This review was originally published on Chicago Vegetarian Pescatarian Concerns, Shanti Chu’s personal food blog. Learn about eating ethically on a budget and what new restaurants in Chicago are doing it right, and follow Chi Veg on Instagram at @chivegpesc to connect with Chi Veg.
Logan Square needed an Indian restaurant badly in a sea of many “New American” spots. Logan Square has a lot of hip, American spots but the Asian food is lacking. The Spice Room finally graced the Logan Square restaurant scene in the spring of 2017. It’s a small, quaint restaurant with club music, pretty decorations and lights, and a very attentive staff. The service is consistently friendly, quick, and on top of things. The older gentleman is always excellent with those water refills, which is necessary if you are sensitive to spice.
Considering that The Spice Room is an Indian restaurant, it’s quite the haven for vegetarians. They have a special vegetarian appetizer section and a vegetarian entrée section making it easy to know what part of the menu is safe.
At this point I have had their Veggie Samosas, Kurkure Bhindi (fried okra), and Gobi Manchurian (fried cauliflower) from their vegetarian appetizer options. They have such a diverse selection of vegetarian appetizers and some unique items you don’t see at every Indian restaurant.
Their veggie samosas are crispy and sooo fresh! The ginger flavor was really prominent. The chutneys were very fresh and it was affordable being $4 total for two large samosas. The Kurkure Bhindi was also really flavorful and well-seasoned but could have been a bit more moist. Their Gobi Manchurian was a perfect balance of tangy-spice and umami flavors while the breading added that touch of guilty decadence to an otherwise healthy vegetable. The cilantro-scallion garnish added a refreshing edge to a dish with heavy flavors.
My favorite entrées here are the Vegetarian Tikka Masala, Paneer Butter Masala, Dal Makhani, and Okra Masala. I have also had the Chana Masala, Mutter Paneer and Malai Kofta. These tend to be a bit milder spice-wise, which is why I prefer the other dishes more.
The Vegetarian Tikka Masala and Paneer Butter Masala both have these exquisite tomato sauces that I can’t get enough of; I could bathe in them. There is such a complexity to the sauce and they are perfectly spiced. The vegetarian tikka masala has vegetables like carrots, potatoes, broccoli whereas the paneer butter masala has firm chunks of paneer, onions, peppers and is creamier.
Maybe paneer isn’t your thing and you want something more protein heavy: The Dal Makhani is also another delicious favorite of mine. Instead of just using lentils, they included kidney beans and the sauce was more tomato based than what I am used to. I really love it, yet it is distinct from the tomato sauce that the paneer was served in. It was also very spicy as we sometimes order it with extra spice, but that did not take away from the flavor. If you don’t like spicy food, don’t order it with extra spice as it already comes with a decent amount of spice.
Another mouthwatering dish was the Okra Masala aka Bhindi Masala. It was also prepared in a unique way as it had a smokiness to it that I was enamored with. The masala spices, onions, okra, and tomatoes blended seamlessly with one another and this dish serves as a really nice complement to the heavier, creamy tomato sauces. I’ve never had smokey okra masala before and I cannot wait to experience it again.
But what about the naan?!…You might be wondering about the naan since that is pretty much a necessary part of eating out at an Indian restaurant. I can’t eat Indian food without a side of garlic naan, which is always scrumptious. The garlic is generously applied on the naan and it is crispy and not too heavy. They cut them up into smaller pieces so you’re not as tempted to eat the whole thing!
All of the entrées come with rice, which is really nice considering that you have to pay extra at other places sometimes. It’s also BYOB, adding to the nice affordable edge of The Spice Room—even though it’s more expensive than what you will find on Devon Avenue. It’s a perfect intimate spot for a friend date or romantic date.
If you’re here in the winter, it can get cold when the door opens so I would just keep your coat on if you’re someone who is always cold like myself. Other than being cold, The Spice Room provides a pleasant, uniquely unpretentious environment to eat mouthwateringly delicious Indian food in Logan Square!
Vegetarian Options Rating: ★★★★★
Pescatarian Options Rating: ★★★★★
Food Quality: ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★★