Rohini Dey wants you to forget everything you thought you knew about Indian food. As the owner and founder of Vermilion, a restaurant that fuses Indian with Latin American cuisine, she is determined to show Chicagoans that Indian food can take oh-so-many forms beyond the $8.99 buffet.
From the sleek and hip decor (black and white everything, with bright accents of vermilion red) to the spicy club music and even spicier food, everything about this place screams cool, lively and (I'll say it again) spicy.
Guests are invited to sink into the lounge area for cocktails, tapas or dessert (or all three), or make a more formal appearance in the dining room. The dozen tapas dishes fits well into Vermilion's come-and-join-the-party attitude, taking traditional Latin ingredients and shaking them up with Indian spices and techniques. The very Latin empanadas, for example, are given a new twist with the Indian spice fenugreek.
Entrees favorites include the tandoori skirt steak and the blackened tamarind ribs, but it's the Lobster Portuguese that made USA Today's list of America's top 20 dishes; the not-so-ordinary lobster is lightly skewered in coconut milk and curry leaf sauce with plenty of, what else, spice. All this fiery goodness is sure to make your mouth sizzle, so it's a good thing Vermilion serves tasty fire-stoppers like the tamarind margarita and ginger pomegranate martini. Good luck finding those at the $8.99 buffet.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Ashley Hamilton