Samuel Wang

To celebrate the restaurant’s grand opening last Friday, House of Naan servers dished out for dinner more than 400 plates of free chicken cream tikka, hummus naan dip and other Indian tapas.

The new restaurant at 65 Howe St., which is also a craft cocktail bar, serves both savory Indian dishes and inspired concoctions such as the Rajput sword, a mix of Scotch, saffron and nutmeg. Guests Friday evening received coupons for future meals and entered a raffle for a free dinner.

To kick off an evening of food and celebration, Matthew Nemerson SOM ’81, New Haven economic development administrator, spoke on behalf of the mayor. In his speech, Nemerson said small businesses are changing the Elm City for the better and praised the hard work of House of Naan owners Harry and Kay Singh.

“Howe Street is a very exciting example of how the city is expanding,” Nemerson said. “The area was essentially a parking lot — very much on the edge of town and not a place people really went at night. But now, new apartments, retail and restaurants like House of Naan are making Howe Street a destination, pulling energy from Chapel.”

Nemerson then introduced Anthony Rescigno, president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. In a speech, Rescigno said West Chapel Special Services, the area’s municipal district which aims to beautify streets and storefronts, supported the Singhs’ new design at House of Naan.

Kay Singh said the new locale is different from other New Haven Indian restaurants because it offers a modern twist on traditional Punjabi Indian food, in addition to a vibrant bar scene and a hip, urban ambiance. With its kid-friendly menu and reasonable prices, House of Naan will also appeal to young families and students on a budget, he added.

Above all, House of Naan is dedicated to the presentation of its dishes and the quality its ingredients, Singh said. He buys the food from local farms and avoids dyes in his recipes. The menu also has options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free guests. Unlike many Indian restaurant competitors, House of Naan substitutes buffets with special lunch offers so that customers receive fresh foods.

“Our number one goal is to bring good, fresh food to the people,” Singh said.

About a dozen guests interviewed said they found their food delicious. Most returned for seconds.

Brian Rhee ’20 said there are many food options closer to Old Campus, where he lives, but added that he will return to House of Naan.

“The food is good,” Rhee said. “And it would be a fun place for a dinner out with friends.”

Singh hopes the cheap prices, ambiance and varied menu will attract more Yale students to his restaurant. He said he recommends they try the spiced lamb burger with tikka fries.

And Kimberley Dao ’20 praised House of Naan’s signature bread.

“This is the most delicious naan I’ve ever had,” she said.

House of Naan is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.