Tandoori chicken (top right) and Shrimp 65 at India Haat, a new Indian restaurant in Addison

Tandoori chicken (top right) and Shrimp 65 at India Haat, a new Indian restaurant in Addison

Ashley Landis/Staff Photographer 

That one's awful; this one's great: It's so tempting to think of restaurants in stark absolutes. But sometimes what you get is more complicated. 

Such is the case at India Haat, Gaurav Mishra's quirky new place featuring dishes from all around India.

Try not to be bothered by the fact that Waze has delivered you to a desolate Addison strip mall. Nor that you've waited 40 minutes for a gin and tonic; and yes, a cocktail does seem unlikely in this oddball setting. There's only one other table seated: a multigenerational party of 10 or 12. Some of the women wear saris. Near the door, a solo guitarist plays blues on a bandstand. And you know what? He's not bad. You wait.

Eventually, you're rewarded: with lightly battered  fried shrimp "65," red-orange spice clinging to their puffy jackets. They mingle with curry leaves, mustard seeds, craggly fenugreek pebbles.  There's uncommonly good lentil soup. And beautifully spiced lamb rogan josh.  The dosa masala mysore is like a delicate South Indian quesadilla, red chutney standing in for the salsa. Tender morsels of pan-fried goat come swathed in black-peppery curry. 

India Haat

Another night, you accept a seat at the "chef's table" – a counter, actually – with the promise that the chef will cook a custom, omakase-style tasting menu for you. "What would you like to have?" he asks, handing us menus.  Huh? You assumed he'd do the thinking. Oh, well. That's one way to hear his suggestions – including a lovely assortment of tandoori. A la carte at a table is a much better experience. 

Don't skip dessert -- not when there's pistachio kulfi in the shape of an ice-cream pop, Indian street-snack-style. Or incredible gajar halwa -- carrot pudding topped with crushed cashews and golden raisins, from a recipe inspired by Mishra's mom.

Dinner nightly until midnight; buffet lunch daily. Full bar. 4145 Belt Line Road, Addison. 214-888-0602. 

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