Location – 4832 N. Broadway (Broadway and Lawrence)
In one word – Winner
Food – I have been wanting to try the Indian cuisine at Marigold for a while as a result of several recommendations from fellow eaters. Finally the day arrived! Surveying the menu, I saw all Indian standards with little modern twists added to spice up the dishes. A couple of the options stood out. For example, one of the specials was an pear stuffed with paneer (cheese), which was then put in the oven for a carmelized effect. My eating partner finished it so fast that I didn’t even have to ask her what she thought. The proof was the licked clean plate. I started with lamb kofta (Indian lamb meatballs) – very impressive. Then I had the murg makhani (chicken with a creamy tomato sauce). I found it cleaner and less greasy than the typical makhanis you get on Devon. My eating partner had the vegetarian thali (a hodge podge of vegetarian dishes). She seemed to really relish in the chili-flavored corn. We then went further and indulged in a ginger creme brulee. I wasn’t hungry, more curious for a bite. It was a standard creme brulee, but with the ginger, it had even more flavor.
Drink – We were just going to get a glass of wine, but then we saw the cocktail list. We got caught up with the idea of Limca (an Indian soda) and cucumber essence in our drinks, so we ordered the Limca-tini and the Rangpuraana. My eating partner and I learned a lesson – if you’re not a cocktail drinker, even Limca won’t help you. When we could only take two sips our drinks, our waiter took pity on us, relieved us of the glasses and didn’t charge us. That was very nice of him. We instead ordered a glass of the A to Z pinot noir (me) and the Garnacha (eating partner). That sufficed just fine with the spicy meal.
Service – Our server, Neil, was great and made us feel at home. He was jovial and knowledgeable about the menu. He advised us well (with the exception of the cocktails). At the end of the meal, it felt like we had a new friend in Neil.
Occasion – Being in Uptown, the vibe is hip and still casual. There seemed to be a lot of double dates here. I wore a cotton dress with leggings (and thought I looked cute). My eating partner wore her good jeans with a fun sweater. Guys were dressed in jeans, fun t-shirts and stylish caps. I made a note to myself to bring my parents here. I think they’ll like the down-to-earth/innovative combination of the place.
Cost – Three courses, plus wine, tax and tip brought us to $51 each. Was it worth it? I think so, particularly because we were treating it as a special occasion spot. It was my eating partner’s birthday.
If you like, try…Green Zebra, Flo
Location – 3910 N. Sheridan
In one word – Unfulfilling
Food – Okay, I am usually easily sold on Mexican food, but Caliente just didn’t do it for me. I found the food to be far too standard. There was nothing special about it, they gave me no reason to trek all the way to Uptown. I started with the ensalada fresca which sounded promising: spinach, mango, jimaca, cucumber and an orange vinegrette. Only I never found the vinegrette. Call me picky, but I don’t go for the dressing-less salad. I had the tamales as well…nothing exciting to report. My table shared the empanadas, there were supposed to be three types. Only two varieties ended up at our table…Entree portions are large here, but I’m a fan of quality over quantity.
Drink – It’s BYOB, which I appreciate given that I’m still struggling with my New Year’s resolution to stay within my budget.
Service – Pretty standard. Our waiter knew about the dishes and went to ask the chef for any of our left field questions. There’s a relaxed feel about this place, so the service is not too formal.
Occasion – I came to catch up with friends, that seemed to be the general trend amongst the other patrons. You could probably come here if you were in a very stable relationship and wanted to go some place low key (and not impressive).
Dress – Jeans are totally appropriate. Anything more would be overdressed.
Cost – You’d probably spend $20 – 30 a person here. The portions are huge, so I’m pretty sure you’ll go home with a doggie bag, but I still don’t know if this place is worth the price.
If you like…, try – Uncle Julio’s Hacienda (but keep in mind that Caliente is much much much more low key than UJH)