Don't let the location of Mom's Spice fool you. Yes, it's part of a small grocery and gas station in Hurst, but behind those gas pumps and just past a slot machine in the corner is a tiny, authentic Indian kitchen that's serving up some seriously spicy dishes.
As a bonus, everything at Mom's Spice is ridiculously inexpensive, with a buffet available from Monday to Friday (11a.m.-3 p.m., $6.99).
The chicken biryani ($4.59), their most popular dish, for example, nets you a whole to-go container of rice. It's the equivalent of Chinese fried rice, and includes various herbs and spices, like cilantro and the very fragrant cardamom (part of the ginger family), which gives the rice its intense flavor.
One order of the biryani can easily feed more than two people, and there are other options, like beef ($5.99), goat ($7.99) and vegetable ($4.59) biryani. All but the vegetbale include meat on the bone, prepared halal (a term to designate food deemed permissible according to Islamic sharia law).
For bite-sized options, try the crispy samosas (99 cents), which are hand-held pastries filled with chicken, beef or potatoes. They're all savory, but the potato samosa, with its special blend of curry, cumin and ginger, stood out.
The place does actually serve one neutral dish, the daal ($2.99), a bright-yellow lentil stew. It's not spicy, and it's definitely not as seasoned as the samosas, but with a texture and warmth similar to oatmeal, it makes a good palate cleanser in between spicy bites from other dishes. It also goes well with the doughy naan bread (99 cents).
The tandoori chicken ($2.49) is another customer favorite -- peppery with a charbroiled flavor and meat still on the bone.
The beef curry ($6.99) is by far the hottest of the dishes, and it's extremely rich, robust and aromatic. For what you get, it's the best value, and if you can manage to finish a whole cup on your own, you'll easily impress the restaurant's owner, Mohammod Adnan.
I think at one point my eyes were twitching from all the spice.
When asked about the spiciness of each dish, Adnan, from Bangladesh, simply said, "That's how we make it in India." So, he keeps it real -- real spicy.
Almost on our way out, Adnan recommended a sami kebab (99 cents), which looks like a crab cake stuffed with soft beef seasoned with black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic, green chiles and onions. Predictably, it was delicious and spicy, and predictably, we took a box of 12 kebabs home.