Lilac Tiger - Chicago
Lilac Tiger in Wicker Park looks like a dive bar, but it's actually a cool new South Asian restaurant. This is a very casual place, but the food reflects a lot of thought, care and understanding of the cuisines of Asia's southern countries.
Lilac Tiger brings together major players in Chicago's culinary scene: Zubair Mohajir (Wazwan, Coach House), Ty Fujimura (Arami, Small Bar, Entente), and Won Kim (Kimski), who have joined with Beverage Director David Mor (TRUCE, Cindy's, Robert et Fils) to create a place you're going to remember -- and talk about -- long after you leave.
The mood is laid-back, so laid-back, in fact, that every now and again you'll see people walking through to get to The Coach House, a restaurant in the courtyard behind Lilac Tiger that features a tasting menu from the Lilac Tiger team.
The food is getting a lot of attention. "Their burger with mint chutney and the sweet and spicy THC (Tandoori hot chicken) sandwich make other handhelds question what they’re doing with their lives," says The Infatuation, adding, "While the poutine might not get Canada’s stamp of approval, we don’t care—a french fry doesn’t know greatness until it’s been showered in rich Korean curry sauce and crumbly paneer. And thanks to a well-curated list of beer, sake, and cocktails (like an ube colada with a tinge of malört because, well, Chicago) you’ll be convinced to keep your barstool warm just a little bit longer."
Cocktails are an excellent reason to drop by Lilac Tiger. Many of the cocktails pick up tropical notes that pair just perfectly with South Asian cuisine, with a fruit-based sweetness that balances the creative spicing that can be found in many of the dishes. The drinks incorporate spirits from India, Korea and Japan, and there's a tightly curated sake program and a selection of Indian and Thai beers that, of course, complement the food.