Uru Swati2629 W Devon Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
Uru-Swati Chicago Review: Healing through Food; Huh! Really??Uru-Swati is one of those countless desi restaurants at the heart of Devon Avenue’s India section in Chicago.
We had walked past the place several times but never cared to check it out until SI showed interest in a review.
Hey, we’re not schmucks to say ‘no’ to an offer of free food!
We starved ourselves through much of the day so as to try as many items as possible. Predictably enough, when we entered Uru-Swati we were ravenously hungry and in an attack mode.
Ambiance & CleanlinessAs soon as we walked in, we knew this restaurant was out of place on Devon.
You see, the place was quiet, distance between tables was generous, furniture was good, and lighting was rather stylish for a Devon Indian restaurant.
What impressed us the most though was the absolutely clean and dry restroom! Now, isn't that a rarity for Indian restaurants where pee on the floor and a repulsive smell is the norm.
Service & ValueThe uniformed waiters were courteous, our order was promptly taken, food was served quickly, used plates were removed with alacrity and water was refilled frequently.
Service remained consistently good throughout our dinner.
For the quantity of food and the number of items we fell upon, the bill was not much. It was overall 20-30% cheaper than other ‘fine dining’ Indian restaurants in the Chicago area.
However, is cheaper same as good value for money? Was there any healing through their food?
Keep reading, my pets.
Menu & FoodWith a good first impression formed largely on ambiance, we ventured into the thicket of the menu to hunt for our evening meal.
The menu was neatly organized. Uru-Swati offers North and South Indian Vegetarian food along with a selection of Chat items.
We believe a food item is good when 4 out of the 5 senses respond favorably - appearance, aroma, taste and the feeling.
Uru-Swati succeeded at getting the appearance right but they tripped on the remaining factors for most items.
Their tagline "Healing through food" is a joke considering the amount of oil and Ghee they use in the gravy. They not only use a lot of oil, they also seem to use "used" oil.
This type of food, even if palatable, only adds to your waistline, Sugar, BP and Cholesterol.
Drinks - Salt Lassi & Jal JeeraWe launched into our meal with drinks.
Salt Lassi was thick, even and delicious. The flavoring of Jeera and Coriander enhanced its taste, feel and appeal.
Sadly, Jal Jeera turned out to be a disappointment.
While it was not completely bad, it did not stir within us the energy and hunger that is associated with a good Jal Jeera. The drink reminded us of an ideal Jal Jeera rather than being one itself.
Ragada Patties, Pav Bhaji and Idli VadaSoon we were on the appetizers trail.
Ragada Patties looked attractive.
Alas, looks can deceive. You see, the poorly prepared dish was camouflaged by a lot of Sev to cover up for the two giant tasteless patties inside.
We could not finish this item
Pav Bhaji was not bad although they used a different bread to impersonate the standard Pav.
The Bhaji tasted ok but lacked the rich aroma one associates with it. The copious amount of oil and ghee scared us off from eating much of it. The Pav was also soaked in oil.
To get a feel of Uru-Swati’s South Indian fare, we went in for Idli and Vada.
Idli was not bad despite it not being made of the proper South Indian dough which typically lends a sour flavor to Idli.
Vada was tasty and not oily at all.
But one look at the Sambar would tell you it was made in the North Indian style. Sambar lacked the traditional aroma associated with it but mercifully it was edible.
Chutney was ok. We were thankful that it was at least at room temperature.
Mooli Paratha, Dal Makhani, Pickle and RaitaMooli Paratha had a South Indian feel to it.
The top and bottom layer of Paratha that covered the Mooli stuffing was brittle. It was difficult to tear a piece without spilling most of the stuffing out.
While this stuff was edible it can hardly be classed in the tasty category.
Dal Makhani is usually aromatic but not at Uru-Swati. It seemed to give away Uru-Swati's secret formula in all their recipes - "Used?" oil.
The accompanying Raita was superb but the pickle was too sweet to go with the Paratha.
Horrid Paneer MakhaniUru-Swati's Paneer Makhani preparation has to be ranked among the most horrendous forms of hazardous foods.
The mere sight of the thick layer of oil that eclipsed the Makhani and Paneer reduced our lifespan by a couple of years.
After spending a few minutes filtering the oil using a spoon, we tasted this item for the sole purpose of mentioning it in the review.
The entire exercise was futile, this dish was a disaster. And, horror of horrors, it had more salt than Paneer!
We ended up eating the nice Phulka Roti and the rice with Raita and the sweet pickle. Again, Raita was yummy and the Roti was fine.
Dessert - Gulab JamunWhat’s an Indian meal without the nice finale of a good dessert.
We ended our meal with a cup of Gulab Jamun.
Naturally, it was sweet and high on sugar (Healing??).
Uru-Swati Food Rating
Our Verdict on Uru-SwatiIt’s the beginning of summer in Chicago.
The weather warm yet pleasant.
It was Saturday evening 8:30 pm, a time when desis unleash their inner Bakasura at any Indian restaurant where they can get a seat.
Yet, Uru-Swati was not more than 50% occupied at any point during the 90 minutes we were there. With the type of food they serve, it’s not hard to guess why.
The restaurant’s small clientele is also probably why they have a good ambiance and prompt service.
For those who prefer style over substance, Uru-Swati is probably value for money.
As for the rest, this place is another establishment they need to pass by in the street to get to their favorite dining place.
If this is the normal standard of food Uru-Swati serves, then it won’t be too long before they lose all their business to the dozens of Indian eateries right next door.
Uru-Swati is the kind of place you visit when all restaurants on Devon Ave. are full and you are too hungry to wait. © ChicagoIndia.us
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