Dining Out: Karma

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We all have our favorite dining spots, but I’m always open to trying something new. In fact, I’ve really been making an effort to go to restaurants that I’ve never been to before. There are so many food establishments out there, especially in and around Chicago. Of course, dining out can be difficult when you’re vegan. It can be difficult when you’re vegetarian! I still see menus that have zero vegetarian options.

This was not the case at Karma, a Pan Asian restaurant located in Mundelein, which is about 35 miles northwest from Chicago.

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This was my first time at Karma. Karma has a really great vibe. It’s located within a suburban hotel. The restaurant itself is very contemporary without being pretentious. There’s a great fountain running along the middle of the restaurant. I dined with my sister, but all the other diners were clearly on dates, and there was one lone hotel guest having dinner by himself.

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Upon sitting down, we were given a plate of fried wontons (pictured above) that were coated in a sauce with some sort of chili powder. These were really tasty and had a nice kick. I was thrilled to see that they had a delicious-sounding vegetarian entree (and it sounds perfectly vegan-friendly). More on that later.

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We decided to order an appetizer. There were other vegetarian options, but I definitely wanted to try the shiitake pot stickers. The mushrooms were blended with ginger, garlic, scallions, and sesame oil and came with a soy dipping sauce and some other mystery sauce. These were so freaking delicious! Not only was the mushroom filling super tasty, they were stuffed really well and had a great texture. I could have easily eaten 4 plates of this.

(Side note: our server informed us that the shiitake pot stickers were recently added back to the menu after being replaced by pork pot stickers for a few years. I’m so glad they brought back the shiitake pot stickers. If anyone from Karma is reading this, keep these on the menu!)

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I decided to go with the Udon Winter Stew for my entree. The dish was made up of Kabocha squash, Shiitake mushrooms, ginger, mirin, leeks, carrots, tofu, kombu, and rice. The veggies were fresh and I was especially in love with the squash. I won’t say I was disappointed, but I had to ask for soy sauce to add some flavor. It was a good dish, but a tiny bit of a let down after eating the flavorful pot stickers.

I definitely plan to dine at Karma again. I want to try their salad and eat more of those pot stickers! I liked the atmosphere and the service was great. One more thing: the coffee that they serve at Karma deserves an honorable mention. I don’t know what it was, but it was damn good coffee! Yum! –Melissa

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