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BEST Indian Food [Dallas]

t
TheSingleGourmet May 7, 2005 09:40 AM

I'm gonna go out on a limb her and say that the best Indian regular (i.e., not catered) restaurant food in the DFW area that I have had so far, is at Chetinaad in Plano. Or at least they have the best lamb curry made with REAL lamb and potatoes and spiced just the way it should be! And they even got the masala dahl right (although it's called a lentil "soup" but it's really something you pour over rice). It's like Indian people made it.

Dicsuss.

TSG.

  1. k
    Kirk May 7, 2005 11:14 AM

    I agree that Chettinaad Palace serves great food. It is one of my two or three favorites in the area.

    However, Chettinaad Palace serves a completely different type of Indian food from most of the other Indian restaurants in the area. Not being Indian, I have limited understanding of the different cuisines of South India, but I have read that Chettinad food is from a region of the state of Tamil Nadu. It is as unique and unto itself as Keralan food (another South Indian cuisine) is. And as different from Northern Indian food as dosa is from naan.

    To say Chettinaad Palace is the "best Indian restaurant" in the DFW area is a lot like saying that Cajun food is the "best American food." You can love Cajun food (which I do), but saying it is the "best" American food makes it seem like you don't know much about the diversity of food in this country.

    I think your statement about "real" lamb needs some explanation, as well. The meat in Chettinaad Palace's curry, vindaloo and other lamb dishes consists of relatively small pieces of lamb, with lots of sauce and a few vegetables in between the meat. The spices tend toward curry leaves, coconut and other South Indian influences. Perhaps this is the style of food you grew up eating? Someone from Punjab, or New Delhi or Mumbai might find the Chettinad style good, but different from what "Indian" people make.

    Again, it's GREAT food, but not the only great Indian food in Dallas.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Kirk
      k
      Kirk May 7, 2005 11:52 AM

      Here's a link to the "history" section of the restaurant's website.

      Link: http://www.chettinaadpalace.com/Chett...

      1. re: Kirk
        t
        TCUJoe May 7, 2005 12:14 PM

        1. O.K., so what are the other great DFW Indian rests?

        2. You know as well as I do that 'the best American food' is Central Texas BBQ!

        1. re: TCUJoe
          n
          newbie May 8, 2005 09:18 PM

          Among other Indian restaurants in the Dallas area, I'd suggest to give "Zyka" a try. It is located by Beltline and 75 in the same shopping strip that has Party City and other Indian stores. It is cafetaria style food and specializes in Hyderabadi (another South Indian city known for its pungent, fiery foods) cooking.

          1. re: newbie
            o
            oliphant Jun 7, 2010 11:35 AM

            I unfortunately know from experience. Zyka's is DISGUSTING!! When I ordered my plate - it was covered in a film of oil. Totally tasteless.

            The best Indian food in Dallas is either Taj Mahal (not the downtown one which is a complete rip from the one on N. Central) and Mumtaz. They were owned by the same person at one point and the partners split. The food is amazing! Totally authentic!

            1. re: oliphant
              a
              Azn Gorger Jun 9, 2010 02:49 PM

              Apparently the cook in the partnership went to Mumtaz because the food there is identical to howTaj Majal's used to be and the much better of the two.

        2. re: Kirk
          t
          TheSingleGourmet May 8, 2005 03:57 AM

          I said it was the best Indian food I had had in the area. I never said it was the best, period. That's a subjective standard. Others may disagree, but those who have followed some of my postings would know that I've been searching for Indian food I can say that about for a long time.

          (On a site note, Chetinaad does have masala dosa; it's not bad, Chetna's in London has pretty much re-defined the whole Indian dosa.)

          As far as the lamb meat is concerned, it looked and tasted like it had actually come off of the animal and been cooked in its natural state. Compare this to the big, thick, hard chunks of "lamb" at Sitar for example. That "lamb" is commercially made into "chunks" and then cooked. There's no amount of cooking that can make those "chunks" tender and infuse the right kind of flavor into them.

          Oh, and people from Mumbai and New Delhi are still Indian. I meant only that this was clearly not food the preparation of which had been delegated to a non-Indian line cook. This was the real thing.

          All of you Indian fans need to have me make the dishes for you one time. Then you'd know what I was talking about!

          TSG.

          1. re: TheSingleGourmet
            k
            Kirk May 8, 2005 10:43 AM

            I guess I was misled by your title, "BEST Indian Food [Dallas]." For some reason, I assumed that meant you were nominating Chettinaad Palace as having the best Indian food in Dallas.

