Chicago’s fine dining landscape has more expensive tasting menus than Florida has tax fraud. But if you’re looking for one that is South Asian and won’t cost a zillion dollars, you’ve got pretty much one option: Indienne. That’s why we’re telling everyone who will listen to book a table here for their next special occasion—even if the occasion is simply that you have decided, “I want to eat passion fruit pani puri and drink goat cheese-infused mezcal on a Tuesday.”
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This Indian restaurant definitely falls into the fine dining category. Indienne’s large dining room is filled with upholstered chairs and white tablecloths, the staff is bustling around in crisp jackets, and the artistic dishes being whirled around on trays include lots of tableside pours. But the restaurant also doesn’t feel too formal. It’s energetic and busy, and the South Asian EDM playlist won’t make you feel like you’re eating in a library.
You have two choices when it comes to ordering: an $80-$90 eight-course tasting or a separate a la carte menu. But go with the tasting. It’s the best way to try a bunch of stuff without feeling the urge to check your bank account halfway through the meal.
Pretty dishes will arrive at your table with lots of flourish but minimal explanation. The menu changes often, but expect things like eclair canapes filled with goat cheese and chutney, malai tikka formed into a terrine and sauced tableside, and a cute little potato pave accompanying the lamb chop. Indienne’s egg curry involves a poached egg, and the bowl is covered in a delicate pastry hat that you’ll feel a tiny bit bad about breaking. Unlike most tasting menu spots, each dish won’t come with a soliloquy. So if you want to know what that pastry hat is made from (it’s buckwheat) you’ll need to ask.
There’s some crossover between the a la carte and tasting menus—like the malai tikka, and a beautiful chaat layered with panna cotta, airy yogurt, chutney, and crispy potatoes. But one of the best dishes, the jackfruit katsu, is an a la carte exclusive: a crispy rectangle of shredded jackfruit topped with lemon sour cream, a rice cracker, and swimming in a dum ki gravy that has enough spice to make us say “we’re really glad they gave us this cracker” but not enough to make tears stream down our face as we order more naan.
Everything here is compelling enough to keep you entertained and looking for excuses to come back—even the cocktail menu, where you’ll see ingredients like goat cheese, coconut soda, and rare Indian whiskeys. And in a neighborhood filled with boring restaurants and valets parking rented Lambos, that alone is an occasion worth celebrating.
Dishes change regularly, but here is an example of what you may find:
Passion Fruit Pani Puri And Mushroom Galauti
Chicken (Malai Tikka)
Pao With Cultured Butter
Cauliflower (Liquid Bhaji)