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Jan 27, 2002 09:46 AM

Austin Hounds - try Bismillah

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I'm a Houston Hound who recently had one of the best Indo-Pak meals I've ever had in Texas, at Bismillah, 1519 W. Anderson Lane at Burell St.

It seems to be a converted pharmacy with all the charm of a school lunchroom. The food however, is fantastic. Chicken bidyani heaped so high it was falling off the plate and good naan. Dirt cheap prices and friendly service. A good change from all the North Indian places in Houston.

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  1. OK, I must assume that you are kidding. I do not know if you prefer one of the Indo-Pakistani types of cuisine over the others (Pakistani, Moghlai and Punjabi cuisines are fairly similar northern styles and Gujarati, from the west coast of India, north of Bombay, is heavily Persian influenced), but with approximately 50,000 Pakistanis in Houston and about 5 times that number of Indians (of which a good portion MUST be from the northern regions of India), surely you can find much better Indo-Pakistani restaurants in Houston no matter what your requirements in such restaurants may be.

    Have you tried any of the Pakistani restaurants in Houston’s Little Islamabad (on Bissonnet west of Highway 59)? There is a very high concentration of Pakistani businesses here with at least a dozen Pakistani or Indo-Pakistani restaurants (as well as several food kiosks) where the food is strictly authentic and cheap. You can pick up a quick boti tikah with nan to go, get pann for an after-dinner treat, or sit down to nahari (e.g., Shahenshah with a good lunch buffet; Sheikh Chilli’s has good nahari, and, in fact, serves hallal meats, which are prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary laws; Ali Baba’s that has a great selection of flavored seeds and pann fillings).

    In addition, the assortment of Middle Eastern, Indian and Pakistani restaurants in the Hillcroft neighborhood are amazing in their sheer numbers alone. In most cases, this has kept the quality high and the prices low. There are a few pricier places (e.g., Ashoka, a good Punjabi-style restaurant) but there are also plenty of others that turn out excellent food in various degrees of surroundings at prices that rival fast food franchises (several very good counter service places).

    Scattered about town are other (but perhaps more expensive) restaurants serving various renditions of cuisine one may find in northern India. There is the Khyber North Indian Grill on Richmond which some find to be more Americanized (I think it is more Europeanized) and definitely more expensive, but the gracious, witty, and affable owner, Mickey Kapoor, more than compensates, in my opinion. Anyway, the food is good. Also, there are the Bombay Palace on Westheimer and the Bombay Brasserie on Richmond, a couple of popular restaurants in the Punjabi-style. Personally, those last two are not among my favorites, but some of my Indian friends like them. Also, worth mentioning for Gujarati-style cuisine is Thali on the Southwest Freeway and, perhaps, its neighbor, Anand Bhavan, which is just not as good as Thali, in my opinion.

    My point is: for the best, most varied, and most authentic Indo-Pakistani cuisine in Texas (or, for that matter, ethnic cuisine in general), Houston cannot be touched.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ravi

      Well...I've eaten at the places you mentioned, most of them more than once, and a few - like Khyber - several dozen times. Been to the various small locations along Hilcroft and Bissonnet - Shiekh Chili's, the old Kohinoor - many times. I'm not saying these restaurants in Houston are bad, I'm saying Bismillah is that good.

      I'll go try Ashoka. The owner of that restaurant owns the liquor store I go to in Bellaire. Nice guy; keeps telling me to try his restaurant.