            Regarding dosas: in addition to the masala dosa, Chettinaad Palace serves the following ones, many of which are very good.

            Vegetarian Kal Dosa
            2 pieces of pancake styled Dosa served with vegetable kurma and coconut chutney

            Non-Vegetarian Kal Dosa
            2 pieces of pancake styled dosa served with chicken kurma and coconut chutney

            Muttai Dosa
            Egg topped rice crepes served with sambar and coconut chutney

            Sada Dosa
            Paper thin crepes served with sambar and coconut chutney

            Masala Dosa
            Paper thin crepes stuffed with mildly spiced potatoes and onions

            Sada Mysore Dosa
            Paper thin crepes served with sambar and coconut chutney– Mysore style

            Mysore Masala Dosa
            Paper thin crepes stuffed with mildly spices potatoes and onions – Mysore style

            Butter Masala Dosa
            Paper thin rice crepes roasted with butter and rolled with mildly spiced potatoes and onions

            Paper Dosa
            Paper thin Rice and Lentil crepe

            Paper Masala Dosa
            Paper thin rice and lentil crepes stuffed with mildly spiced potatoes and onions

            Sada Rava Dosa
            Thin and crispy crepes from cream of wheat and rice mildly spiced and garnished

            Special Rava Dosa
            Thin and crispy crepes from cream of wheat and rice with onion and cilantro

            Special Rava Masala Dosa
            Thin and crispy crepes from cream of wheat and rice with cilantro and chillies filled with potatoes and onions

            A couple of other random comments:

            One would assume that most the residents of the capital of India, New Delhi, are in fact Indians. Thank you for clarifying that Delhiites and Mumbaians are Indian, however.

            Can you elaborate a little more on why non-Indian line cooks cannot properly prepare Indian food? Are you suggesting that only a native can properly prepare a native cuisine? Does this mean that the thousands of Hispanic line cooks who populate the kitchens of most restaurants in Dallas, Chicago and New York (and most other U.S. cities) can't properly cook foods other than their native cuisines?

            Finally, since you are offering to prepare authentic Indian food for all of us, does this mean you are lifting The Single Gourmet's veil a bit? Are you, in fact, Indian?

            1. re: Kirk
              t
              TheSingleGourmet May 8, 2005 03:46 PM

              I'm familiar with the dosas. I still like mine "London style." Thin rice crepes rolled (not folded) with spicy potato and mustard seed filling running through the length, coconut-chili chutney, sambar, and I think there are a few other garnishes, but It's been a while since I've had one.

              Indian food is just different. It's hard to cook it right. I don't know anything about Hispanic cooks.

              No veils will be lifted.

              (hugs & kisses) TSG.

              1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                a
                AussieGirl May 9, 2005 02:25 PM

                Are you offering to cook for us? Because I'm very willing to learn more about indian food. Ihope you're not teasing..

                Let us know!!! it'd be great to have a Chowhounds dinner with TSG

                Cheryl

                1. re: AussieGirl
                  t
                  TheSingleGourmet May 9, 2005 03:09 PM

                  Sure, broadcast via satellite from TSG's hidden mountain lair!

                  TSG.

                  1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                    t
                    TCUJoe May 9, 2005 10:43 PM

                    In the interests of conviviality, consensus, and cooperation, what are everyones THREE best Indian rests? Not getting over to big D as often as I would like, I know only of Mayuri in Las Colinas, where the dosas are rolled and the spices in the curries are fresh.

                    1. re: TCUJoe
                      t
                      TheSingleGourmet May 9, 2005 11:20 PM

                      I had a bout of food poisening after eating at Myuri so I don't think it's all that good. Of course, I did go back after that and have lived to write this mail.

                      Here are the Indian places in the area that I would say were "top three." Now I've only been to like 20 Indian restaurants here so I may not have been to your favorites . . . yet.

                      Chetinaad
                      Clay Pit
                      India Grill (tie)
                      Tandoor (tie)

                      The three worst

                      Saffron Room
                      Maharaja
                      Sitar

                      I hope that helps. If not, feel free to mail me for more details.

                      TSG.

                      1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                        a
                        AussieGirl May 13, 2005 12:12 PM

                        Is Clay Pit even real indian food?

                        i went last night. it was awful.

                        The beef samosa smelt like dog meat and even my dining companion with a less sensitive nose wouldn't eat it.

                        I had a few appetizers and stopped there bc the food was terrible. Mango lassi was nice though...

                        At the end of the meal i had to have a couple of glasses of sprite. i NEVER drink sodas unless the food had some sort of msg in it.

                        TSG, i'm a bit disappointed that you would put down Clay pit.

