Tuesday, August 03, 2004

India by London in Chicago

Of all the great treats on Da'Bomb, one of the most impressive is the chicken chagra at Sabri Nehari. Quite unconventional, but surely a tribute to its hometown, Chicago. Like many an urban chicken shack, Sabri fries a chicken and then fresh from the fryer, doses it with Louisiana hot sauce. Now, at Harold's you will always find your chicken cut into parts unlike the whole fried chicken at Sabri, and at Harold's there is never a heavy hand of sub-continental spices to add a finishing touch to the chicken. Still, Sabri must have conceived their dish as a homage to their home town. I know and love the Chicago style South-Asian food.

What about London style right here in Chicago? While my thoughts of Ambla have been percolating in my mind for over a week, Lill on Chowhound scooped me. What she sez, especially the part about generous sampling. The halwa that we purchased had about the most ideal texture I seek in food. The way you chewed it yet did not crunch it. Unlike the other chat shops on Da'Bomb, Ambla is strictly take-out. To keep our afternoon thematically consistent, we followed up a visit to Ambla with a visit to Kabbabish of London.

While I am not going to look up or cite past Kabbabish reports, my memory is that it did not get raving reviews. And the store was empty near five, giving us even less incentive to enter. Really, if only because I organize my chowing as fodder for the blog, did we decided to try Kabbabish of London. And it turns out that fodder worked. We liked all this London style South Asian food. Now, while I can easily see how Sabri's Harold's influenced chicken chagra IS Chicago, I can less see how this was London style. Sure, the dishes had names like London Gosht and Birmingham chicken, but in execution, they did not seem that different. The individual dishes are pretty cheap, allowing us to order a fair amount. We liked everything we ordered, especially the seek kebabs that had a nice hacked meat texture instead of being finely ground. We also really liked the wet dishes, although you have to have a strong stomach for ghee, clarified butter. The nan and parantha were much better than the so called specialist loved by some a few blocks away. Like my friends at the Bangladeshi restaurant, the owners of Kabbabish of London eagerly engaged us.

I would offer that, from one afternoon on Da'Bomb, London is well represented in Chicago.

Sabri Nehari
2511 W. Devon Ave

Ambla Sweets
2741 W. Devon

Kabbabish of London
2437 W Devon
Chicago, IL

Harold's Fried Chicken
Multuple locations

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