Smile Politely

Find something new to love from Signature Grill

On a cold day, I suddenly felt a craving for a hot Indian lunch spread. So naturally, I headed over to Signature Grill on Green Street since they offer affordable meals with a large selection of options. For those who haven’t tried Signature Grill yet, the restaurant offers a mix of Indian, Mediterranean, and East Asian fusion food in a quick grab-and-go, no fuss establishment.

When I visited, the restaurant was mostly empty, and they had blocked off a corner of the restaurant due to COVID-19. As I headed over to the counter, I was greeted warmly and given ample amount of time to decide what I wanted from their wide variety of menu selections.

The interior of Campustown's Signature Grill in Champaign has a row of chairs keeping patrons distant from the ordering and cooking area. One man with dark hair and a white medical mask waits for his order. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Ultimately, I decided to order a curried chickpea bowl ($6.99) along with tikka chicken burrito ($7.99), 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 looked so tempting that I had to order it for myself. I had hoped to order one of their dosas or to get rasmalai for dessert, but unfortunately, I was not aware that the chef is unavailable from 2 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. However, I was told by the employee that their gulab jamun is made in-house by the chef and that they are as good as it gets. I paid for my meal and carried the food in my arms back to my apartment for an afternoon feast.

A close up of Signature Grill's curried chickepea bowl with ample red onions, cilantro, and shredded lettuce top a brownish-orange chickpea dish swimming in sauces. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I started my meal with the curried chickpea bowl as it is one of the most reliable meal choices from Signature Grill for me. As I opened the to-go box, a burst of colors and fragrances boosted my appetite, and I dived in with a spoon and mixed all the ingredients together. Signature Grill’s best attribute is that they have a wide arrange of options for toppings from grilled vegetables to tikka masala sauce. As for myself, I opted for cilantro, red onions, grilled vegetables, lettuce, and both tikka masala and korma sauce. The creaminess and brightness of tikka masala and the nuttiness of the korma sauce elevates the flavor of chickpeas to a whole new level, and the sharpness of red onions helps cut the richness of the cream that is the base of the two sauces. Combined with a bed of fluffy basmati rice, the curried chickpea bowl is a hearty meal that you can’t go wrong with.

An overhead shot of all the items the author ordered from Signature Grill. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Next, I moved on to the tikka chicken burrito and the spicy chicken wrap.

A close up shot of the spicy chicken burrito from Signature Grill in Champaign. The burrito has a bite taken out of it revealing the yellow rice inside and chicken pieces. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

The tikka chicken burrito was massive with all the same fillings inside as the curried chickpea bowl. As I peeled open the foil wrap and took a giant bite, the juice from the chicken started dripping down on my hands. With all the delicious ingredients covered in a soft burrito, the ensemble made for a satisfying yet messy bite. I enjoyed munching down the tikka chicken burrito.

The spicy chicken wrap from Signature Grill lays uneaten on a piece of tin foil. The dish holds lettuce, chicken, and a yellow-orange sauce. Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

Photo by Da Yeon Eom.

I moved on to the spicy chicken wrap. I had no idea what to expect. When I opened the foil, I saw a disarray of ingredients splashed on a paratha. After gathering all the fillings inside and making sure that I can taste everything in one bite, I went for it. I could immediately taste the spicy chicken by identifying its slight bit of heat and acidity from the sauce that the meat was cooked in. Then, the cool mayonnaise and lettuce soothed my tongue immediately. I had expected a little bit more spiciness from an item called spicy chicken wrap, but nonetheless, it was a delicious option for lunch. I would even recommend it to those who don’t normally try spicy items at restaurants but want just enough warming sensation to experiment with their palates.

Three balls of gulab jamun sit in a beautiful white and blue floral plate in a pool 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 up the three balls of dough with its 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 beads of syrup oozing out of the porous surface of the dough, and it looked so scrumptious. Taking a small bite, I savored the softness of the dough with its sweet, fragrant cardamom syrup warming up my mouth. It wasn’t too sweet, and the portion seemed perfect for a meal. For $2.99, I would definitely return for more in the future.

I am very glad to have an accessible restaurant like Signature Grill nearby for a quick Indian meal without having to pay over $30 per visit. Also, they continue to innovate new menu items for people to try and to expand their knowledge of cuisines. Next time, I plan on trying their Singaporean vegetable fried rice and dahi puri. I know that whenever I visit, I will be able to get reliable quality food with quick service that satisfies my cravings. I would recommend others to try Signature Grill if they have not tried it before or haven’t returned in a while. Chances of disappointment are slim, and if anything, they might be able to find their new favorite food in Campustown.

Signature Grill
505 E Green St
M-Th 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sa+Su 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Top image by Da Yeon Eom.

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