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Chicken boti at Khan BBQ

When looking for serious ethnic spots, I find if you're the only white anglo dude in the joint, you're probably in the right place. Khan BBQ, on Chicago's Devon street—a strip of Pakistani, Indian and orthodox Jewish bakeries, restaurants, and clothing shops—is one of those places.

It shouldn't be, as I and a few others have written about the perfume of coriander from the tandoors, the puffy stacks of Naan bread, and the grilled succulent meat over the last couple of years. Yet, last week when I stopped by for a bite, the dining room was filled with the usual smattering of cabbies and Pakistani families.

I wonder what keeps the mainstream away? It's not like Khan is some dingy backwater filled with live animals and criminals on the lam. It's a peach colored palace sporting a grand chandelier outfitted with more bling than a Tiffany and Co.

It's not like food is unfamiliar either. There's no shortage of dal, naan, and paneer. The tandoori meats including crispy and succulent chicken boti featuring flakes of char and pale green streaks from crushed peppers, are the best around. The seekh kababs, skewered round cylinders of ground beef, onion and coriander, are crunchy outside and moist inside. Chappli kebabs glisten in rich ghee and sport a nose tickling waft of cumin. The fare is so good that it's amazing to think that owner Amjad Khan, an immigrant from Faisalabad, Pakistan's third largest city, got his culinary start in a sub shack near Chicago's defunct south side project, the Robert Taylor Homes.

Considering the evidence, there's no excuse not to stop in. I implore the huddled masses of my white anglo and non-Pakistani bretheren to check Khan out. If you choose to stay away, I guess that means these just more karai gosht for me.

About the author: Michael Nagrant writes for Serious Eats from Chicago, where he also publishes Hungry magazine. Michael never met an organ meat he didn't like. He hopes to meet many more.

Khan BBQ

Address: 2401 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60659 (map)
Phone: 773-274-8600

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