                        1. re: AussieGirl
                          t
                          TheSingleGourmet May 14, 2005 12:15 PM

                          Well, I never used to like it, but the Sunday Buffet (uncharacteristically) is the best thing on the menu. And the samosas are terrible, no matter what they are stuffed with! I told them that right off the bat, but I went back a few times. FYI, Hindu Indians typically don't eat beef (though Pakistanis, Punjabis, and Sikhs often do (leave it alone Kirk, I don't have time to argue with you!) so that might explain the "dog" meat.

                          Also, while "chicken" dishes on the regular menu contain UGM (unidentifiable gray matter), the Sunday buffet is like urm, real meat. Try the Sunday buffet. It's very well spiced, and that's the only reason I put it down here.

                          TSG.

                          1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                            r
                            ryansupak Jun 13, 2005 01:01 AM

                            Chettinaad Palace was very good, though it was in more of what I'd call a "country style" than normal: lots of small vegetable chunks, etc, in the curry. Excellent service.

                            Roti Grill is passable for a discount place. I think that they equate "Salt" with "Flavor" though. The Garlic Naan is truly frightening -- the center of the loaf is filled with a cold mixture of raw dough and lots of garlic chunks.

                            I didn't enjoy Mayuri. The cold, reconstituted Pappadums were a bad preemptive sign. The vindaloo had too much yogurt for my taste.

                            I think my favorite "typical" Indian place is Kebab & Kurry, on 75, north of I-635, though even it's not exceptional in my opinion. They also suffer from the "salt=flavor" affliction, though they offset it by carmelizing the onions and garlic heavily.

                            So far, it's been tough to find an exceedingly good Indian place in Dallas...

                        2. re: TheSingleGourmet
                          s
                          simply_victoria May 13, 2005 04:28 PM

                          I've done Clay Pit and I think its pretty good, but its never one I've immediately suggest to someone.

                          I still think the little store front Curry's in Las Colinas is delicious. And we do Tabla's lunch buffet every couple of weeks.

                          I still like the buffet at Madras Pavillion too.

                          1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                            d
                            dinobob Oct 10, 2006 01:51 AM

                            Clay Pit? You can't be serious! How authentic can you be serving beef samosas and something resembling curry that I suspect was tomato soup with some dried herbs.

            2. j
              Johnny May 10, 2005 12:01 PM

              I took the opportuntiy to sample Chetinaand in Plano yesterday for lunch due to this post. I found it to be really good. The decor was nice for a Dallas Indian place. I had the buffet, which is usually not the best way to rate Indian food, but it was good non-the less. I really enjoyed the Masala Dosa the brought to me prior to me meal. found the food to be very fresh and different that most Indian buffets. Mutton liver curry was definately a diffent dish that was offered yesterday. Does anyone know if it is BYOB as I saw no bar? Unfortunately, most decent Indian is in the burbs. Anyone know of good Indian in town?

              12 Replies
              1. re: Johnny
                k
                Kirk May 10, 2005 01:22 PM

                You're a brave person, Johnny! I've seen the mutton liver curry a couple of times, and leaned heavily toward the vegetarian options on those days.

                1. re: Kirk
                  j
                  Johnny May 10, 2005 03:02 PM

                  I'll try anthing once and that was it for me. Gamey.

                  1. re: Johnny
                    t
                    TheSingleGourmet May 10, 2005 04:07 PM

                    I'll skip it then:) How about chilled monkey brains for dessert?

                    TSG.

                    1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                      k
                      Kirk May 10, 2005 05:29 PM

                      Not that I am aware of, TSG. But the trifle they sometimes serve on weekends is first rate.

                      By the way, a couple of times when I have gone on Fridays, they have served good renditions of a couple of Indian Chinese dishes, such as Manchurian Chicken.

                2. re: Johnny
                  t
                  TheSingleGourmet May 10, 2005 04:04 PM

                  I was back the other day and had the lamb curry at the buffet. Yummmy:) Still good meat. I'm not sure about BYOB, I just glanced at the menu but it didn't say. Maybe the website will.

                  As far as Indian in town, there really isn't much. There's Taj Express on Lemmon but it's nothing to get too excited about. There's India Palace on Preston and 635 but that's still kinda far. Everywhere else I've been to is either "casual" Indian, like Roti Grill on McKinney Ave, outside the loop (that's Houstonspeak) or in other cities (Irving/ Las Colinas, Plano, Hurst, Arlington, Richardson, etc.).

                  TSG.

