Best Indian Restaurant - 2006
Readers' Choice: Shiva Indian Restaurant
Succumbing to the easy pitfalls of "fusion," modern Indian cuisine often sheds thousands of years of culinary tradition simply to appeal to timid Western palates. Indika adroitly avoids these hazards. Since it moved from west Houston to Montrose, it has been turning out some of the most unforgettably delicious food -- Indian or otherwise -- in the city. No true sampling of the restaurant's treasures is complete without the crab samosas. Loaded with lump crabmeat, spiced to perfection with fresh herbs and deep-fried with a delicate hand, their succulent crunch will make you eschew regular old samosas and crab cakes. The grilled lamb chops are perfect: mildly charred on the outside, tender in the middle and bathed in an authentically piquant Kashmiri curry. A bed of fresh greens offsets the heaviness. The seafood biryani jazzes up an Indian staple to great tropical effect with coconut milk, dried fruits and a spicy cilantro pesto. The breads, chutneys and dals are all excellent -- the brilliance of Indika's creativity lies in its faithfulness to Indian-cuisine fundamentals.