream of chapattis are Gujrati (incidentally the chapatis are available @ $3.75 for 10)
    In addition to the limited and vegetarian menu – chole bhature, puri and vegetable/potato curry, stuffed parathas (aloo (potato), mooli (radish)) etc., also dosa is mentioned (but I don't think I'd try that) – the 'store carries video cassettes and a few shelves with Indian staples and grocery items.
    The chole bhature I had for a late breakfast was satisfying, but not particularly worth an out of the way drive)*. The bhature or fried 'sourdough' (typically from yogurt in the dough) was actually quite non-greasy, good balance of crispiness to softness, though I'd have liked it a bit more chewier/stretchier. The chole or chickpeas/garbanzo dish was decent, not particularly Punjabi (nor Gujrati). Maybe quite a 'homestyle' variation. The whole place is certainly quite 'homestyle'.
    The mixed vegetable pickle served was very good, we got seconds and thought it was homemade; on asking we were advised it was not. They carry some sweets (I think from elsewhere). However my friend says that Kohinoor caters and at one such event he had been to (that's how he found out about them) he had fantastic ras-malai, not too sweet and nice thick creamy malai. These (and other) sweets are apparently only for the catered events as it isn't otherwise cost effective.


    Kohinoor Restaurant
    2309 Maple Ave
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    (630) 968-3130


    *I took pictures, thinking I'd post in this thread, but I deleted them…

    edit: on rereading, I think this may have come off as a bit harsh. Kohinoor is a small place but has good homey food. Nothing fancy, but quite satisfactory. It's the sort of place one may walk in and the owner might ask, "What do you feel like eating today, son?" and make it for you.

    The hours are variable - call before you go.
  • Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:58 pm
    Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:58 pm Post #13 - March 3rd, 2006, 5:58 pm
    edit: on rereading, I think this may have come off as a bit harsh. Kohinoor is a small place but has good homey food. Nothing fancy, but quite satisfactory. It's the sort of place one may walk in and the owner might ask, "What do you feel like eating today, son?" and make it for you.


    Yes, Sazerac, that is sort of what I had concluded before I got to your edit - good, homestyle cooking. That is how the place that is currently Monpasand started - a fellow who liked to cook had this tiny restaurant and would make a couple of dishes every day. He would come out, ask you to choose from a couple of options - no menu, and if you did not like any of them he would entertain alternatives, and then make a meal. It was uniformly good, sometimes great, and enjoyable. Quite homey.

    So I will probably make the (not so long) drive to Kohinoor one of these days. Such places are quite satisfying, even if the food is not wonderful.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 10:02 pm
    Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 10:02 pm Post #14 - March 5th, 2006, 10:02 pm
    Kohinoor Restaurant
    2309 Maple Ave
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    (630) 968-3130

    Kohinoor is not bad. It's been around for more than 10 years. They maintain a low profile. I think the food there is as close to home-cooked Indian food as you can possibly get in a restaurant. They have a four-sabzi(vegetables)-with-unlimited-chapatis-and-rice deal for $5.95, which is not bad at all. My only complaint is that their service is kinda slow.
  • Post #15 - January 16th, 2007, 3:59 pm
    Post #15 - January 16th, 2007, 3:59 pm Post #15 - January 16th, 2007, 3:59 pm
    my mother was taken to kohinoor recently by a friend from the area and absolutely loved the fact that the chapati were being made by hand in front of you. She brought some things back for us to try and I quite liked the mouli (daikon) parantha, though it obviously suffered somewhat from being reheated (though reheated nicely with ghee on a tava) later. The two other we tried was somewhat mixed an order of matter paneer was just average but a real winner was what would seem a rather nondescript buffet filler item of cabbage,carrots and peas - this was done in a somewhat south indian style with mustard seeds and curry leafs and had a strong punch of hing (asoefetida). I really enjoyed this.

