Owner Narin Sehgal and chef-in-chief Gary Grewal channel the culinary traditions of their Punjabi hometowns to craft delicately spiced dishes for a menu that was rated "excellent" by Zagat. Chicken tikka and tandoori prawns soak up a savory marinade before warming up in the same clay oven that gives a flame-kissed crust to breads stuffed with paneer, nuts, lamb, or mint. The black-lentil base of dal makhani spends an entire night slowly absorbing the essence of distinctive herbs, much like a college student cramming for a big botany exam. Abundant subcontinental flair outfits the dining rooms, including arched doorways set into clay-colored walls, rich prints, and tasseled chandeliers.
Black Walnut Cafe exemplifies the word eclectic. At five locations sprinkled around the Houston area, the contemporary American restaurant offers diners more than 100 freshly prepared, cooked-to-order dishes. The menu covers every meal of the day, starting with philly-cheesesteak omelets and brioche french toast for breakfast. Later in the day, visitors can choose from a range of dishes that include asian barbecue salmon, lobster tacos, and Black Walnut's signature pot roast—complete with brown gravy, house potatoes, and roasted veggies. The café satisfies sweet teeth as well, with housemade gelato and a rotating selection of baked goods.
You’ll find blood sausage and other traditionally Spanish tapas on El Meson’s menu, but many of the restaurant’s small plates pay homage to Cuba. Among these plates is a grilled Texas quail that’s rich in garlic and drizzled with a red wine reduction.
Chocolate-chip cookies and almond croissants fly off the shelves at Croissant-Brioche. But don’t overlook its other pastries, such as éclairs and savory quiches. Eat one at a cozy marble table and let it transport you to the street cafés of Paris.