If you're looking to eat brain, you won't find a better version in Chicago than the sauteed creamy masala, studded with fragrant ginger, pungent garlic, and spicy chilis, served at Sabri Nehari. If you're not adventurous, or you're taking a break from a recent appearance on Fear Factor, tamer fare like the creamy chicken makhani
(butter chicken), infused with the perfume of toasted whole spices like garam masala, will still have your taste buds tingling. The house special, Sabri Nehari, is like the ultimate Pakistani pot roast—a fork tender beef braised in a succulent, fennel-infused sauce studded with fragrant ginger and spicy shaved jalapenos. Whole roasted chicken charga bathed in tandoori spice, or dal laden in thick gee (brown butter) are also satisfying options.
While the original Sabri Nehari (which burned down across the street in an electrical fire in December 2006) recalled an elegant mosque in Karachi, the current incarnation resembles Louis the Fourteenth's Hall of Mirrors, with a 30-foot wall lined with reflective glass. Simple white tablecloths cover the tables, and the dining room chairs feature red silk backs with an embroidered crest pattern.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Michael Nagrant