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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven
Casual restaurant

Daily 11:30am–10:00pm

Features Delivery, kid-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC
Reservations Not accepted

157 Boston Post Rd.
Orange, CT
(203) 799-8162
Star of India
Unusually tasty South Indian in an unusually random strip mall—it’s called diversity!

Here’s a real suburban find: just a shopping plaza away from Coromandel, Orange’s much-heralded Captain Cool of Indian restaurants, lies this impossibly humble hole-in-the-wall that, believe it or not, is actually serving better food than its neighbor. Its location, in a strip mall in the middle of nowhere, couldn’t be more random. Then again, it’s in these types of inconspicuous places that you usually find the most authentic, most delicious ethnic joints.

Inside, the walls are lined with mirrors that reflect the twinkling Christmas lights that are strung about, and soothing Indian music is usually playing. The walls are painted that bright tenement yellow that isn’t such a rare sight in a dive. There’s cheap wainscoting on the walls, which makes the tablecloths seem comically out of place.

But the staff is friendly, and it only gets better when you discover that there’s a short, sweet secret South Indian menu, for which you have to ask (nicely). This brand of cuisine is hard to find around New Haven, but once you get your hands on this special menu, Star of India turns into your vegetarian sugar daddy. An order of idly consists of three delicious steamed rice and lentil patties. Bangalore vegetable comes with a healthy dose of coconut, but the advertised “red chili” is undetectable, making it more of a sweet and aromatic dish than a nicely balanced one. The classic masala dosa (rice-flour crêpe stuffed with potato curry) is excellent, and fish or shrimp moilee (yogurt, cashew sauce, coconut, and curry leaves) is a strong option if you’re craving a non-veg protein.

Even for those that shun the South, Star of India executes well on all the staples we’re all used to seeing everywhere. Chicken tikka masala comes with unusual tender meat; the dish is fragrant and well spiced. Tandoori chicken is moist. (The kitchen’s talent with poultry speaks to their overall skill level—which, clearly, is high.) Dal makhani (dark dal) is a bit too mushy and is wimpy with spices, but it’s not bad. And naan is a true standout, hot, flaky, and gently brushed with oil. It’s easily the best in the area.

Who would have thought that this little storefront would justify a trip to Orange from just about anywhere in greater New Haven?

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