Oakland Restaurant Challenge: Star Of India

Achievement: #4. Eat at 15 Oakland Restaurants

It’s no surprise to readers of this blog that we occasionally (or more than occasionally) have bad timing and fail to plan out events before attempting to partake in them.

That said, we decided well in advance that we would go to this restaurant we love on Craig Street called the Union Grill for our next Oakland restaurant. And we decided that we would do this on Saturday, because Friday night was the hockey game, and Sunday we were going to a concert, and besides, they have nice happy hour deals. However, we failed to think about the impact of said happy hour deals and that it’s one of the few restaurants you, as a college student, feel comfortable bringing your parents. Oh, and it was also Carnegie Mellon’s Carnival Weekend, so not only were the current students there, but basically every alum who was available and able to afford a plane ticket.

So… imagine me, spending all of Friday and Saturday getting excited for these salads that I do love so very much…

…and then showing up and finding out there was a lengthy wait for tables.

So, because we are such pros at compensating ideas on the fly, we had to come up with a backup plan.

Fortunately for us, this only involved turning around and looking across the street. There, just a jaywalk away, was a delightful little Indian restaurant we’d never tried before (sorry, this is North Oakland, and I, as we all know, am Dirty Souf 4 Lyfe).

Star of India is tucked in between a Subway and one of the few remaining independent book shops, and despite my distaste for anything between Bellefield and Morewood Avenues, I’m honestly surprised I had never gone here. And I will start by saying that I won’t make the mistake of avoiding it again.

Star of India
They have a small wine list, but we selected this Australian shiraz and really liked it. Bonus points for the super cute seahorse bottle, which I found to be incredibly pleasing in design.

Star of India
We started (naturally) with an order of samosas, and then the words ‘vegetable chat’ caught my eye on the menu. I’m a big fan of the India Garden lunch buffet, and in their cold food selection, they always have this random chickpea-salad thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen (or at least noticed) it on a menu at another restaurant, so when this jumped out at me, I knew it was a sign.

Well, it was delicious. It’s a blend of chickpeas, onions, potatoes, and Indian seasonings, topped with crunchy crackers (similar consistency to the shell of the samosa), yogurt, and tamarind sauce. I don’t know what it is about this mix, but I find it just perfect. It’s like a yummy Indian salsa, with the chips mixed right in!

Star of India
For me entree, I stuck with my usual Indian order, Mattar Paneer. Star of India also has a jeera aloo on the menu, which is a potato dish with light spices, and no cream sauce. I used to order that all the time at India Garden, before it was removed from the menu. I was really curious to try it, but I figured that I could use some protein in my meal (I always order vegetarian options at Indian restaurants for some reason), so I got the mattar paneer, which is a peas and cheese dish. It was really good (but I promise myself that next time I will branch out and try the jeera aloo)!

Star of India
Michael did a little bit of branching out this time and ordered the tandoor mixed grill. It not only had tandoor chicken (his favorite), but also shrimp and lamb. He thought it was great.

And look at that garlic naan! It is so puffy and buttery!!

All told, we really enjoyed our trip to Star of India. It was quiet and cozy, and while they don’t have Bollywood videos playing constantly like India Garden, I like the atmosphere. And the food was excellent! Honestly, I wish they were available on the delivery service we use (campusfood.com), so we could eat there more often!

That’s two Oakland restaurants down, and 13 to go… Oh boy. 🙂

(Star of India does not have a website, but you can check out their Yelp page or visit them at 412 Craig Street in Oakland.)

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