It's so good we went twice in two weeks.
Cumin just opened recently in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area of town. I'd suggest getting reservations if you try it on a Friday or Saturday since the restaurant seating is limited and starting to build a crowd following.
Our server during the first visit was a shy, demure Indian or Nepaliese gal with perfect skin and a smile ready for Ernie's corny jokes. She was super helpful with my gluten-intolerance by pointing out all of the things I could eat, including the lentil chips that are wheat-free. She also recommended delicious dishes including a goat appetizer and their recommended dumpling appetizer. When we ordered the dumplings, she even made it a point to bring out a separate starter for me that was gluten free! That made me feel really great that I wasn't excluded from the tasty dishes.
On the first visit with Kelly and Dan, every dish we ordered was based on our server's recommendations. It included a lamb, chicken and spinach dish. (pictured below) The mix of spices was so flavorful but not overwhelming. Each bite was a different aroma of delicious sensations. I was pleasantly surprised about the goat. I don't think I've ever had it before and I certainly wouldn't have ordered it on my own. But based on the recos of the staff, we tried it. The flavor is a little deeper/gamier than beef or pork but not tough like lamb can sometimes be.
Rice comes with the dishes, unlike at India House where you have to order rice separately. Who eats Indian Food without rice?! You can also see by the picture below that the serving dishes are very modern and don't look run down like at many other Indian food places. I don't know about you, but this gives me reassurance that the kitchens are clean!
On the second visit with Chris and Sindhu, we let Sindhu take the helm and order for the table. Again, we ordered the dumplings and this time tried the other goat appetizer. We also had the "bangin' bertha" (I'm pretty sure you don't spell it that way but they'll know what you mean) which was roasted eggplant. For our main dishes, there was fish masala (super spicy) for Sindhu the pescitarian and a chicken tikka masala for Chris, the fish avoider. Something for everyone at the table.
After trying 6 different main dishes and 4 different appetizers, I can't even decide which is my favorite. You can't go wrong with any dish at a place with this level of culinary excellence.
I would also highly recommend the Pinot Noir from Australia. I believe it's the second one down in the wine menu. Amazingly light, a bit fruity, not woody and complimented the flavors very well. It's not a wine for those who like woody-thick-curtain reds. When we ordered this wine, our white-oxford-shirt-wearing server said he remembered me and Ernie from our first visit. All of the servers were happy we selected this wine because it's their favorite.
You'll enjoy the modern decor with an infusion of Eastern influence from Nepal and India. The red walls and dim lighting with dark wood lacquer tables enhance the ambiance of the room. I was concentrating so much on the food that I honestly didn't pay attention to the details of decoration but I'm sure it's beautiful.
Well worth the visit to Cumin. They won't dissappoint.
1414 N Milwaukee Ave,
Chicago, IL 60622-9214
(Don't judge the food by their website. I'm sure they're working to improve it!)