Cumin – Wicker Park, Chicago

I have been craving Indian food for several weeks now so much so that there have been visions of Bollywood dancing through my head!  Since I have no plans to visit India anytime soon and with Chicago temps plummeting to the low 20s today (YIKES!), I needed to turn up the heat in more ways than one.  So, I threw on my down coat and I hopped the CTA Blue Line to Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood to have a hot and spicy lunch at Cumin.

 

Cumin in Wicker Park

 

Cumin is a modern Indian and Nepalese restaurant which is located at 1414 N. Milwaukee Avenue, just 5 blocks from the Division ‘L” stop (You can also exit at the Damen ‘L’ stop, once maintenance concludes there in a couple of months).  

 

Division 'L' stop near Cumin restaurant

 

CTA Blue Line near Cumin in Wicker Park

 

Cumin has been in business since 2010.  It has been enjoying steady success and accolades, including a spot on the Michelin Bib Gourmand winner list.  The space is comfortable, bright and clean with a color palate of red, black and white (my favorite combo!).  The staff is very friendly.

Cumin Nepalese and Indian restaurant

 

Cumin's lunch buffet

Cumin’s lunch buffet

 

Many Indian restaurants offer “all-you-can-eat” lunch buffets and Cumin is no exception.  Typically, I am not a fan of buffets for a variety of reasons (cold and stale, etc).  However, I have eaten delicious dinners at Cumin in the past, so I figured I would give their lunch buffet ($13) a try.  I was not disappointed.  Here is how my lunch went down:  

I started off with a couple of vegan/vegetarian options including the aalu baingan which is a mix of potatoes, eggplant, chilis and other spices.  This was a medium spicy dish and my absolute favorite on the buffet.  I also really enjoyed the chana masala which is a bright, spicy chick pea dish with very fresh herbs.  The flavors here were amazing and very easy to pick out.  

 

Cumin's Indian food

aalu baingan, basmati rice, chana masala

 

Cumin's chaat samosas

Cumin’s chaat samosa

 

Cumin restaurant in Chicago

digging inside the chaat samosa–sooo flavorful!

 

Before I returned to the buffet, I broke down and ordered another favorite Indian dish of mine off of Cumin’s regular menu, the chaat samosa.  Cumin’s take on this dish is so good, I destroyed it in minutes.  It’s not like I needed to store up for another “Snowmageddon” but I was dreaming of this chaat samosa since the summer, so I decided to treat myself 🙂  So glad I did!

 

I finished off my lunch with some small tastes of Cumin’s chicken tikka masala, chicken tandoori and palak paneer (so creamy and delicious).

 

Cumin's t[kka masala in Wicker Park

chicken tikka masala, chicken tandoori, palak paneer

Unlike many Indian/Nepalese restaurants, Cumin has a full bar which includes some interesting craft cocktails and a selection of imported and Indian beers.  I did not imbibe during today’s lunch but I can attest that their cocktails pack a nice punch 🙂

 

Cumin's bar in Wicker Park

 

 

I am so glad I decided to turn up the heat in my otherwise arctic day by visiting Cumin for a lovely solo lunch.  I highly recommend you check them out the next time you are craving some fine Indian/Nepalese food.

Cumin is located at 1414 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Looking for other good Indian restaurants in Chicago?  Check out my blog posts about India House and Pub Royale.

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA Blue line to Cumin in Wicker Park.   Save gas money.  Avoid traffic and parking. Reduce pollution.  Don’t drink and drive!