Houston >Food & Dining > Khyber Restaurant
“If a restaurant has bad food, I don't care about the "ambience”
“The desert is wonderful.”
“My husband likes the clear taste of the ice tea as well.”
“Although it is possible to find "authentic" Indian food in Houston, you have to travel outside of the beltway or venture into a shady part of town.”
“Table and paper menus were dirty.”
“He, along with the other professional staff who have been with him for years make this a fabulous example of northern Indian cuisine and a great place to enjoy a meal.”
“always had my hunches from previous rude/ or lack of service towards me but not towards other non-Indians at my dinner table.”
“still crappy food for exorbitant prices and awful service.”
“Sometimes the service is a bit slow when it's crowded (Friday and Saturday nights), but that's to be expected, I guess.”
Having just read Smita and Sanjeev
Cuisines of India: The Art and Tradition of Regional Indian Cooking, I realize that many diners who reviewed their visit to Khyber on the basis of one set of assumptions or another about how Indian food SHOULD taste don't recognize the many completely different types of Indian food that can be legitimately offered. The food at Khyber, a North Indian Grill, reflects the selections of meats and spices of the North, not the lip-burning, ghee-immersed food of parts of the South. But even "north" and "south" WAY over simplify the situation. Centuries of invaders and colonizers from the Mughals to the Portuguese and British have left their marks on dining in different parts of the country, according to the Chandras. When I go to Khyber with my Indian friends, they find the dishes excellent, and saag paneer they consistently admire as superior. My own favorites are the Baingan Bharta (eggplant) and the Daal. I find the quirky humor of the staff (and the signs that taunt the competition) droll and amusing, and admit it––some customers are outrageous and worth a tongue-in-cheek reply. As for the claim that the owner "doesn't like Indians," consider the ambiguity and irony of an owner from India making that statement as well as the way that we Houstonians make fun of other Texans (does Dallas come to mind?). The biggest mistake when going to Khyber is being too serious about anything but the FOOD, which is always made with the best ingredients and served in a spotlessly clean setting.
Solid Indian Cooking with a Track Record.
Despite what you read elsewhere, this is solid North Indian cooking with a track record. Mickey Kapoor was among the group that introduced the curried arts to Houston starting at the Taj Mahal Restaurant back in the early 70s. He opened Khyber over 20 years ago, specializing in North Indian and Pakistani influenced foods, and has been delivering consistent quality at the same location for all these years.
My favories here are the mixed grill (shrimp, beef, lamb, etc.), the masalas, and a sag paneer (spinach with cheese) that is better than any that I've found in all my travels from Europe to the West Coast. Friends of mine who grew up in North India always appreciate the food here, as do well-respected (professional) food critics who known Houston's restaurant scene. I've tried taking friends and family to some of Houston's many other excellent Indian restaurants, but this is the one that seems to keep drawing them back.
One thing you have to understand about the staff here, they are eccentric in a way that can be charning to some, while rubbing others the wrong way. These guys would fit seamlessly in a place like New York or London, but their flippant nonchalance tends to raise hackles in the average Houstonian, judging by some of the other posts I've read here. If you don't appreciate dry humor, curmudgeons, or aimless wise-cracking (as witnessed by their "in joke" signs), try to concentrate on the food and take the rest in stride. I've never found the service slow here -- it is adequate to good -- but don't be offended if staff does not KYA or grovel at your every command.
In a city like Houston, which has few things going for it other than its large selection of world-class restaurants, Khyber Grill can hold its own with the best. I too would like to be Mickey's pal -- at a distance, he seems like a funny guy to me -- but I'll settle for the food any day.
Food is not bad, but the staff is WEIRD!. I think the food is pretty good although a little dry for curry in my opinion. However, the guys who work here are odd balls. I went with a friend and the waiter was asking me and my friend where we live, work, and for our phone numbers!!!!!! WHAT!?! CHECK PLEASE!!!!! & NO TIP 4 YOU!
Great all around Indian Food. The quality ingredients that Mickey uses are worth the lunch buffet. I eat lunch here four or five times a month because of the high quality of ingredients used to prepare the meals and over the years have inquired as to why his lemons are actually juicy and the chicken is really tasty not stringy. Mickey refuses to lower the quality of the ingredients to produce a cheap $7-8.50 buffet. His price is $15 and worth every penny. My husband likes the clear taste of the ice tea as well. The service is great and attentive even though its a buffet. Also, and this is very important, its one of the cleanest kitchens in Houston. I often get there late and I eat slow so I see the effort they go thru every day to clean up. In Houston restaurants this is a major factor for me.
