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$13 at Madras Pavilion on Kirby

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Where

: Madras Pavilion, 3910 Kirby (Ste. 130), 713-521-2617

What $13 gets you: The satisfaction of having all your columns add up.

This vegetarian joint sits in that strip center a block north of 59 that looks just as likely to house a company like Dunder Mifflin as an award-winning restaurant. Inside you'll find tile floors, glass-covered tables and steaming plates of South Indian fare.

The dishes of southern India are generally considered among that country's spiciest, and I was glad to have plenty of white rice to help temper the bite of the vegetable moghlai (listed at $10.99, but more on that in a sec). I originally had my eye on the special vegetable curry, and when I asked the guy at the counter whether it was good, he said yes (big surprise there), but when I asked if he'd recommend anything else, he told me the moghlai was nice and creamy, so there you go.

Recommended? Let's see...carry the one...divide by three...square the remainder...um, yes.

The moghlai's fresh veggies and creamy tomato sauce, not to mention the yogurt and cucumbers on the side, are definitely worth the visit, but if you're looking for wacky math, this just might be the best place in town. Written on a beat-up piece of paper taped to the counter is a notice that all prices have been raised ten percent due to higher food production costs, which is understandable, but not really that noticeable. I guess the higher costs didn't include new menus.

My meal cost $10.99 plus an extra $1.10, which with tax should've busted through our $13 limit, but the guy rounded my change and gave me back singles. Is that a complicated way to figure out someone's bill? Yes. Is this the first time a tab has worked out exactly to $13? Why yes, it is. Perfection isn't always simple.

Bonus point: When you order to-go, the cooks do a great job of wrapping up the liquidy stuff in cling wrap, helping keep your car seats sauce-free. – Keith Plocek

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