by Mike Sula
Four years ago, back when Chowhound was still a relevant place to chat and learn about food, a local group organized an event with Malabar Catering, an Albany Park storefront operation specializing in the cuisine of Kerala. Everyone who bought in picked up a bag of highly spiced South Indian goodies including avial, a coconut-based vegetable dish, thoran, (chopped long beans, chiles, and grated coconut), and a dry fried beef curry not unlike a Malaysian rendang. For someone as new to South Indian cooking as I was, it was an eye-opening meal, but somehow I managed to forget all about Malabar--even though it's three blocks away from me.
Now I'm kicking myself. Strolling by the other afternoon I noticed a large FOR RENT sign in the window. I popped in and found owner William George presiding over a table laden with takeout orders of the aformentioned dishes. George a native of Kottayam, Kerala, says after five years in the space he lost his lease when the landlord decided to go condo (note to developers: we don't need any more in Albany Park). He'll reopen in two weeks at 911 Greenwood Rd. in Glenview. Bad for the city, good for him--more of his regulars are out that way.
You can get your last (or first) taste at 3519 W. Montrose this Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Drop in after 3 PM and see what he's cooked up. Or call 773-842-5179.