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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Houston
Food
Feel
Price
9.1
7.5
$10
Indian
Casual restaurant

Hours
Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.udipicafeusa.com

Hillcroft Area
5959 Hillcroft St.
Houston, TX
(713) 334-5555

Sugar Land
3554 Hwy. 6 S.
Sugar Land, TX
(281) 313-2700
Hours
Mon–Fri 11:00am–10:00pm
Sat–Sun 11:30am–10:00pm

West Houston
4632 FM 1960
Houston, TX
(281) 397-7200
Hours
Daily 11:00am–10:00pm

Udipi Café
Southern Indian dishes that edify vegetables, lentils, and grains

Each location in this small chain is humble yet cheerful, serving a vegetarian cuisine built around centuries-old recipes from south India’s Karnataka region, birthplace of the masala dosa, one of the world’s gastronomical treasures. Dosai, of which there are about 20 at Udipi, are big, thin rice crêpes characterized in their finest form—as they are here—by an ineffable lightness, a precise interplay between crispy and spongy. (These are even available with the lunch buffet; you need only ask.) You must have them with sambar, a lentil-and-vegetable stew in a tamarind broth—another backbone of Southern Indian cuisine. Other staple starches from the area include sauce-absorbing idli (steamed rice-lentil cakes) and medhu vada (deep-fried lentil-flour doughnuts).

Regardless, Udipi’s not to be demoted to strictly being a vegetarian’s restaurant. Even hardcore carnivores find that the kitchen’s faithful renditions of centuries-old recipes employ enough complex spice combinations and textural variation between starches, legumes, fruits, greens, and dairies to burrow straight into the pleasure centers of the brain. Sample silky and complex paneer makhani; smooth, subtle yellow dal; flawless coconut chutney and “pickle” with the deep pucker of preserved lemon; and world-class versions of yogurt rice, rich vegetable korma, and sweet sheera. Bombay-style chaat (snack-sized street foods) served next door to Udipi’s Hillcroft location, at Krishna Chaat House, are equally delicious and unbelievably cheap.

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