Friendly staff, great prices and delicious eats makes Star of India a great lunch stop
Star of India restaurant has been in business since 1993 — almost for as long as I’ve been alive. It takes a special restaurant to not only stay in business for more than 20 years, but to remain a lucrative and delicious eating establishment.
It’s difficult to know where to begin talking about Star of India. Each time I recommend Star of India to somebody, I begin convincing them with a different aspect of the restaurant: the incredible wait staff, the friendly greetings the moment you walk in the door, the atmosphere and last, but not least, the food. Oh, the food.
I’m going to begin my review not with food, but with the staff, because I’ve never dined anywhere with a staff quite like Star of India. The owners of Star of India wait tables, fill glasses with ice water, and deliver hot, fresh naan bread to tables, all after a genuine welcome to the restaurant. They are attentive, warm and charming. After you’ve paid your bill, you’re not told “Hope you’ll come back again,” but rather, “See you tomorrow,” because they’re so sure you’ll be coming back.
Star of India has a devout clientele, perhaps in some part, due to the confidant personalities emanating from within.
In fact, during my interview with one of the co-owners, a long-time returning customer arrived to make a reservation for a large party. The owners greet returning diners by name, recognize families, and even notice when someone is missing from their family.
Mauve walls with green archways, vibrant tapestries and bright lights create a colorful atmosphere. Think of a color, any color, and you’d be hard pressed not to find it in Star of India. Indian music plays while you eat and you very well may leave the restaurant smelling like Indian food. But, walking around for the rest of your day smelling like the incredible meal you just ate, is a small price to pay.
Now, to the fun stuff – the food. Star of India offers a lunch buffet, dinner buffet, and a la carte options. The lunch buffet is only $8 dollars and the dinner buffet is $10. Star of India offers a 15% student discount with a valid student ID. It’s hard to beat a high quality, delicious buffet for that price. One of the great things about Star of India is that they are vegetarian-friendly, though they serve a variety of meats. What’s more impressive is that all of the meat they serve on their halal.
The size of the buffet isn’t excessively large and overwhelming like some Chinese buffets tend to be. It’s modest and there’s something for everybody. There’s fresh vegetable salads: an incredible spinach salad, dressed with a yogurt-based dressing and chopped mushrooms and a warm vegetable stir fry, called the vegetable tama. The vegetable tama comes with potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and Indian spices. When you work your way down the buffet a little further, you’ll find rice which can be topped with an assortment of curry-type dishes. As you get a helping of rice, do yourself a favor and grab the samosa: deep fried patties filled with potatoes. Anything deep fried and stuffed with potatoes is with a try.
After you’ve arrived at the savory, colorful curries, you’ll realize that your plate is full and there’s no room for them. You’ll seat yourself at the table, finish your first plate, and walk back up to the buffet very enthusiastically and encounter a lot of decisions to make: what to eat next?
If you’re a fan of spicy things, the Chicken ’65 is for you. The spice and flavor stays on your tongue, making your nose sniffle and your forehead perspire. The one-the-bone tandoori chicken is hard-to-miss because it’s so bright red. It’s tender and juicy and has a nice, mild spice. Their most popular dish, the chicken tikka masala is tender, orange, and has a warm flavor. One of their vegetarian-friendly dishes, the aloo matter, has chunks of potatoes and peas both swimming in a thick sauce of Indian spices.
After all of the intense flavors your just ate, you may want to balance your palate with some dessert or a drink. You have two equally tempting dessert options at Star of India: kheer and gulab jamun. The kheer is like a rice pudding. The rice is small, soft, and sweet. The gulab jamun are pastry balls soaked in a honey syrup, the epitomy of saccharine and sugar. If you’re feeling thirsty and at least 21 years old, Star of India serves Indian beers. For minors, they offer chai tea and a fresh mango beverage.
Star of India is a welcomed change of pace from your typical soup and sandwich weekday lunches. If you’ve never eaten Indian food, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and honor Star of India with your first Indian food feast. Don’t be surprised if they turn you into one of their ever-growing returning patrons.