Quick and laid-back Indian spot Tikkawala takes a hiatus after just five months
Don’t you hate it when this happens? You hear great things about a new place, but you know it takes time for restaurants to get up to speed, to solve problems in the kitchen and at the front of the house. So you wait a bit to give it time to take on its full meaning. Then you go there and it meets, exceeds, or beats expectations, but somehow you’re inspired enough to want to tell people about it.
And then you find out it’s closing.
Tikkawala, which closes Friday, is a fast-paced, laid-back West Loop Indian restaurant with gourmet pretensions from a pair of industry veterans.
“We started off with a really amazing menu,” Chef Hiran Patel told me when I spoke to him earlier this week before tabling the restaurant review next week. “We hit a grand slam and got a lot of attention. It just didn’t make sense in dollars and cents to continue, because it all started from zero, and we only had four tables and no schedules. bar. ”
Patel, a Klay Oven Kitchen and Veerasway veteran, along with Chef Siran Singh (Roister, Veerasway), opened this little service counter in June, offering hot dogs and chicken burgers to Whitney Young’s kids, and by night, adults (including writers keen on early bird cooking) are served more ambitious things like grilled shrimp with a mango-apple salad and grilled lamb chops with Indian-spiced chimichurri. and mashed potatoes with ginger.
Usually I wait about a month before visiting a new place, but I have clearly slept too long in Tikkawala. I could tell right away that something was going on. These dishes were nowhere to be found, and even things like rogan josh and fresh spinach saag paneer lacked chef toppings that would have inflated those standards. No chicken burgers either – just an array of eight textbook dishes and a handful of sides. I tried them all, and they were all pretty good and fresh, even though they were somewhat restricted in their spice profiles. This withholding is intentional, according to the chiefs, so at least it was targeted.
But Patel tells me it’s not goodbye, see you later. Another partner owns the building, so it will take time for him to refocus and develop a concept that makes financial sense without stifling his creativity. An intriguing five-course “Namaste Italy” dinner for tonight has also been postponed, but anyone who can’t resist the urge of the partners’ take on Indian fast-casual can still reach their two Naansense locations for the lamb. vindaloo tacos or quinoa chana tikka bowls.
Tikkawala 1258 W. Jackson, 312-455-1258, tikkawala.com