                  1. re: TheSingleGourmet
                    j
                    Johnny May 10, 2005 04:56 PM

                    TSG,

                    How's the Roti Grill on McKinney? It's right by my house. You are correct on the Taj Express, it's pretty week.

                    1. re: Johnny
                      p
                      punodostres Aug 13, 2006 05:42 PM

                      Yep. Roti Grill is pretty good for Uptown. I had the Masala and Paneer... its even good the next day for a yummy lunch!

                      Gangsta STYLE. Puno.

                      1. re: punodostres
                        m
                        Mike C. Miller Aug 19, 2006 07:37 AM

                        My favorite is India Palace, but when I'm in Dallas, that's quite a drive (never mind Plano!!). Roti Grill is actually fairly good. It won't replace Breads of India in Berkeley as my favorite India restaurant in the U.S., but it's quite serviceable. Not quite up ot the standards of India Palace, but close. Indeed, I think that I have heard that there may be some common ownership, but I can't confirm that. But it's worth trying expecially since it's in teh neightborhood. I can walk there from my Dallas place.

                        1. re: punodostres
                          p
                          pgwiz1 Jan 24, 2011 06:49 AM

                          IMHO, Roti Grill is so americanized, and it's all about adding a bunch of cream and butter the curry. I am not saying it's terrible, but it just doesn't fulfill my indian food fix....

                          -----
                          Roti Grill
                          4438 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75205

                          1. re: pgwiz1
                            g
                            gavlist Jan 24, 2011 07:14 AM

                            fully agree. The food tastes good, and I eat it in a pinch... but far from satisfying.

                            1. re: gavlist
                              twinwillow Jan 24, 2011 08:06 AM

                              It's not cheap either.

                      2. re: TheSingleGourmet
                        pnamajck Jan 22, 2011 05:14 PM

                        while it is true . . . taj-express has gone thru some changes . . . late 2009, original owners went back home to india . . . some other indians took over . . . horrible and very unsanitary were the new owners.

                        but, late 2010, another new owner took over . . . raised the prices (5.99 raised to 7.99) . . . and brought some fabulous new dishes into the buffet table. i was stunned . . . and very happy with the outcome.

                        taj-express has been reincarnated . . . and with joyous results. they now offer chicken makhni (only on fridays) . . . better than butter-chicken / tikka-masala with the big boys in town . . . much tastier. and for 7.99 lunch . . . compared to 9.99 at big boys . . . seriously, give taj-express another chance.

                        i been going there, now, every week friday (only day serving makhni) . . . pls try them again.

                        they are closed sundays (all day).

                    2. TexasToast Aug 14, 2006 02:07 PM

                      Really? And this is the place across from Abacus?

                      TT

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TexasToast
                        TexasToast Aug 19, 2006 11:02 PM

                        Mike, Roti Grill and India Palace are both owned by Pradeep Sharma.

                        TT

                      2. k
                        Kirk Aug 14, 2006 02:11 PM

                        If it's anything like the Roti Grill in Plano, I would run, not walk, as far away from it as possible.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Kirk
                          TexasToast Aug 14, 2006 03:03 PM

                          Oh. Well that's what you get for reading old CH posts.

                          TT

                          1. re: Kirk
                            s
                            Scott Aug 14, 2006 03:21 PM

                            I like the concept of Roti Grill. The food, less so. If they were cheap, I could understand the attraction. But their prices are no lower than most local Indian restaurants with full menus, table service, etc. Unfortunately, if you want decent Indian, you still have to drive to the suburbs.

                            Scott

                          2. teegee Aug 15, 2006 01:48 AM

                            has kirk tried masala wok?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: teegee
                              k
                              Kirk Aug 15, 2006 12:59 PM

                              No, not yet. Is it worth a visit? I like Indian Chinese food, but have been afraid that Masala Wok might be a tad trendy for me.

                              1. re: Kirk
                                l
                                laurie Aug 17, 2006 12:14 AM

                                Masala Wok is fabulous! It is packed with Indian families, even on weeknights. That alone is a testament to its quality.

                                1. re: TexasToast
                                  d
                                  delhiite2 Oct 11, 2006 08:20 PM

                                  Try their Chicken Tikka Masala, this is the best you would ever get in Dallas. The rest of the items are average (sometimes it is really good and at other time quite pathetic)

                            2. teegee Aug 16, 2006 05:13 PM

                              i haven't been in a while but i liked it. my recollection is that it wasn't entirely indian chinese; i think at least half the menu was traditional-type indian dishes. my recollection is also that it seemed fresh. (but i ain't pushing it; i mostly wanted to get your always-valuable 2 cents.)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: teegee
                                TexasToast Aug 16, 2006 11:42 PM

                                Is Masala the same thing as Masala Wok?

