Now that it’s getting cold outside, going out can often be less attractive.  One of our favorite things to do on a cold Friday night is to get take-out.  More often than not, that means one thing….Indian food!  Now I know some people are a bit gun shy when it comes to Indian.  It can be the heat, or just unfamiliar flavors.  Granted, it can be a bit intimidating when ordering Indian or any cuisine you are not used to eating.

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Watermelon mojito

Recently, I had the opportunity to dine in and experience Aladin Indian Bistro in Norwalk.  The atmosphere is gorgeous should you decide to dine in, complete with a hip, modern looking bar.  The chef, Kausik Roy, at Aladin has been around the Fairfield County restaurant scene, having opened Coromandel in Darien and Tawa in Stamford.  Aladin brings a great updated vibe to the traditional Indian restaurant.  Chef Roy’s vision for this new venture is to provide more healthful, fresh and organic Indian fare.  He certainly succeeds in bringing together classic Indian together with new innovative dishes that showcase his creativity.

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Chef’s special – Spiced Seabass Pakoda

We had the pleasure of getting to try a large sampling of Chef Roy’s offerings.  We had some of the classic Indian standby plates as well as some of his unique specialties.  Our favorites were the things that I have never seen before at an Indian restaurant.  The spicy seabass pakoda (seabass fritters) were amazing.  They had great flavor, spice and were very light.  The other totally different dish that was a pleasant surprise was the Karari Bhindi, crispy okra with red onion, cilantro and green chili.  They were beautifully tender and crunchy.  The herbs greatly complemented the okra nicely.

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Artichoke Scallion Pakoda

On the more traditional side, the kebabs were perfectly marinated and fell apart in your mouth. The Rogan Josh with the goat was well balanced and had a great sauce.  One bit of caution, though, be careful of the bones.   The Signature Lamb Dampak also was a favorite of the group, bringing all of the layers and complexity we’ve come to expect from a great Indian dish.

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A sampling of kebabs – Tandoori Chicken, Kashmiri Chicken Tikka, and Chicken Mint-Basil

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Rogan Josh with Goat

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Karari Bhindi – Crispy okra with red onion, cilantro, and green chili

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Signature Lamb Dampak – Tender lamb cubes in a sealed copper vessel

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Bengali Fish Curry

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Paneer Saag – Spinach greens with onions, mildly spiced and flavored with Fenugreek

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Duck Chettinad – Tandoor grilled Masala crusted duck breast

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Dessert – Indian style rice pudding

All things considered, there were many things we thoroughly enjoyed and a few things that need a bit of improvement.  We certainly believe that given, Chef Roy’s experience opening some of the best Indian restaurants around, those items will get sorted out.

Aladin is a great spot for dining in and taking in some great food and some interesting ambiance.  We will be returning there soon both to dine in and take out!

Aladin Indian Bistro

Website: http://www.aladinindianbistro.com/

Address:  36 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850

Phone: (203) 939-9040

Price: $$$

Do they take reservations?  Yes

Attire? Casual

Vibe?  Modern, Chic

Hours:

Lunch: 11:30 AM – 3 PM, Dinner: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM (weekdays) 5:30 PM – Midnight (Weekends), Happy Hour: 5 PM – 7 PM, Sunday afternoon Brunch

Parking: Parking in rear of restaurant

-Jeff