First Trip to the Desi Corridor: Ravi Kebab House by Chef Shane Zimmerman
On a cold and chilly Chicago night, there’s nothing like a taste of Devon Avenue to chase away those winter blues. Filled with brightly color neon signs, traditional Indian clothing in every almost store front, the Desi Corridor as its affectionately called, is where to find a true taste of South Asia. This neighborhood is located along Devon Avenue from Ravenswood Avenue to California Avenue. During this trip to Devon, I was on a mission for Butter Chicken and Chapli Kebabs, two dishes that have been on my ‘must try’ list for sometime. I chose Ravi Kebab on a whim, as the huge tandoori oven and cases of papadams and roti drew me in.
Butter chicken is a Delhi, India specialty that starts by marinating chicken pieces in yogurt and spices and then cooking it in a tandoori oven. The sauce is prepared separate by combining butter, cream, tomato puree, green chilies and other spices including fenugreek. The chicken is then cut into pieces and left to stew in the sauce until the chicken is fall apart tender. At Ravi’s, the butter chicken was succulent and juicy, with a good amount of spice. But if you like spicy, then the Chapli kebabs are your ticket. They have their origins in Pakistan and they’re not your normal meat on a stick. Actually there’s no sticks involved whatsoever. Chapli comes from the Pakistani word meaning ‘flat’. The kebabs starts with minced goat or lamb, green chilies, and spices. They are then shaped into flat patties and grilled until crispy. These bad boys made me sweat, but they were really delicious with a nice crisp exterior. Thankfully I had a nice cold mango lassi to cool me down.
I had two minor qualms with the experience. Firstly, since it is a BYOB restaurant, I figured they would have glasses, but this was not the case. They served us Styrofoam cups, which was a slightly different drinking experience than other BYOB restaurants. And secondly, the cheese naan. I was expecting a fluffy naan with melted paneer cheese, but what I got was a very delicious naan stuffed with what tasted like American cheese. It tasted good; it just wasn’t what I was expecting.
But overall my first experience in the Devon neighborhood was great. The meal was very tasty and the servers were very friendly. I had a couple issues with the experience but overall the food was very flavorful and delicious. I will definitely be back to compare it to its other great neighboring restaurants, but for now Ravi Kebab House at 2447 W Devon Ave, tops my list.
Reservations: Accepted; BOYB; Lunch & Dinner; Price: $ (1-11)