516 Westheimer (Montrose)
I’ve had the frequently pleasant opportunity to both enjoy and be dismayed at this award winning spot since its inception. Often during a single seating. I’ve followed the talented energetic Chef Jaisinghani through both fat and lean times. I keep going back, mostly at lunch these days but on occasion I’ll swing a dinner visit. By and large I’ve seen brilliance and abject horror among dishes arriving at table. The kitchen here is moody. Swinging wildly at times from pro to con and vice versa. I don’t understand the new emphasis on “Chaat”…! I wish I could market peasant or street food for top dollar prices. I’d be that HoustonFoodGuy on the beach somewhere…! Also, Chaat…? Way to close to the word for “Cat” in French. The service has always been terrific with thoughtful caring servers’ intent upon the diner’s enjoyment.
I’ve wondered why local critics rave ad nauseam about Indika! Per heretofore, it can be top notch but “Top Ten” accolades, doubtful. After recent media hype of the “Release” I reached out with Mrs. HFG to see what all the fuss was about…! The spot was packed but our reservation was handled appropriately and we were seated instantly. (I would hope so…!) We passed on cocktails but surrendered to the wine list for a middle of the road tasty chardonnay. Attempting to maximize our exposure we opted for the tasting menu. They will substitute items as desired in this mélange of substantial bites. Often a tasting menu in our town is composed portioned for Lilliputians. Not so at Indika! (Cheers) We started off with a quail immersed in a yogurt based sauce I thought bland. It was plated with a slice or two of roasted sweet potato dolloped with the mint dressing / puree usually found with the chickpea crisps. This dish was well prepared but kinda ho-hum. A salad of corn and chaat arrived next. It was dressed with the same mint affair enhanced by a swirl of the spicy tamarind sauce usually reserved for the crisps. The next offering consisted of a roasted redfish dusted in spice set atop an amalgam of chickpea and rice. The reduction surrounding same was perfect and escalated the dish to heights befitting commercial critique. The cumin was a bit prevalent but all in all, I enjoyed the dish. The final plate consisted of several hunks of braised lamb, a tad dry but not necessarily Saharaish, in a piquant sauce of only god knows what… and a perfectly done medium rare but fatty grilled loin lamb chop (enjoyed).
We passed on desert.
In my opinion this is not the seventh best table in Houston. Far from it but I enjoyed the meal from a culinary standpoint. It is evident a revolution of sort is happening in Indika’s kitchen and I’m all for it, full faith and credit. I wish Chef Anita well. Similarities of saucing and lack of attention to doneness in particularly vulnerable cuts of hoof aside, I’ll pull a “Macarthur”, and will return.