Best Pakistani Restaurant (2003)
La Sani Restaurant & Banquet Hall
You expect fiery curries and hot masalas in the Little Karachi neighborhood around Bissonnet and U.S. 59, but La Sani is something special. The food here is spicy in every sense of the word. Whole ginger, fenugreek seeds, chiles, garlic, cumin seeds and coriander come blaring at you in concentrations so intense that you can barely tell what you're eating. Few restaurants cook with whole cardamom pods and whole pieces of cinnamon bark, because average restaurant customers freak out when they find such objects in their mouth. La Sani, a halal restaurant whose patrons are mostly Pakistanis and Muslim Indians, pays little attention to such mainstream inhibitions. Imagine producer Phil Spector's "wall of sound" recording technique transmuted into a cooking style, and you have some idea what to expect from La Sani's wall of flavor.