Rajun Cajun boasts a rather odd pairing of cuisines. It is, not surprisingly, Hyde Park's only Indian, soul food fusion restaurant. Though unexpected, the deep flavors of Indian spices mix well with the fattiness of Southern soul. So while I never would have thought of it myself, mac and cheese with a side of a samosa and butter chicken topped with a biscuit come off as natural combinations.
That said, the Chicken Tandoori Sandwich ($4.50) does not capitalize on this interplay as much as other menu items. Take away the bun, and it's just Indian food with normal sandwich toppings. I also made the mistake of taking my food to go, so by the time I made it home the juices of tomato and chicken, normally what I would have savored and praised, made the sandwich soggy, causing it to fall apart. Onion and tomato spilled out as I ate the dismantled sandwich chunk by chunk.
But despite its lack of structural integrity, the sandwich proved itself. Moist chicken, bright red with spice, played well with tangy raw onion and juicy tomatoes. Though soggy, the bread had managed to absorb the flavors of the chicken. It didn't have the crunch I love in a sandwich, but it was full of flavor.
Though not the most portable meal, the tandoori chicken was definitely easier to eat on the go than mac and cheese would have been, and it was just as tasty. It's worth exploring this Hyde Park restaurant if only to to experience an unlikely duo of cuisine that works so well.
1459 East 53rd Street, Chicago IL 60615 (map)