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Aug 8, 2008 09:40 PM

Review: Darbar, Branford, CT

I think I still smell like curry powder....

I took my wife out to Darbar this evening to try Indian food for the first time. This place was a real let-down. We were led to our table the moment we walked in and given ample time to look over the menu. Not knowing what to get, my wife and I decided to split an appetizer of various vegetarian fried foods. It was like eating fair food--not much different. The seasoning was bland. I was expecting a fiery jolt.

For our entree, my wife ordered the chicken patia, I the Darbar grill, and an order of garlic Naan bread.

My wife's dish was considerably better than mine. It came out in a stainless steel bowl and ladle and was kind of like a chicken and gravy dish. She enjoyed it, but I think a similar result could be achieved by going to your local Boston Market, chopping up some roast chicken and smothering it with gravy then dumping in some curry powder.

My dish consisted of various meats roasted in the Tandoor oven. I don't know if this place is a good representation of Tandoor cooking, but all the meats I had (lamb, shrimp and chicken) were DRY AS SAWDUST. I gave my wife a piece of the chicken and she said the same. A real disappointment. The dish was also topped with various raw vegetables (which I did not see in the description of the dish on the menu), which included cucumber, green pepper, onion and tomato. Hence, the entree was just grilled meat with a salad on top of it with nothing to dress it up with. B O R I N G.

I might add that the waiter did not return to the table to ask us how our meal was or if I needed something else to drink, which I desperately needed to wash down my sawdust chicken.

The Naan bread was the best part of the meal.

I hope there is better Indian cuisine out there than this place. I will not return.

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  1. If you want to see the true potential of Indian cuisine, I strongly recommend you take a short trip to Thali in New Haven (Orange St near the corner of George St., right off the Rt 34 connector). It will open your eyes.

    1. Oh, that's very sad, I had fond memories of that place and its chicken tikka masala (used to serve in a copper bowl?), as well as the weekend buffet. I have had Indian food in many cities and most of E 6th St in NYC and Darbar had been my favorite, has been a while, so it sounds like something must have changed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hollerhither

        Wait, wait, wait. Nothing's changed. Darbar is still excellent, even in comparison to the NYC places. Their chicken tikka masala is still among the best in the area (I know, I know--this is technically not indian food). I haven't tried Thali yet, but Coromandel in Orange is the only place I know in CT that's better than Darbar. Stormshadow, if you go back, try the Chicken Tikka Masala and make sure to order it at least "medium".

        1. re: cruising_for_burgers

          I'll second that. We've been eating a Darbar for about 15 years, and it's ben consistently excellent (and has absolutely the best Mulligatawny soup I've ever eaten anywhere).

          And not to sound critical, it seems pretty clear to me that the original poster isn't at all familiar with Indian food, so I'd not take his judgment too seriously, and I hope other people don't - especially given that this is the ONLY negative review of Darbar that I've ever seen.


          1. re: Redstone

            I hear you. I need to get back down there again and can judge for myself...frighteningly enough the servers (who were always great) used to recognize me and my friend when we came in, but it's been a few years since moving out of Branford and I've only been down a couple of times since. Very sad as there is nothing comparable in W. Mass.

      2. I was there last night (I go every 6 weeks or so) and had a delish meal as usual.
        Lamb Rogan Josh, Muglai Murgh, veg Pakora & Mango lassi.

        I'm used to NYC Indian and Darbar is comparable, however it's not cutting edge or fusion cooking.

        1. I may not be familiar with Indian food, but I am familiar with good food, and believe me, this isn't it. I've had better chicken in many other places. Again--sawdust. I won't be going back. I may try Indian elsewhere, but I'm all done w/this place.

          And the service was less than good as well.

          and if you like Darbar, don't take it as an offense against yourself.

          2 Replies
          1. re: stormshadow

            Well, then, you may want to try the Indian restaurant in Old Saybrook if you get out this way...I forget the name, but it's on Route 1 right across from Dairy Queen.

            It used to be pretty bad, but was recently bought out by new owners, and when Mrs R and I went there for lunch, it was every bit as good as it used to be bad.

            Second best Mulligatawny I've had, after Darbar, and I especially recommend the lamb sikh kebab. You will NOT find that to be dry, if they make it the way they did when I was there. Mrs R found their curry to excellent, and she grew up on curry.