    I plan on hitting koh-i-noor next time I'm in the area
  • Post #16 - January 17th, 2007, 5:35 am
    Post #16 - January 17th, 2007, 5:35 am Post #16 - January 17th, 2007, 5:35 am
    Thanks for the update on Kohinoor and giving me the address, I have friends I want to take there and still only had my memories of the water tower and the tire place for directions.
  • Post #17 - January 17th, 2007, 9:15 pm
    Post #17 - January 17th, 2007, 9:15 pm Post #17 - January 17th, 2007, 9:15 pm
    zim wrote:I plan on hitting koh-i-noor next time I'm in the area


    You may want to call ahead, especially if it is in the evening (or there's a lot of snow on the ground :) ). It took a couple of trips before I manged to eat there.

    Interesting that the cabbage was S. Indian style. Maybe they have a S. Indian cook sometimes? May explain the dosa on the menu - it may be even be good (not that N. Indians can't make good dosa per se).

    According to my friend who lives in the area - the best dosa (and vadai) for sale in the Chicago area is at the Aurora Venkateshwara Temple. I really wanted to but couldn't quite make it there before leaving Chicago (Katy's won).
    I believe him and it makes sense, as the Temple is a to a deity/form revered in S. India. Anyways, as I've not been there myself, this lead goes unreported.*

    *
    hence the small font, to escape the pigmon's gaze
  • Post #18 - January 19th, 2007, 3:01 pm
    Post #18 - January 19th, 2007, 3:01 pm Post #18 - January 19th, 2007, 3:01 pm
    Seems to me that Electric Mullet pointed me in the direction of the Temple a while back, but I have never made it there (or to Kohinoor as it happens). These days I tend to go to Sizzle India or Swagat in Naperville. Swagat is better overall (excellent Southern Indian), but Sizzle India has some Sino-Indian dishes that are enjoyable. Planning to go there tonight, so I called Kohinoor to see if I might try them. They are closed until January 29 and then open for limited, evening only hours until sometime in February.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #19 - January 19th, 2007, 10:34 pm
    Post #19 - January 19th, 2007, 10:34 pm Post #19 - January 19th, 2007, 10:34 pm
    A friend took me to the temple for lunch. It was magnificent. It's been a while, so I don't exactly remember what we ate (sorry), but it was very good. Menu is limited during the week, but on Sundays they have a greater variety, especially the first Sunday of the month.

    People are friendly, and the temple is very interesting and beautiful. Great experience right here in Aurora.

    On another note, glad to hear Swagart is good. I went in there and picked up a menu, and the place was empty, which put me off, a little. I'll have to try it.
  • Post #20 - April 9th, 2007, 10:42 am
    Post #20 - April 9th, 2007, 10:42 am Post #20 - April 9th, 2007, 10:42 am
    I wasn't certain about posting here because this thread has gone all over the place or to start a new one to feature Kohinoor. I finally made it back this past Saturday bringing friends who are vegetarian. All enjoyed the food but we were put off by the sign in the door that said "Buisness for sale". We were never able to find out more because the English speaking young lady was always in the back and on the phone leaving us with the woman who did all the cooking but spoke no English. My friends ordered so I know we had samosa's but then we had 3 thick pancakes, one with white radish, one with green onion and one with peas.

    My friends live somewhat nearby and now that they know about Kohinoor, they plan on stopping again soon and will hopefully find out the status on the business.
  • Post #21 - April 10th, 2007, 8:14 am
    Post #21 - April 10th, 2007, 8:14 am Post #21 - April 10th, 2007, 8:14 am
    LikestoEatout wrote:My friends ordered so I know we had samosa's but then we had 3 thick pancakes, one with white radish, one with green onion and one with peas.

    I'm guessing those were the parathas zim mentioned above (Mooli Paratha, etc.)
  • Post #22 - November 2nd, 2007, 3:23 pm
    Post #22 - November 2nd, 2007, 3:23 pm Post #22 - November 2nd, 2007, 3:23 pm
    dicksond wrote:Shahi Nihari (630) 889-8600
    800 E Roosevelt Rd, Lombard, IL 60148


    Stopped by a week or two ago and they are closed.

    I kinda liked the place.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat

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