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Find Something New to Love from Signature Grill: Food & Drink: Smile Politely

On a cold day, I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge for a hot Indian lunch. So naturally, I headed over to Signature Grill on Green Street, as they offer affordable dining with a variety of options. For those who haven’t tried Signature Grill yet, the restaurant offers a mix of Indian, Mediterranean, and East Asian fusion fare in a quick-to-go, no-frills establishment.

When I visited, the restaurant was almost empty and they had blocked off a corner of the restaurant due to COVID-19. As I walked over to the counter, I was warmly greeted and had plenty of time to decide what I wanted from their wide variety of menu choices.





The interior of the Campustown Signature Grill in Champaign has a row of chairs keeping patrons away from the ordering and cooking area.  A man with dark hair and a white medical mask awaits his order.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

In the end, I decided to order a bowl of curried chickpeas ($ 6.99) with a chicken tikka burrito ($ 7.99), a spicy chicken wrap ($ 6.99) and a three-piece gulab jamun ($ 2.99).

The spicy chicken wrap was new to the menu so I was excited to try it for the first time. Another customer before me had ordered it, and it seemed so tempting that I had to order it for myself. I had hoped to order one of their dosas or have rasmalai for dessert, but unfortunately I was not aware that the chef is unavailable from 2pm to 5.45pm. However, the clerk told me their gulab jamun is home made by the chef and is as good as it gets. I paid for my meal and hugged the food back to my apartment for an afternoon feast.

A close-up of Signature Grill's Bowl of Curried Chickpeas with lots of red onions, cilantro and shredded lettuce on a platter of orange-brown chickpeas swimming in sauces.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I started my meal with the Bowl of Chickpea Curry as it is one of Signature Grill’s most trusted meal choices for me. As I opened the take-out box, an explosion of color and scent stimulated my appetite, and I dived in with a spoon and mixed all the ingredients together. The best attribute of Signature Grill is that they have a wide array of options for toppings, from grilled vegetables to tikka masala sauce. As for me, I opted for cilantro, red onions, grilled vegetables, lettuce, and both tikka masala and korma sauce. The smoothness and shine of the tikka masala and the nutty of the korma sauce take the flavor of the chickpeas to a whole new level, and the crispness of the red onions helps reduce the richness of the cream that is the basis of both sauces. Combined with a bed of chewy basmati rice, the Bowl of Curried Chickpeas is a hearty meal you can’t go wrong with.

An aerial view of all the items the author has ordered from Signature Grill.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Then I moved on to the Chicken Tikka Burrito and Spicy Chicken Wrap.

A close-up of Signature Grill's spicy chicken burrito in Champaign.  The burrito has a bite that reveals the yellow rice inside and the chicken pieces.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

The chicken tikka burrito was huge with the same toppings inside as the bowl of chickpea curry. As I opened the foil and took a giant bite, the juice from the chicken began to trickle over my hands. With all the delicious ingredients topped with a sweet burrito, the set is made for a satisfying yet messy bite. I enjoyed snacking on the chicken tikka burrito.

Signature Grill Spicy Chicken Wrap lies uneaten on a piece of foil.  The dish contains lettuce, chicken and a yellow-orange sauce.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I switched to the spicy chicken wrap. I didn’t know what to expect. When I opened the foil I saw a mess of ingredients splashed onto a paratha. After gathering all the toppings inside and making sure I could taste it all in one bite, I went for it. I was able to immediately taste the spicy chicken identifying its slight heat and acidity in the sauce the meat was cooked in. Then the fresh mayonnaise and lettuce immediately soothed my tongue. I expected a bit more spice from an item called Spicy Chicken Wrap, but nonetheless, it was a delicious option for lunch. I would recommend it even to those who don’t normally try spicy food in restaurants but just want enough warm feeling to experiment with their palate.

Three scoops of gulab jamun lie in a beautiful white and blue floral plate in a basin of syrup.  Photo by Da Yeon Eom.Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I microwaved the three pieces of gulab jamun that I had ordered for dessert. The employee recommended heating the three balls of dough with his syrup for up to 30 seconds. Fresh out of the microwave, the gulab jamun sat decadently in its syrup, looking plump after soaking in all the sweetness. As I pressed down on one of them with my fork, I could see pearls of syrup oozing from the porous surface of the dough, and it looked so delicious. Taking a small bite, I savored the sweetness of the dough with its sweet and fragrant cardamom syrup that warmed my mouth. It wasn’t too sweet and the portion seemed perfect for a meal. For $ 2.99 I would definitely come back for more in the future.

I am very happy to have an accessible restaurant like Signature Grill nearby for a quick Indian meal without having to pay over $ 30 per visit. In addition, they keep innovating new menu items that people can try and expand their knowledge of cuisines. Next time I plan to try their Singaporean vegetable fried rice and their dahi puri. I know that every time I visit I will be able to get reliable quality food with prompt service that will satisfy my cravings. I would recommend others to try Signature Grill if they haven’t tried it before or been back in a while. The chances of disappointment are slim, and if anything, they might just be able to find their new favorite dish in Campustown.

Signature Grill
505 Green Street East
Champagne
M-Th 11 am to 10 pm
F 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sat + Su 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Da Yeon Eom.


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