What are the best Indian restaurants in the Houston area, both north and south, upscale and hole-in-the-wall? As a new resident of Houston and a lover of Indian food, I'd like any suggestions. Of the places I've tried:
Indika--amazing Indian cuisine with Texas influences---truly innovative and some of the best upscale Indian I've had (equal to Devi in NYC, better than Tamarind in NYC). Even the nan has grown on me. Also, with free nana, raita, and dal, a very nice surprise!
Udipi Cafe: very good chat house, great flavors, super dosa.
I know about Himalaya, and it's next on my list (if it wasn't closed on Mondays, I would already have tried it!)
There was a recent thread about indian restaurants the week I moved here, but it was incredibly disappointing. (Older threads are similarly disappointing). First, this recent thread degenerated quickly into a conversation about Thai restaurants. Second, so many people commented with statements like: "I don't really like Indian food, but...." or "There are so many good options in Hillcroft. Try any of them." This is going to sound very testy and/or incredibly snobby (because I am about this sort of thing), but Indian chefs, like in all other cuisines, have varying degrees of skill. I'm looking for the best from knowledgeable Indian foodies only. Additionally, while buffets are okay, I'd prefer places with great a la carte menus (due to the fact that my wife is an Indian vegetarian and thus with limited options on buffets and also because the mark of a great chef is the menu preparations).
Again, I apologize for the snootiness and the semi-rant, but I get a little offended by comments (and there were many of them in the past Indian food threads) that don't recognize the same complexity in Indian cuisine that exists in Italian, French, New American, BBQ, and other cuisines.
sethnavajo, thanks for asking your question and providing us with what you already know. it shows you did your research and you've done a good job getting around for only moving to houston a couple months ago! it makes me want to be extra helpful when i can see you have already put in the effort.
misha of tasty-bits.com is a big fan of kiran too for high end indian. we actually had quite a debate over kiran vs. himalaya on the houston chowhound yahoo group recently when we were discussing doing an indian food smackdown. i wouldn't be surprised if he's reviewed kiran on his blog.
kiran was opened by a lady who used to own ashiana out on the west side. ashiana is still there i believe with different owners now. it was amazing stuff when she was there, so i know kiran must be good. i love himalaya so much that i'm not willing to pony up the extra money to eat at kiran yet.
do you have recs on what to get at himalaya? the grilled fish w/ naan, chicken tikka masala, lamb shank in curry sauce, and goat biryani are all superb. btw, the houston chowhounds are trying to arrange a tasting dinner at himalaya in sept. i need you to send me back the 4 question survey so i can approve your membership. i'll resend it in case it got lost.