                                TT

                                1. re: TexasToast
                                  s
                                  simply_victoria Aug 17, 2006 04:47 PM

                                  Yes. Owned by the same people. Its pretty good for togo food. Reminds me a bit of Roti Grill.

                              2. g
                                giftculture Aug 21, 2006 04:25 PM

                                I really like the buffet / food at Madras Pavillion in Richardson (Madras Pavilion. 101 S Coit Rd # 359 Richardson, TX 75080)

                                That place was my first encounter with Dosas - the Dosa Masala is really good there. They have a hot and sour soup there that is very delicious to me.

                                I'm a big fan of their buffet, as well...

                                In my opinion, the flavors of all the food were really vivid - it's all vegetarian cuisine, but I didn't miss the meat because the flavors were so good.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: giftculture
                                  d
                                  delhiite2 Oct 11, 2006 08:26 PM

                                  Madras Pavilion used to be True South Indian restaurant till they gave into the pressure and started the North-South Combo, and their Standard took a downturn.

                                  For True and Authentic South-Indian food, try Taj Chaat House in Irving (@ McArthur and Rochelle). This place is run by a South Indian Caterer and the quality and taste is to die for. If You have ever eaten at Saravana Bhavan in Chennai (they have branches in NJ, CA and NY), Taj is quite close to it in terms of taste and options.

                                  Sorry to dissapoint all you meat lovers, but this place is Vegetarian only.

                                2. c
                                  chihmom Aug 28, 2008 09:32 PM

                                  I love Chettinaad's--especially their Vegetarian Thali! Recently, I took 2 colleagues there who were visiting for 6 weeks from India and they returned there multiple times.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chihmom
                                    jinet12 Sep 7, 2008 02:34 PM

                                    Put me down for India Palace, a place that still knows how to do a wonderful Chicken Tikka Masala....and their veggie curries are outstanding as well...

                                  2. m
                                    Meals Jul 29, 2010 03:24 PM

                                    Just moved to Dallas from Los Angeles and am craving some amazing (esp. vegetarian) Indian food... doesn't matter what region. Any new/old favorites?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Meals
                                      DallasDude Jul 30, 2010 07:36 AM

                                      Vegetarian Indian (Vedic), go to Kalachandji's. It is in a Krishna temple, and interesting.

                                      http://www.kalachandjis.com/

                                      1. re: DallasDude
                                        amokscience Jul 30, 2010 11:52 AM

                                        What Dude said. I don't really like Indian but Kalachandji's is terrific. I've copied a couple items off their buffet.

                                        1. re: amokscience
                                          m
                                          Meals Aug 2, 2010 08:26 AM

                                          Thank you DallasDue & amokscience. My mom and I are going to check it out for lunch.

                                    2. t
                                      toyocoro Aug 11, 2010 10:27 PM

                                      Pakvan (Vegetarian only) on N O'Connor Rd just north of 183 has good Gujarati vegetarian food with some South Indian and Punjabi dishes. If you are a newbie order a Thali which is a stainless steel plate with several small servings of a variety of Gujarati dishes along with a rice and chapatis (Indian tortillas). Food is very much like home cooked food rather than restaurant style cooking.

                                      1. twinwillow Sep 10, 2010 08:48 PM

                                        The ex-so and I went to Chettinaad Palace for dinner tonight at the suggestion of a friend.
                                        We knew it was going to be good when we realized we were the only "Americans" in the place. Our server, "Ben" was gracious, friendly and very helpful. Look for him. He's about 6' tall.
                                        We started our dinner with the "Special Rava Masala Dosa" stuffed with potatoes, onions, and chilli's and cilantro. Delicious!
                                        We didn't want to over order as it was just the two of us.
                                        So, after our (huge) Rava Masala Dosa and various chutney's, we ordered Seek Kabab (lamb sausage) and Palak (spinach ) Paneer. Wow! Talk about fresh, tasty, and beautifully spiced. The beautifully spiced minced lamb sausage literally fell apart as we picked them up off the plate. And talk about flavor. The best I've ever had! The spinach and cheese dish was terrific as well.
                                        We also ordered Raita (yogurt sauce) and sweet lassie's.
                                        Sorry, India Palace, You won't be seeing us anymore.
                                        Our total bill including an $8.00 tip came to $51.00. And, we had enough left over for the ex-so to take enough home for another meal.

                                        -----
                                        Chettinaad Palace
                                        2205 N Central Expy Ste 180, Plano, TX 75075

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