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.
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.
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.