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Nirvana Indian Restaurant

14543 Memorial Dr Houston TX 77079
(281) 496-3232
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YellowBot User
Reviewed Business
Nirvana Indian Restaurant
Reviewer Name
Alain G. Harvey
Review Date
June 22, 2011
Reviewer Location
Houston, TX
Average Rating

Roasted Spices Give Vibrant Flavor to Indian Dishes

The Scene
Ladies who lunch, foodies and wine connoisseurs taking advantage of the BYOB policy with no corkage fee are drawn out west for the highly regarded Indian cuisine and gracious service. At dinner, soft lights, soothing Indian artwork and private linen-dressed tables create an atmosphere conducive to lingering.

The Food
India is known for its collection of regional spices, several of them aromatic that add layers of flavor to the food being prepared. It’s no longer a secret that each dish tastes great if spices are ground in small batches as Nirvana chef devotedly does each day. Chef Nadeem Rahmat, a native of Hyderabad takes great care in the selection and purchasing of fresh whole spices. Spices are taken in small batches, ground individually and slow roasted in a cast iron skillet over an open flame. The roasting releases the oils and essences of each spice. Spices are then ground from a coarse to a fine texture as needed to blend in with the meats, poultry and seafood dishes being cooked.

Nirvana’s mostly traditional menu focuses on deftly prepared dishes such as smoky tandoori kebabs, piquant curries and tart yogurt sauces made with freshly ground spices. Try the rich lamb ashar gosht with "tickling spices" or moist chicken breast tiki masala in tomato cream. Also expect distinctive culinary thrills such as delicate Chilean sea bass cooked with sweet red onions and coconut milk.

Three new and unique dishes are the Goat Bukhara – succulent chunks of goat meat immersed in rich brown gravy with apricots. The Moghlai chicken reminiscent of the Moghul empire featuring moderately a spicy gravy made with cashews, almonds ground into a rich, thick paste, then seasoned with fried onions, yogurt and kewra water essence, based in a rich tomato and cream sauce. Lastly, the Chicken Madras – chicken pieces flavored in Madras curry powder, coconut milk, flavored with fried curry leaves and mustard.

Always fresh, the Monday lunch and dinner buffet features 16 varietal dishes accompanied by a mini salad bar and a dessert bar. The restaurant’s manager, Monsur Alam, monitors the buffet line constantly keeping it restocked, and often informing diners that the Chicken Tikka Masala on the way or fresh Naan will be coming to their table. The buffet offers diners mild to medium spicy dishes. The a la carte menu can be customized to suit each diner’s taste from moderate to very spicy. Buffet dishes are new each day. The buffet features some classical Indian dishes – Tandoori chicken, Shrimp Jalfrezi, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Vindaloo, Mutton Rogan Josh, Aloo Bhajia, (potato vegetable), Chana Masala, (Chickpeas in spicy gravy), Khadi – dumplings in yogurt sauce, Sag Paneer (spinach with cottage cheese cubes), and Vegetable Pulao. Nirvana also features an array of excellent grilled thoroughfare – Fish tikka (flavored fish pieces), Gosht boti kabab, Murgh Malai (skewered cubes of chicken cooked in a tandoor oven, featured in a creamy sauce), and Sarson ki chaamp (lamb pieces with mustard leaves).

Nirvana offers an excellent variety of vegetarian dishes as my wife can attest. Chef Nadeem explained to us one evening that his focus is on keeping each vegetable dish unique by not overdoing it. He stated “It has to be just right. Usually you find an overload of spices or too much cream. This takes away from the dish and does not give the diner the actual taste. I like to spice each vegetable dish subtly be it Baghara Baingan, the brinjal has to be deep fried or roasted and seasoned with the right combination of spices. This way the diner can enjoy the taste of the vegetable, like cauliflower, potatoes, diced and sauteed onions and tomatoes, instead of the rich cream or spices.”

We noted that these same vegetables are also used to make delicious appetizers and starters like samosas, mixed vegetable pakoras, and salads. The chicken and seafood appetizers as well as a variety of stuffed parathas are always in demand by everyone whenever we dine at Nirvana.

We appreciate the service which is consistently excellent and always attentive. The nan bread is always brought to the table fresh instead of being allowed to become soggy on the steam table.

On Friday nights Nirvana features live music – the solo sitar by Aaron Hermes, an artist who has classical training from India, sometimes accompanied by a flutist or tabla player.

Nirvana does offer catering packages for family and business events starting at $15. Monsur Alam, the manager, is able and very friendly, and expressed that he is willing to help customize catering orders.

The evening ambiance at Nirvana is perfect for casual dining in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is decorated with modern, flowing lines and rich, sensual colors. The restaurant offers a large friendly patio offering diners a place to relax and enjoy an outdoor table during those rare times when Houston experiences a pleasantly cool evening.

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Editorial reviews from the web (1)

Editorial Review

Memorial area Indian restaurant touts Northern region specialties with a focus on healthy cooking methods and freshly ground spices.

Other reviews from the web (38) view all

The best Indian food in my life

Average Rating

I went on Tuesday and it was buffete night for around 16 USD, so i had the opportunity to try many dishes, all of them were awsome !!! They tasted like real Indian food , and for that price!!! There is nothing more i could...

Nirvana Indian Restaurant (Houston) - excellent choice

Average Rating

We had dinner here for a small family celebration, and couldn't be more pleased with the menu selection, food quality and attentive service. The spicing was very good, although had probably been toned down a bit(in terms of hot spiciness) for the American pallatte. The...

Business description (1)

Nirvana Indian Restaurant is a Indian, Buffet, and Catering restaurant where most Menuism users came for a family meal, paid between $10 and $25, and tipped more than 18%.

Tips about this business (3) view all

Memorial area Indian restaurant touts Northern region specialties with a focus on healthy cooking methods and freshly ground spices.

When to Go: Lunch time allows for sampling galore via a massive buffet created fresh daily.

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