My waiter was from Chennai, so I confidently asked him to suggest dishes that represented the food from the city in southern India. I told him I was adventurous and wanted to eat something I’d never tried in Dallas. Instead of educating me on the specialties spread all over the ambitious menu, he rattled off chicken tikka masala, samosas, and tandoori chicken. My dining companion texted a friend from Chennai, and we ordered his favorites. When I blurted out, “Thalapakattu-style mutton biryani, please,” the waiter shook his head. “You won’t like that.” We showed him. We ate the entire serving of rice covered with a stew of baby goat, eggplant, lentils, and potatoes. And we scraped a plate of butter chicken clean. There are so many choices here, it’s advantageous to gather a group of friends and sample from a long list of dosas—huge rice-flour crepes filled with tasty mixtures of meats and vegetables—and unique rice dishes. Better yet, visit on weekends when they offer Thali meals. Pick vegetarian or non, and you’ll receive a round silver platter filled with a selection of dishes, each with a different flavor profile, along with rice and a dessert.

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