Although Dhirender Sharma, owner of Rangoli Fine Indian Cuisine, knows his food is good, he insists on letting his customers do the talking for him. All it takes is one visit to see how authentically the food is prepared, and there is a good chance they will be back again, he said.

"Any restaurant owner can tell you how good his food is," Sharma said. "We believe most in the [diners'] reactions and reviews."

For Alexander and Brenda Paull, two of Rangoli's regular patrons who have tried Indian food at restaurants around the country, Rangoli is as good as anything out there.

"From Canada to Texas, they have the best butter chicken in North America," Alexander said. "It's the food, the service and the overall friendliness of the staff."

Sharma opened the restaurant in May 2013. A hands-on owner, Sharma is in the shop every day, running things with help from his wife, Renu, and head chef Prem Singh.

Between them, Sharma and Singh have decades of experience in restaurants around the world. Sharma previously worked in the kitchens of the Taj hotels in India, Crowne Plaza in Dubai and Tandoor in New York City. Singh started his career in the Sheraton hotels in India, spent time at New York City's famous Dawat off 5th Avenue, at Sam Rasoi in Chicago and at Bombay Palace in Houston before joining Sharma to open Rangoli.

The menu includes special categories for vegetarian dishes as well as Tandoori specialties for dishes made from charcoal or wood fire. Desserts include shahi kheer, a rice pudding, and kulfi, a traditional Indian ice cream.

The restaurant is broken up into a dining area and a private party room that seats 50. Catering is also available.

All food is cooked fresh daily by the kitchen team. The Naan is made with fresh dough every morning, and the barbecue red chicken is cooked in a charcoal fire clay oven with a blend of sauces and spices until it reaches a perfect level of tenderness, Sharma said.

"Our chefs are trained in traditional Indian styles and for them, cooking is an art form," he said. "Making good food is something we are all very passionate about here."

Owner recommendations

Bollywood Popper—Anaheim pepper stuffed with shrimp and served with Goan coconut sauce ($7.99)

Tandoori Aloo—potatoes stuffed with classic Indian spices, cottage cheese and coriander ($10.99)

Lamb Shank Korma—New Zealand lamb shank simmered in an aromatic korma sauce, served with saffron pulao and seasonal vegetables ($16.99)

Kachumbar—a salad of finely diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, bell peppers and mixed greens tossed in herbs and vinegar dressing ($3.59)

Baigan Bharta—roasted, mashed brinjals and peas cooked with spicy tomatoes, garlic and onions ($9.99)

Art and decorations

The interior of Rangoli is decorated with artwork the owners brought in directly from India.

Paintings on the wall feature scenes from the Mughal Empire, including wedding ceremonies and portraits of queens embroidered with 22-carat gold.

Walls in the main dining area are also decorated with hand fans reminiscent of the Punjabi people and festival dancing sticks from the Patel community.

Lunch buffet

Rangoli operates as a normal restaurant during the evenings, but it turns into a buffet during its lunch hours (11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.), offering a wide variety of meats, curries and other dishes, along with Naan bread and rice.

Dishes include squash masala, the spinach-based palak paneer, goat curry, the roasted eggplant-based balgan bharta, butter chicken and tandoori chicken.

Authentic dishes

Indian cuisine encompasses a variety of styles found within different parts of the country depending on the different soil types and climates of each area.

In addition to displaying authentic Indian art, owner Dhirender Sharma, is dedicated to providing authentic food.

The eatery's curry, vegetarian and meat dish spices, herbs and vegetables are found in both northern and southern Indian cooking styles.

Rangoli Fine Indian Cuisine

10728 FM 1960 W.

Houston 713-834-5999

Hours: Tue.–Sun. 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., 5–10 p.m., Closed Monday