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Review of Kiran's in the Houston Press


FoodMan
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From today's Digest

Suburban Import

Josh Harkinson reviews Kiran’s Indian gourmet and Wine Bar, and writes a jumbled up report that includes an odd attack at Alison Cook!

I have several problems with Mr. Harkinson's review the least of which is his lack of coherence. He says towards the end that he actually likes Kiran, but I just ...don't believe him. the whole piece seemed like it was written by a person who is learning about Indian food as he writes. I know this is odd because apparently Mr. Harkinson's fiance is Indian.

Other comments that stood out to me:

Sure, we wouldn't pay $120 for a meal there if we lived in California or New York or London, but this is Houston, and we'll take what the suburbs can give us.

Ah-hah...so he likes the place but it is not worth the money, well not really. but we are in a dump of a town called Houston and we have no good restaurants, so it's ok for us. :wacko:

Then we have the Alison Cook reference:

Culture shock also appears to plague Allison Cook, the food writer for the Houston Chronicle, who in her recent, breathlessly Eurocentric review of Kiran's, says the place is unlike "workaday Indian restaurants" where, to Cook at least, "everything tastes rather like everything else." Having quickly dismissed the subcontinent's many millennia-old culinary legacy, she goes on to praise Kiran's wine selection as "civilized." This seems quaint when you consider that most South Asians believe drinking is barbaric.

Cook might have instead referenced civilization with an eye to Indian standards, addressing, for example, the tandoori chicken. It had a pleasant lemony tang and surprisingly decent heat, apparently having been marinated longer than the chicken we'd tried at Ashiana. But was it fresh? The outside lacked sizzle, crunch and, most important, thermal heat. It tasted almost as if it had been steamed.

What's up with that? I fail to see what anything Cook says has anything to do with this specific review. That was her opinion and claiming, more or less, that Cook does not know what she is talking about is kind of lame.

Here is Cook's review of Kiran's that Harkinson is refering too and IMO it is a much better article than his.

now, please tell me Robb Walsh will be back next week!

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I knew I was forgetting something:

The unconventional tandoori prawns were exactly al dente

al dente prawns?! I am not sure that term can be used for anything but pasta and risotto. I would hate to eat chewy, slightly "toothy" prawns.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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What's wierd about the Press review is that he mentions Alison Cook's review, which appeared in yesterday's paper, the same day The Press comes out. How could the Press reviewer have advance knowledge of what Ms. Cook had written when they both were published on Thursday?

FM

Frank in Austin

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What's wierd about  the Press review is that he mentions Alison Cook's review, which appeared in yesterday's paper, the same day The Press comes out. How could the Press reviewer have advance knowledge of what Ms. Cook had written when they both were published on Thursday?

FM

No Frank, the Cook review was published Dec 1st, last Thursday.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Please come back Robb!

For God's sake, YES! Please come back!

Words fail me. That is about the most bizarre review I have read in a long time. I have the feeling that the reviewer was playing one of those weird games where you throw together a lot of random words and try, with futility, to make some sense of whatever lands in your lap. What a mess. And in the course of the review, the esteemed reviewer manages to insult just about everyone in a 60 or more mile radius.

EDITOR!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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OK . . . I have gotten over my case of the vapors. I have sniffed my smellin' salts and gotten back on my feet.

I have also talked to some of my Indian friends. We all think that this guy is really not in touch. There is a lot of population here from India. Even down here in the Bay Area we have a large population, typically engineers but engineers that like to eat. We have a few restaurants that have been here for years with a large customer base of fellow Indians. Not only that, there are a lot of us "gringos" (what is the term for us white guys with the Indians? There is an affectionate one but I forget.) that have a lot of Indian friends and take their cue for restaurants, learn cooking from them, etc.

Trust me. Houston is not ignorant of Indian cuisine. A large contingent of the "oil bidness" goes a lot to Europe in general and the UK in particular and have learned to love Indian food. A lot of these folks also spend significant time in India. We are not a dumb market.

So . . . What is it that really ticks me off about this review?

I reacted negatively to the pale faced River Oaks reference but, quite frankly, most of those folks have probably actually dined in India more often than the reviewer. Besides that, every time I was in Bombay Palace, most of the clientelle was Indian. It was the favorite restaurant of a dear Indian friend who I respect in his assessment of Indian cuisine. (His wife is a fabulous cook.)

I guess that the main thing that ticks me off is that the reviewer seems to be particularly ignorant of his audience and disdainful of the true multi-culturalism that is a proud hallmark of this city. We are not a bunch of ignorant yahoos!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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What's wierd about  the Press review is that he mentions Alison Cook's review, which appeared in yesterday's paper, the same day The Press comes out. How could the Press reviewer have advance knowledge of what Ms. Cook had written when they both were published on Thursday?

FM

No Frank, the Cook review was published Dec 1st, last Thursday.

My bad. I just read it on Thursday.

Frank in Austin

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OK . . . I have gotten over my case of the vapors. I have sniffed my smellin' salts and gotten back on my feet.

I have also talked to some of my Indian friends. We all think that this guy is really not in touch. There is a lot of population here from India. Even down here in the Bay Area we have a large population, typically engineers but engineers that like to eat. We have a few restaurants that have been here for years with a large customer base of fellow Indians. Not only that, there are a lot of us "gringos" (what is the term for us white guys with the Indians? There is an affectionate one but I forget.) that have a lot of Indian friends and take their cue for restaurants, learn cooking from them, etc.

Trust me. Houston is not ignorant of Indian cuisine. A large contingent of the "oil bidness" goes a lot to Europe in general and the UK in particular and have learned to love Indian food. A lot of these folks also spend significant time in India. We are not a dumb market.

So . . . What is it that really ticks me off about this review?

I reacted negatively to the pale faced River Oaks reference but, quite frankly, most of those folks have probably actually dined in India more often than the reviewer. Besides that, every time I was in Bombay Palace, most of the clientelle was Indian. It was the favorite restaurant of a dear Indian friend who I respect in his assessment of Indian cuisine. (His wife is a fabulous cook.)

I guess that the main thing that ticks me off is that the reviewer seems to be particularly ignorant of his audience and disdainful of the true multi-culturalism that is a proud hallmark of this city. We are not a bunch of ignorant yahoos!

I totally agree Fifi, but the guy is supposedly engaged to an Indian. Isen't he?

Also the whole piece reeks of...don't know..."snobishness"! So what if someone does not know what a Biryani or a Dahl is. Is it a crime to ask? It's not like these pple went to Kiran and ordered a burger. Seriously, the more I think about this the more I wonder who this dude is and has he ever written a food piece before. My research yielded nothing so far.

Now excuse me, I need to cook an "al dente" steak with potatoes. Well at least he did not call it "Al dAnte" :raz: .

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I have concluded that he is just an idiot. I will take that conclusion to any subsequent reviews.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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