These are no average realtor restaurant recommendations. Don’t forget that Jessie moved to India when she was eight years old and has an Indian mother who cooks prolifically and with great gusto. Who else would you trust to steer you toward some of the best and most interesting Indian restaurants in Houston?
Jessie doesn’t eat much meat, but she makes an exception for the meltingly tender tandoori rack of lamb at Sheel Joshi’s contemporary Washington Heights restaurant. Other specialties include flaky Chilean sea bass rubbed with spices and Joshi’s award-winning Chicken Mangalorean, a coconut curry dotted with mustard seeds and chiles.
Vegetarian: Maharaja Bhog, 8338 Southwest Freeway, 713-771-2464
This Gujarati-Rajasthani-style thali specialist has four locations in Mumbai alone, but only one in the United States. Lucky Houstonians of every dietary stripe, whether gluten-free, vegan or merely vegetarian, get dishes delivered straight to their plates in seasonal bounty. For $18, the all-you-can-eat dinner is an orgy of breads, curries and crispy samosas.
Buffet: Mayuri, 5857 Westheimer Road, 713-975-6565
Buffets are about trying as vast a variety of dishes as possible. With that stated goal, you can’t do better than this Galleria-area standard, which offers Northern, Southern and Indo-Chinese specialties. The glory is in mixing regions with idlis dipped in butter chicken to bits of dosa wrapped around gobi Manchurian.
South Indian: Hyderabad House, 6439 Westheimer Road, 713-714-8197
Anytime is a great time to visit one of the three Houston-area links in this chain, but the best of all is Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. when the casual storefront serves up a banana leaf brunch. There are both vegetarian and non-veg options for the spicy feast, full of carbs meant for dipping in piquant sauces.
Dessert: Kwality Ice Cream, 5636 Hillcroft Street, 832-777-7995
Food scientist Dr. Kanti Parekh created this ultra-creamy ice cream brand in New Jersey, but there are two locations in greater Houston. The 34 flavors are mostly Indian, including the light-pink, highly aromatic rose. Get it in a cone, cup, in a shake with rice noodles or even as a brownie sundae.