I'd had a long day calling on accounts in Chicago recently and got back to the hotel around 7:30. I was sort of hungry, but didn't really know what I wanted. I decided to check Urbanspoon to see what was in the area and I came across an Indian restaurant in Lombard by the name of Viceroy of India. I hadn't had Indian food for awhile and the reviews of Viceroy seemed to be positive, so I ventured over to the restaurant on a cool, blustery evening.
The Viceroy of India in Lombard is the second of two locations for owner Surinder Kumar Jain. The primary location is in Chicago on W. Devon Ave. in an area some of the locals refer to as "Little India" because of the number of Indian restaurants and stores in the immediate area. Jain opened the original Viceroy of India in 1986 and also has interest in an Indian restaurant by the name of Shakira in Downers Grove.
It turns out that I had been past the Viceroy of India location in Lombard many times as it's just down Roosevelt Ave. from one of my favorite beer and liquor stores in the area, Famous Liquors. I pulled into the restaurant with the neon band around the top of the building about two blocks east of Famous Liquors right around 7:30 (see map).
As I pulled in, I noticed there were an abundant number of cars in the parking lot and I wondered if the place was packed. I happened to look into a window on the west side of the building and saw a large room packed with people listening to a speaker. I momentarily thought about going somewhere else, but then turned back toward the door when I smelled the Indian spices emanating from the building. I had to go in to get some Indian food.
It turns out the large room with all the people was the banquet facility for Viceroy of India. I understand a number of groups use the room for meetings and presentations on a regular basis. The well-lit and comfortable dining room was about 1/3 full of guests when I was seated in a booth along the wall. The host gave me a menu and I started to figure out what I wanted.
As I was looking over the menu, another waiter brought this basket (above right) of very thin, tortilla-like bread with two sauces - one a green sauce that had some unbelievable and indescribable Indian herbs in it, and a brown sauce that was sort of sweet and sour. I'm still not much of an expert on Indian food so I can't tell you what this is, but I loved it. It's akin to getting chips and salsa in a Mexican restaurant as the large, folded very thin bread (probably deep fried) broke off into chip size bites. The green sauce was absolutely fabulous.
Looking through the menu at Viceroy of India, I thought about broadening my horizons once again. I thought about getting the Rogan Josh, small cubes of lamb meat cooked in an onion and tomato sauce. I thought about the Keema Curry - lamb in a similar sauce as the Rogan Josh, but enhanced with garlic. But I'm just not that big on lamb. I thought about getting the Viceroy Special Biryani - basmati rice with large chunks of chicken, lamb and shrimp cooked with herbs and spices with bell peppers and tomatoes. I wasn't overly sold on the bell peppers and tomatoes, however.
I wimped out and went back to the chicken dishes on the menu and the butter chicken caught my eye - tandoori baked chicken chunks cooked with an onion and tomato cream sauce infused with special imported herbs and mild spices. That really sounded good and I was going to order it until I decided at the last moment to go with the chicken curry. I also got some garlic naan to go along with it.
I had just finished my first Kingfisher beer when the food showed up at the table. The waiter dropped off the chicken curry and the garlic naan and I noticed that he didn't bring any rice. I found out later on that rice was considered an extra at Viceroy of India - three bucks for a bowl of rice if you wanted it. I thought that to be very strange for an Indian restaurant considering rice is so cheap. The chicken curry on its own was $12.95, so I figured rice woud come with it.
I ended up putting some of the chicken curry on some of the garlic naan and ate it that way. The chicken was a little tough and overcooked. The curry sauce was fine enough, but not overly flavorful like I've had with other curry sauces in the past. Actually, it was pretty bland compared to other curry sauces I've had.
The garlic naan was exceptional, however. It was very pungent and flavorful with a lot of garlic laced throughout the leavened bread, so much so that Cindy swore to God that she smelled garlic on me when I got home the next day. Dipping the garlic naan in the curry sauce was the highlight of the meal.
I don't know if Viceroy of India was all that good of a value. And based upon my limited knowledge and background of Indian food, I would call their food average, at best. I wasn't all that enamored with my chicken curry, but the garlic naan was exceptional. The service was very good - a plus considering a handful of Indian restaurants I've gone to in the past have horrible service - and the dining room was rather comfortable. But I think I'm going to try other Indian restaurants in the area before I head back to Viceroy of India.