Rohini Dey's story as a former McKinsey and World Bank executive-turned-restaurateur of Vermilion in Chicago and New York showcases how a female entrepreneur can realize her big vision with both smarts and verve. Vermilion melds Indian and Latin culinary worlds - which though worlds apart makes a lot of sense, not only in concept but in experience. The concept is logical - common ingredients across tropical zones, warm and convivial dining cultures and historical cross-influences as the result of migratory flows around the globe. Dey's well-positioned as a trustee of the James Beard Foundation and a winner of impressive accolades, but all that is vapor if the food doesn't stand up. Happily, it did.
In town for a conference, we heard about Chicago's Vermilion at 10 W. Hubbard in the River North/Gallery District from the concierge at our hotel not far off the Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile. We selected several tapas-style appetizers and shared an entre plate - a wonderful sampling, consisting of such beautifully presented dishes as cilantro mint seasoned whitefish, venezuelan duck vindaloo arepas brushed with pomegranate molasses and curry leaf mango, multi-citrus fennel salad with kalamata olive and peruvian blue corn crusted scallops with clabasa squash, chipotle sauce and goat cheese.
Note how the after-dinner candies arrived in a cute little bicycle. Our server gently guided us through some options, including the right wine to match, and was warm and attentive. It was early, so it likely is pretty loud later on but tables are situated far apart and semi-circle booths along the back encourage convivial exchanges too.