Mahesh Puranik aspired to attend a cooking school in Paris and one day returned home to Sugar Land to open a restaurant with his sister Shubhangi Musale. But his dream never came true as Puranik tragically passed away shortly before moving abroad. As a tribute, Shubhangi and her husband Neelesh opened a new Indian restaurant called Mahesh’s Kitchen in the town square of Sugar Land to honor his brother’s name, memory, and the longtime goal of the siblings.
âGrowing up, my younger brother Mahesh and I always dreamed of opening a restaurant together,â says Shubhangi Musale. PaperCity. âThanks to this project, we keep that wish and its spirit alive. And just like he made everyone around him feel special, our goal is to pass that same warmth on to our staff and guests. “
These first generation Americans bring to the table the flavors of their ancestral country, India. Regions from North to South, from East to West. Traditional and original fusion dishes are created by Shubhangi and executed by chef Thomas Nguyen in the sparkling show kitchen at Mahesh’s Kitchen. The chic and modern decor of the dining room is flooded with warm woods, upholstery in ivory tones punctuated with saffron-colored accents. It presents an altar to Lord Ganesh, the early elephant-headed god made in brass. On the fourth day of the new moon, offerings are placed before him.
Much of the interior elements of the new Sugar Land restaurant were imported from India, including all the spices (masala). Over 300 pounds, in fact, are freshly ground, mixed, and replenished for cooking every three months by Neelesh Muscale’s dedicated aunt.
Your first taste of Mahesh cuisine
Open for dinner daily, Mahesh’s Kitchen offers indoor (85 seats) and outdoor dining on a patio. The menu is wide with vegetarian and non-vegetarian selections and even includes a range of fusion dishes that blend ingredients from India with those found here in Texas like habanero, salmon, rosemary, and quinoa.
A full bar and a modified wine list are available. Signature cocktails include a saffron spritzer, a blend of saffron infused gin with blood orange juice, rose infused Aperol and sparkling wine topped with edible marigold petals ($ 12) and a margarita in tamarind created with a tincture of cumin tequila tossed with tamarind and triple sec chutney ($ 11.50).
I started my meal on a recent visit with a playful take on chaat, the popular street food all over India. Avocado bhel is a dish typically made with crispy puffed rice and mixed with a spicy sweet and sour tamarind chutney. But at Mahesh’s Kitchen, a freshly mashed avocado replaces the puffed rice, and as tradition has it, the dish is topped with gram flour fried to resemble noodles ($ 12).
It’s like a sweet and comforting nursery food that you can eat with a spoon to calm the heat of other dishes, like the whole pomfret fish appetizer, a central Indian seafood dish rubbed with a garam masala, ginger, chili, and masala gunpowder ($ 17).
Don’t miss another popular street food, Pani puri ($ 10). Shubhangi’s recipe consists of bite-sized deep fried flat breads filled with spicy peas, potatoes, mint and chutney, topped with a flavored water mixture called imli pani. Shubhangi insists that you pour each round to the brim with the liquid mixture and put it in your mouth. It lets the subtle flavors of the dish explode.
I loved the vegetarian mirch baigan ka salan, a traditional peanut and coconut curry. Here, sautÃ©ed eggplants replace the peppers usually found in this dish ($ 14). Chicken chattinad, popular in South India, is a tangy stew with hot madras spices and black pepper ($ 23) paired with spicy jeera rice with whole cumin and sliced ââonion helps bring down the heat ($ 5).
Breads perfect for soaking up sauces include the garlic naan ($ 5), a delicate pancake-like appam ($ 7), and my favorite, the buttery Malbari lachha paratha ($ 5). Dessert brings soul-satisfying shahi tukra, slices of ghee fried bread dipped in a mixture of milk, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk heated until just starting to caramelize ($ 10). And to cleanse the palate, Shubhangi suggests that your last bite should be in a dumpling called mo’dak.
This closest is a green orb made from a paste scented with a fresh beet leaf, surrounding a mixture of caramelized fennel, pistachios, and rose petals before being rolled into grated coconut flakes ( $ 7). Delicious.
Mahesh’s Kitchen is open seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. It is located at 16019 City Walk, Sugar Land Town Center. 281.937.7796.