"This is the first of 3,000 to come!" said Viral Patel of his Bombay Pizza Co. (914 Main, 713-654-4444), expressing his hope that number one will turn into a franchise. Viral is a fan of the movie Slumdog Millionaire, and his menu includes pizzas with names like The Slumdog, Gateway of India and so on.
Patel, who is Indian by birth, was the manager of La Strada for the past 13 years. Bombay Pizza Co. offers a fusion of his favorite cuisines. "Why not put tandoori chicken on a pizza? Italian and Indian are some of my favorite cuisines," he says. "Even when I cooked pasta for myself at La Strada, I used to spice it up with Indian spices."
Before opening his place, Patel returned to India "to learn how to cook Indian food." Patel describes his cooking as "everyday food with a hint of spice," and he's trying to cater to Indians and Americans alike with both pizzas and daily Indian specials. Of course, he's not the first to combine Indian spices with American food. This is what made Hot Breads successful: adding Indian ingredients to croissants, breads and other baked goods.
Dish tried a slice of The Slumdog, which had pepperoni, Spanish chorizo, Canadian bacon and chicken, as well as jalapeños and Patel's special Bombay pizza sauce. While it looks just like a normal slice, the spices and heat are unmistakably Indian, and the taste is refreshing. Dish also tried the daily special, which, that day, was blackened snapper with a cilantro-mint chutney, served over basmati rice. This was a simple filet of fish with a fascinating twist of flavor added to it.
Patel may be on to something here. When Dish visited, the place was overflowing with young Indians eager to get a slice with the spices that remind them of home.
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