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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven
Food
Feel
Price
8.0
7.0
$40
Indian
Upmarket restaurant

Hours
Mon–Thu 11:30am–2:30pm
Mon–Thu 5:00pm–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:30am–2:30pm
Fri–Sat 5:00pm–10:30pm
Sun noon–3:00pm
Sun 5:00pm–10:00pm

Features Date-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.zaroka.com

Upper Chapel Area
148 York St.
New Haven, CT
(203) 776-8644
Zaroka
Still stately to look at, and the Indian food’s still good, if not the revelation it once was

This multi-leveled, Gaudi-ish townhouse on York Street ruled the Indian Buffet Lunch roost until Thali and Thali Too came along. It still remains a fine option for meat eaters looking for steam trays full of Indian-American classics. Every day, most of the offerings change, and we’re thrilled on the day when both the buttery chicken tikka masala and the gulab jamun are on display—both white-bread Indian, yes, but both highly competent interpretations.

But the novel dishes are where the place truly shines, and this won’t happen in the buffet. Lamb achari comes in pickle gravy, shrimp malabar is served with coconut. Goan fish masala features tamarind and coconut along with tomato and onion, and dahi wada, one of the many vegetarian delights, is a dish of lentil doughnuts in yogurt sauce served with a vegetable and lentil broth. Stay away from the frightening, bright orange Zaroka Delight dessert, however; it’s a disgusting, whipped mix of yogurt and mango that tastes like marshmallow fluff gone horribly wrong.

The waitstaff here is really kind, really friendly, and remembers you if you come in regularly. Zaroka’s two-floored structure is strange but amusing. You’re not quite sure, upon first entering the restaurant, whether to go up or down. Upstairs, you might feel as if you’re an abdicated Indian prince (really—it’s a silver throne you’re sitting in), sailing through the India section of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride. Or you might discover the more practical applications of the ornate décor—little diamond chips of mirror embedded in the walls provide a delightfully faithful (though miniature) reflection of tables and diners across the room.

Still, Zaroka’s hegemony ended when the brothers Thali arrived. When it comes to the title of best Indian in downtown New Haven, Zaroka’s been removed from its own throne.

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