Outrageous prices for inferior, tasteless food.
Was on a business trip in Houston, and as we enjoy indian food, we stopped at this restaurant for lunch buffet as it was close to work. Decorations were good, and that's all about this restaurant had to offer.
There was a total of 8 dishes on the main buffet. 4 vegetarian dishes, and 4 meat dishes; there was some salad and dessert. We sampled all dishes and none of them had any flavor that was close to indian food. Granted, I eat out at indian restaurants at least once a week, so I have a decent idea what good indian food is. Maybe if you never had indian food before you will believe this food is good, as it has some hotness to it, but the unique flavors of Indian food are nowhere to be found in any of the 8 dishes we tried. On the positive side, dessert was good.
Then we got the bill, and before taxes and tips, it was close to 15 dollars. I don't mind paying this amount of money for quality, tasty food, but to know that I have had tons of better indian food in more expensive cities, this definitely put the nail in the coffin. This restaurant is a complete disgrace and ripoff. If you want inferior, indian food, by no means, run to this place. If you know better about indian food, stay away.
bombay brasserie in rice village is better.
still crappy food for exorbitant prices and awful service. A friend of mine knows the owner and says he hates Indians coming to his restaurant because they complain and don't tip. How sad that he feels that way about his own people. I will tell all my Indian friends about this.
If you can't afford Kiran's or Indika's, but live inside the loop, try Bombay Brasserie, its pretty good and their buffet (11.99) is more than decent. It's a lot closer than Hillcroft (little india) where better Indian food exists.
LET THE BUYER BEWARE!! CAVEAT EMPTOR !. I have had mixed experiences with this restaurant but today was the last straw. Basically let us just say that if you are a friend of Mickey Kapoor you are treated like royalty, but if you are just an ordinary diner the service is GHASTLY!!! We came into this establishment within the time period stated on the hours for lunch. However, it was rather obvious that we were going to be rushed through our lunch so that the waiters could start clearing up the luncheon buffet. No sooner had i eaten my meager portions of food than the waiter was all over us trying to railroad us out of there. I would have liked to perhaps get a few more items but there was no chance of that. I find this buffet to be rather boring , the menu NEVER CHANGES and the selection is not a good representation of Indian food compared to what I have had elsewhere. The vegetable selection particularly is rather lacking in imagination and variety. This restaurant basically is remaining in business primarily due to its convenient inner loop location rather than the dining experience. I have always found the waitstaff to be unfriendly verging on downright rude. The prices are outrageous for what is provided and I am tired of being overcharged simply because a business owner thinks he can get away with it based on the neighborhood. I think I will entertain myself with the owner's amusing comments on his billboard from now on and save my money for a better meal elsewhere!! Very disappointing indeed!
Would have given no stars if possible..
Uck. Horrendous service, nasty manager, blah food.
I came despite the bad reviews (and agree with a previous reviewer that the good reviews here are total BS written by Khyber-related parties) 'cause back in the day, 5-6 years ago when I used to frequent this restaurant, it was actually somewhere worth eating.
Don't make the same mistake I did.
I won't go into the myriad ways my party's visit to Khyber ROYALLY SUCKED, but I urge you to take my word for it:
Eat somewhere else. Eat anywhere else.
Stay home and eat saltines - you'll have a better meal.
Make sure you click to the next page to read the more reviews. They're not good, and there's a reason. There are a bunch of reasons, actually.
To be avoided. Weak-flavored food served off temperature by surly, rude and inattentive wait staff for prices that are not at all reasonable. Table and paper menus were dirty. Waiter was largely absent and when present was rude. Attitude only improved when check was presented and it was obvious that tip-tallying was soon to begin. There are many far better Indian restaurants in Houston. This one does not deserve any business and should be put out of its misery so a new place with more competent management and employees can move into the space.
PHENOMENAL FOOD!!! Buffet is great; menu is great; Mickey is great!. We have been going here for about 10 years. Delicious chicken masala. Wonderful vindaloo. Tasty lentils and potatoes. The naan is to die for (but don't--you'll miss the INCREDIBLE rice pudding!). And then, there is Mickey, the owner. Funny, serious, politically savvy and always interesting to talk to. He, along with the other professional staff who have been with him for years make this a fabulous example of northern Indian cuisine and a great place to enjoy a meal. Touche!
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