Paprika is a hole-in-the-wall Indian spot tucked inside a small strip mall along Lawrence Avenue. Among its charms are free parking, no corkage fee BYOB and cheap food spiced to your preference. The dining room is an inviting turmeric color and sitar music pipes through a small stereo next to the counter. It’s very cozy.
The evening we were there, Sha Kabir, the owner, was busy passing free vegetable somosas to tables in the small dining room. It was a graceful touch that put patrons in a good mood. It certainly made it easier to ignore the loud delivery staff that tromped through the space and complained of late orders and the owner’s guests that reeked of cologne strong enough to cut through the scents of curry. Maybe ordering out is the best option here.
Still, between the somosas, pappadam and naan with chutney, we were virtually stuffed before entrees arrived. A huge bowl of spicy, Basmati rice accompanied our orders of Palak Ghoast (seasoned lamb with spinach) and Shag Alu Pannir (spinach with potatos and chunks of cheese). Everything was tasty and filling.
We spent less than $20 apiece and had enough leftovers to last a week. I think next time I’ll order less bread to make room for kheer — home made rice pudding with raisin and almonds.
2547A W. Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, IL 60625