100 Favorite Dishes, No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai

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Catherine Downes
The vegetable biryani at Chennai
To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.

It's time for bonus dishes. Why pick one biryani when you can pick two and have twice the aromatic, fluffy, well-seasoned rice in your life?

Vegetarians rejoice. The vegetable byriani served at Chennai tastes nothing like a concession to your dietary restrictions. The cooks in the kitchen coax an almost unnatural amount of flavors out of mere vegetables and herbs. In fact, this is a byriani that could seduce the most devoted carnivores.

But if you still prefer pleasures of the flesh, the goat biryani served here coaxes so much flavor from an animal it's almost shocking. The rice is light and airy, but it tastes rich and earthy at the same time, likely because of a generous addition of young, very fatty goat meat. There's a lot of spices involved too, from chilies for a mild heat, to cinnamon and cardamon for depth and aromatics. There's a lot going on, but hours spent under slow heat gently coaxes everything together.

And because such things are customary, the goat biryani is served with a small dish of heady chicken curry. Drizzle a little over the rice before you dig in. No wonder biryani is typically reserved for special occasions.

Catherine Downes
Goat biryani

No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher
No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill
No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna
No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas
No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing
No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah
No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake
No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet
No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co.
No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me
No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen
No. 87: The White Album at Spoon
No. 86: Ramen at Tei An
No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco
No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu
No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon
No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata
No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue

Location Info

Chennai Cafe

5024 Tennyson Parkway, Plano, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Please consider the biryani at World Food Warehouse (13434 Floyd Cir, Dallas, TX 75243). If only for the incredibly affordable price.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Yum - plan to go when daughter is in town as family outing

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Made it last weekend with the family - well worth the trip.  If you like strong flavors and a good degree of heat this is the place.  Recommend the mutton dishes.

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