House of Naan Opens In New Haven: Indian Fare with a Twist

Ramin Ganeshram

Featuring classic Indian favorites and South Asian twists on international flavor explorations, House of Naan in New Haven can best be described as hipster Indian fare (in a good way) in a fresh, modern setting replete with vibey alternative and chill tunes, some with an eastern fusion.

The eatery opened eight months ago and is the first restaurant for chef Harinder Singh, who learned his craft at Sitar, a beloved traditional Indian restaurant owned by his family in New Haven for the last twelve years.

Unlike Sitar, which features a classic feel and a menu of tried and true Indian restaurant favorites, House of Naan is Indian food with an avant-garde flare. From the décor to the dishes to the mixologist-designed cocktails, this restaurant offers a fresh modern take on the traditional theme.

The interior of the restaurant is bright and minimalist, yet inviting for Sip N Savor hour—what House of Naan calls its cocktail hour (or simply dining on small plates and drinks). Cocktails such as The Rajput Sword and, designed by Roger Gross, take a riff on an Indian theme and include infused syrups, Indian liquors and spices.  A nice variety of Indian beers, whiskies and rum round out the drinks menu that also includes standard American fare like local beer and New World wine. For those interested in an unusual quaff without the spike, the Indian Lemonade which features Black Salt and the Rose Lemonade and Rose Lassi will be sure to please.

While there are favorites like Chicken tikka masala (above) and korma on House of Naan’s menu, the focus lies in the small plates that are also a culinary exploration that marries the nibble sized portion with bold spice blends and flavors. The Tikka Fries — an unusual version of Montreal’s famous poutine (French fries, gravy, and cheese curds) — features crisp French fries, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese and topped with creamy, tomato-based tikka masala sauce and grilled chicken. Although the combination may sound strange, the dish was surprisingly tasty.

Another lovely small plate was the elegantly simple Masala Fries — French fries sprinkled with house-made “chaat masala” a variety of spices that, in India, can be used on everything from fried snacks to sweet to hard boiled eggs.

Like the chat masala, all the spices at House of Naan are imported whole from Indian, toasted, ground, and mixed onsite; the difference is clearly apparent in the taste it adds to the food. In another nod to freshness, items like the fried dough crisps in the “papri chat” a popular street food turned appetizer, are also made on site — unusual for most Indian restaurants, many of whom purchase the already prepared snack.

Because it is centrally located on New Haven’s Howe Street, House of Naan is a good choice for a pre- or post-event dinner or for a repast of small plates and drinks. The eatery will be soon introducing Friday wings special (with an Indian flare of course) and Naanaco Tuesdays, with naan as the base for hand-held taco-like bites. The lunch special is a particularly good choice, high on value as well as variety. Craving an American classic with some pizzazz? The House of Naan twist is for you—a lamb burger with Tikka Fries

And, since it’s right in the name a special mention must be given to the naan. This fluffy griddle bread is made hot to order and comes in a variety of traditional flavors from plain to garlic to the unusual and aromatic Rosemary Naan. The Sweet Naan — stuffed with raisins and coconut is a particular dessert-like treat to round out your meal.

[Photos by JP Vellotti]

House Of Naan  65 Howe St, New Haven (203) 562-6226