Wednesday, March 5

Total Naansense

Your next favorite lunch spot has just hit the Loop. Naansense is a fast casual Indian restaurant located on Wells St., between Lake and Randolph. The restaurant was started by a group of Chicago chefs who drew on their experiences in London, Mumbai, and Mexico City, all in an effort to bring fresh, customized Indian food to Chicagoans, with a modern twist.


The setup at Naansense allows you to move through a line in a Chipotle-like fashion. You have your choice of naanwiches, roti rolls, bowls, or salads, all with a choice of protein, toppings, and sauces. I stopped by with my co-worker Kirk during a busy lunch rush to taste test a sampling of Naansense's menu.


We chatted with Chef Hiran Patel who told us about the concept for the restaurant and brought out heaping portions of their delicious Indian cuisine. All of the sauces are made in house, including chutneys, salad dressings, and traditional Indian favorites. It's unbelievable how they create so much food from scratch, considering just how small their kitchen is!

We tried two bowls, the first of which included pork topped with korma sauce, pickled onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and yogurt sauce. This was my favorite because it had a nice kick to it and the pork was super tender.

Pork Korma Bowl
The second bowl Kirk and I tried was the lamb vindaloo bowl with housemade farmer's cheese, pickled onions, and chickpea noodles. The sauce was super flavorful and spicy but I was definitely partial to the korma bowl.

Lamb Vindaloo Bowl
The sides available at Naansense include the most delicious fries you'll ever try. The masala fries are perfectly crispy, not too greasy, and coated in a blend of spices. You can even dip the fries in a mustard-y curry aioli.

Masala Fries
As another side, we also tried two varieties of samosas including turkey and vegetable. We both enjoyed the turkey samosas a little more because they packed more flavor.

Samosa
Vegetable Samosa
We dipped our samosas in a variety of homemade sauces including mint cilantro and apple tamarind varieties. Everything we tried was bursting with color and flavor!


Naansense also makes its own naan bread in a traditional tandoor clay oven. This special oven maintains temperatures up to 900F and allows bread to be cooked quickly and deliciously. We had a chance to step into the kitchen and watch these pillowy breads made first hand. 

Naan Dough & Tandoor Oven
Tandoor Oven
The Finished Product Fresh Out of the Oven
Naansense is a great option for a Loop lunch with coworkers, especially if you're looking to get out of your weekly sub sandwich or Chipotle grind. The quality of food is fantastic, as are the very reasonable prices, and the flavor and freshness of ingredients is superb. Don't forget to try the naan!

Note: My meal at Naansense was complimentary, however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Naansense
171 N. Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60606
312.578.8825
Naansense on Urbanspoon

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