by Aditi Mehta – BG Director
I should put a disclaimer on this review. Many of our readers may not have hit the 21 marker, but even if you have not the Pani Puri Margarita is something you can look forward to trying after you turn 21.
The Pani Puri Margarita. Yes, it’s exactly what you’re imagining. It is pani poured into a margarita concoction, topped with a fried puri. If you are like my friends, we were all intrigued by this concept. I mean why not combine my favorite drink with one of my favorite Indian dishes? On the other hand, the whole thing just could end up bizarrely gross.
One of the “hip” things to hit the Indian food scene in the US is the Pani Puri Margarita; now served in top Indian restaurants in New York and Chicago. My friends and I took a pit stop at Vermillion in Chicago, a hotspot self-described as Indian-Latin fusion. My budget won’t allow me to try the food quite yet, but we ordered a round of the margaritas to divulge into the unknown.
Like my confusion in figuring out what the drink would be like, same was my confusion in actually trying the drink. First, we ordered a batch of four drinks and each drink tasted different. The bartender definitely was not consistent with the ratio of pani and margarita. My drink only tasted like a margarita – nothing special. However, I did get to try a friends’ drink which was heavy on the pani. And to my surprise – I sort of liked it. It was slightly spicy and had the familiarity of my mom’s famous pani. To top off the drink there lay a delectable puri. (I don’t recommend pouring the drink into the puri and taking a bite unless you are willing to handle the rush of tequila into your mouth. It totally ruined the puri.)
All in all, it was a good first-time experience with something unknown and unusual. Would I order it again? Probably not. When it comes to spicy cocktails, there are a ton of other fusion drinks I’d prefer over this one. I rather leave the pani puri to my mom. But if a friend were to visit me in Chicago, I wouldn’t mind taking her here!
***/***** (3 out of 5 stars mainly for the inconsistency in the drinks)