Named after the national bird of India, which is not the chicken tikka masala, by the way, Mayuri is a large and attractive spot for well-made northern and southern Indian food plus the popular-in-Mumbai Chinese-Indian dishes.

The menu is very lengthy and expansive by local Indian restaurant standards, but the prime attraction for most is the menu-free lunchtime buffet. Though the other restaurants in the shopping center might be empty during the extended lunchtime hours, there is a good chance that Mayuri will be packed for its buffet, mostly with Indian patrons. Don’t be surprised if you have to wait a few minutes for a table around noon.

The requisite Indian restaurant all-you-can-eat lunch spread is plentiful and changes daily. There might be an array of curry dishes with goat, chicken, or vegetables, tandoor chicken, and a slew of chutneys, soups and sarnbals (accompaniments to the rice and curries) and fresh fruits. Naan and the light crepe-like dosas are continuously made during the lunchtime hours by a man in a small windowed room adjacent to the buffet. The sauces in the dishes are noticeably thinner, and maybe lighter, than at other local places, but are still very flavorful.

That American and British favorite Butter Chicken is very good; especially tasty since the buttery, if not heavy sauce, is studded with pieces of the extremely tasty tandoor chicken, which is somewhat unusual. This bright red chicken is moist, and more flavorful than at most area restaurants, especially on a buffet. The kheer and gulab jamen (rosewater-scented donut balls) are not quite as viscous and tasty, respectively, as at most other places. But, these are offered daily, as is soft-serve ice cream, which seems to be a favorite on at least a couple of continents.

There might be something for nearly everyone during dinner time. In case you need time to peruse the menu, Mayuri offers over forty appetizers and about twenty-five soups, each listed as either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The menu also designates a number of side dishes like dosas in a variety of styles and parathas (stuffed flat wheat bread) as specifically northern or southern for your edification.

For entrees, there are plenty of vegetarian dishes, chicken and lamb and a lesser number of seafood, which is either shrimp or some kind of fish fillet. Each of these can be served as part of multi-course thali. All of the expected dishes are offered, and more. There are several dishes baked in the tandoor oven for which Mayuri seems to have a very good hand, biryanis (fragrant long-grain rice cooked with a choice of toppings), and a number of different types of breads. Plus, there are about fifty Indo-Chinese dishes.

5857 Westheimer (just west of Fountain View)
Houston, Texas 77057
(713) 975-6565

Copyright Mike Riccetti. Adapted from Houston Dining on the Cheap, and used with permission.

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