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Pondicheri - Modern Indian Chain in West Avenue Complex, with a Second Outpost in New York City's Flatiron District

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On 3/21/2017 at 11:37 PM, Lori Gardner said:

I had three great meals recently all in the Flatiron District.  The area isn't that far from Times Square area, and seems to be gaining ground as a dining destination in the city.  The restaurants are Cosme (modern Mexican), Atoboy (Korean small plates) and Pondicheri (casual Indian).

New York residents take note: Pondicheri has two outlets, the original being in Houston's West Avenue Complex.

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I've had lunch twice now at the original outpost here in Houston, and am a believer.  The menu is inventive, but authentic.  Does that make sense?

The chili shrimp dosa is the perfect hot Houston Spring lunch...especially if you start with the (actually very) spicy goat samosa.  Parents take note: they also have a kids platter (the "Tuk Tuk Thali) with grilled chicken, fries, braised greens, and naan for $12.  It's a ton of food, and was plenty split between our 2 boys (age 2 and 4).

 

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The gas was out when I opened the cumbersome castle door (seriously, it's weird) to Pondicheri, Anita Jaisinghani's nationally-recognized, modern Indian café. I was really looking forward to her kitchen's renditions of breakfast -- I hardly stray from the reliable American breakfast, as it's the only meal the United States can defeat all comers in, so trying an Indian version would be an interesting change.

The persistent construction along Westheimer made that not possible, so I marched upstairs to Jaisinghani's Bake Lab. There, my disappointment faded with a bite of the cherry upside down cake ($4 per slice), which was a spongy, tart slice of love. Light enough to eat several slices, this is your tea or coffee's new best friend. 

Moving on to the main course of chai pie ($6 per slice), I understood why it's so locally renowned; tall as a meringue pie, but with dense spiced custard responsible for the height. Buttery biscuit crust that reminds one why pie is superior to cake. Skip the whipped cream on top, do not pass on the cashews. 

Very happy at this point, my chocolate chip, coconut and mint cookie ($3) was the final glory for the Pondicheri baking team. A simple combination but done better than most.

I hope to try a savory breakfast at Pondicheri one day. I know for sure I will be back for everything else that comes out of their baking ovens. 

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