Alison Cook’s top 100: No. 27. Shri Balaji Bhavan

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Shri Balaji Bhavan

27. Shri Balaji Bhavan
This counter-service place in Little India may look plain, but its all-vegetarian menu of South Indian favorites is a carnival of invigorating flavors and textures. For very little money, you can dine in lordly fashion on resonant chole (curried garbanzos) that come with puffy bhatura loaves as big as garden-party hats; or on dahi puri, brittle lentil globes filled with potatoes and chickpeas, a bright explosion of herbs and yogurt and chutneys and cayenne dust rioting all over the plate. The thali assortments can be a mixed bag, but uttapham (lentil pancakes), samosa chaat and the frisky puffed-rice scramble, bhel puri, are reliable bets. To drink: milky Madras coffee or cardamom-scented chai.
Cuisine: Indian
Entree price range: $-$$
Where: 5655 Hillcroft St.
Phone: 713-783-1126


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