Indian Chic: House of Naan
by Leslie Singer
I’m so over the same-o, same-o Indian dining experience. Too often interiors are drab or dark, and so quiet everyone sort of whispers. So walking into the House of Naan was a breath of fresh taramind-laced air. This newbie on High Street, owned by Chef Harinder “Harry” Singh and mixologist Karandeep “Kay” Singh, has brought a contemporary spin to a traditional genre. It’s the little things that make a difference here: spices are ground in-house to optimize flavor, cocktails include flavors like cardamom, the interior design is sleek, and the music isn’t from the busboy’s Pandora station.
One of the features of the enticing menu allows you to pick your protein and sauce, served with rice and house-made Naan alongside. We chose three sauces; Vindaloo (tomatoes, chili vinegar and a touch of cinnamon), Jalfrezi (Ginger tomato sauce, bell peppers, and onions) and Madras (coconut curry with mustard seeds and herbs and spices). Curiously, they all looked identical but were very different, and it’s a great way to survey the menu. I ordered Raita on the side, a cucumber yogurt mixture, that traditionally cools down the hot Vindaloo (not so spicy here, however). The classic Samozas; pastry stuffed with potatoes, spiced with mustard seeds, curry leaf, cumin and ginger ($5.50) were light, and fresh and not overly fried.
If you’re into cocktails, the Howe Street Tea ($10) a heady mix of bulldog gin, Darjeeling tea syrup, orange bitters and lemon chickpea water is one example of Kay’s mastery.
Prices are reasonable: For $8, you can feast at lunch, and dinner for two can easily be under $40 – not including cocktails.
You can tell no one rolled out of bed and decided to play restaurant here. There is an earnestness to the place. It turns out Harry is no stranger to the business – his father has owned Sitar, a New Haven go-to for over 35 years and Harry always envisioned an au courant Indian dining experience – without pretension. He got it. And we are glad he did.
houseofnaan.com 65 Howe Street