Date of Visit: Often

Location: Houston

I absolutely die when I see the Madras Pavillion web site because it’s nothing less than what I would expect from this cash-driven enterprise, not quite but almost a hole in the wall. In the five years I have been dining at Madras, few things have changed. Bussers and owners have stayed the same, menus, chairs, tables, and decor has not budged. Thankfully, neither has the stellar cuisine.

Madras serves solely vegetarian Indian food – a revelation for those used to nothing but tandoori chicken and palek paneer (not that I have anything against those wonderful dishes). Here you’ll dine on huge dosas filled with curried potatoes, deliciously simmered curries with lentils and vegetables of every kind, lightly fried cauliflower in tomato based sauce and more. Be sure to try the channa batura, an amazing light puffy bread served with a side of chickpeas. The portions go further than you’d expect, and desserts are a step beyond the usual rosewater rice pudding.

To sample their excellent variety, stop by the lunch buffet. Along with the sampling of buffet dishes, each meal includes a made to order masala dosa.

Madras has been such a standby for me for so many years I feel compelled to stick a little plug in. If you haven’t tried it yet, do so now. As I was leaving lunch last week, the owner acknowledged that this was hard times for him, and I would hate for this unique Houston treasure to disappear.

Recommended: Masala Dosai, Channa Batura, Vegetable Korma, Ghobhi Manchurian, Malai Kofta.

Price: Very reasonable.

Food – 5/5 bacon slices.
Atmosphere – 4/5 bacon slices. Service can be slow, but parking is ample and free.
Miscellany – You know it’s good when half the patrons are Indian.