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Restaurant Review - Zaroka Bar And Restaurant In Connecticut

Ranjani Saigal

Zaroka  - http://www.zarokarestaurant.com/
148 York Street New Haven, CT 06511

We were driving around Yale Campus searching for something to eat when we chanced upon what seemed like a little Indian Bistro called Zaroka.  While the name intrigued us and the understated front appearance did not prepare us for the wonderful ambience and the great dining experience we had at Zaroka.

The restaurant is very tastefully decorated with great attention paid to details. Plaster work with small round shiny pieces made for a very classy look. “Zaroka means a lookout and we have used that as a theme as we decorated this place” says Shaku Patel the co-owner of the restaurant. “I love art and did most of the art work by myself including the plaster work on the walls.” There were many spots on the wall that imitated a Rajasthani palace window.
We were seated on lovely Gadha-seats that combined the comfort of a modern sofa with a wonderful back-home feel. The restaurant features a full bar with wonderful drinks including Raja-Rani Lassi (Rum added to Mango Lassi), Mumbaitini, Goan Sunrise, Delhi Delight, Mango Daiquiri and Jaipur Breeze.  “Jaipur Breeze and Delhi Delight are very popular with our customers” says Ram Shresta a teacher turned restaurant owner originally from Nepal.

The menu features many traditional items like Samosa, Pakora, Kababs, Malai Kofta, Chicken Vindaloo, Lamb Curry etc and some unusual items.  We asked Shresta for suggestions to satisfy the Vegetarian and the Non-Vegetarians in the group. “I would recommend the vegetarian Kabab and the Zaroka Kabab (a version of Chicken Malai Kabab)” said Shresta. The kababs were brought on hot sizzling plates and they were quite a treat. We had never had such good kababs.  “Our chef Dipak Gauchal is very creative and has perfected these recipes”

For the main meal the suggestion was to try Mussel Curry. We had never eaten Mussel at an Indian restaurant and the seafood lovers in the group were rather skeptical. After trying the dish though they were thoroughly impressed with the taste which while being very Indian brought forth a wonderful sea food experience.

For the vegetarians the suggestions was to try Dal, Green beans and Paneer. As we looked rather unimpressed with the simplicity of the fare suggested Shershta reassured us that we would not be disappointed. And boy was he right! The recipes were very creative and the cut, flavor and the spices came together beautifully in all dishes to present a non-greasy but tasty meal. Often in Indian restaurants one gets overwhelmed with the amount of grease used in the dishes.  The main course came with a wonderful assortment of Nans , all of which were light and very flavorful.“We work hard to buy good ingredients. It is the quality of the beans that allows us to make such wonderful dish out of green beans” said Shrestha.

 In addition to the standard Indian dessert menu with Gulab Jaman, Gajjar Halwa, Rasmalai, Kulfi etc they had a wonderful Zaroka delight which was Shrikand with an interesting twist. “I love to experiment with desserts” says Shaku Patel who created the wonderful concoction.

“We also cater big and small events. We work with our customers to provide items that are unique while fitting within the budget. We just catered a picnic event where we served everything from Dosa to Pav Bhaji,” said Shrestha.
“We believe in the dictum – Athithi Devo Bhava – guest is an incarnation of God” says Shakhu Patel. The hospitality shown by Patel and Shrestha certainly held up to that promise.   If it is true that all good things are found by chance, Zaroka was certainly one of them. If you are in the Connecticut area do try it out!

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