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On my breakfast visit, I noticed that the bread was baked on an "impinger," one of those fast, conveyer belt ovens originally developed for use in ­delivery pizza joints. On an impinger-style oven, a large pizza bakes in an average of around eight minutes. Suddenly, the sign advertising gourmet halal pizzas made more sense.

A couple of evenings later, I was at Kings Chicken ordering a half chapli kebab and half barbecue chicken tikka pizza. When they messed up and gave me all chapli kebab, the owner apologized for a translation error somewhere along the line. He said he was designing forms to deal with the United Nations assortment of languages. They made another pie with the correct toppings and sent me home with two halal pizzas.

The nan bread was so good, I figured the pizza would be outrageous. But actually, it was just average. The chapli kebab was made with spicy ground chicken instead of the usual spicy ground beef, and the barbecue sauce was too sweet. The Nigerian cook also went a little too heavy on the halal mozzarella.
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The Gourmet's Dinner for Two can actually feed four.
Troy Fields
The Gourmet's Dinner for Two can actually feed four.

Location Info

Map

Gourmet India

13155 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77077

Category: Restaurant > Indian

Region: Memorial

Details

Gourmet India Lunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. Dinner hours: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Gourmet's dinner for two: $45

Lunch buffet: $15

Roganjosh: $12

Saag Paneer: $9

Mango lassi: $3

Kings Chicken Hours: 8:30a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Large pizza:

$12

Chicken korma: $4.99

Goat korma: $6.99

Paratha and eggs: $5.99

Two-piece fried chicken: $2.49

Gourmet India 13155 Westheimer, 281-493-5435.
Kings Chicken 11300 Beechnut St., 281-498-2900.

While I often pay lip service to the notion that an Indian restaurant should be judged by the superior fare served at dinner and not by the corner-cutting cuisine that appears on its all-you-can-eat lunch buffet, I am just as baffled by the logic of Indian food prices as everybody else.

Entrées containing meat go for $11 and $12 on Gourmet India's menu. That would seem reasonable if they came with some sides, but they don't. Everything is served à la carte. And side orders like saag paneer and daal are $9 a pop. The bread costs $2 and $3, and they even charge $3 for steamed rice. Raita? $3. Pickles? $2. Did I mention drinks and appetizers?

To avoid getting skewered at Gourmet India, opt for the $45 Gourmet's Dinner for Two. It includes vegetable pakora appetizers and papadams, juicy tandoori chicken, tandoori prawns, fingers of barbecued ground chicken tikka, spicy ground lamb sheek kebab, your choice of mild chicken tikka masala or spicy lamb roganjosh (get the roganjosh), saag paneer, daal, rice pulao, nan, chutney and Indian lime pickles. I picked up this spread to go one night last week. And when unexpected guests dropped by, I ended up feeding four with it pretty easily.

Of course, if I had spent the same $45 at Kings Chicken, I probably could have fed ten. It's nice to have the choice. Because sometimes I'm in the mood for the more mainstream ethnic food on Westheimer, and sometimes I'm in the mood for the immigrant-oriented ethnic food on Beechnut. And sometimes I let my wallet do the deciding.

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