Restaurants & Bars

Superb Hyerbadi in Norwalk

Jim Leff | Nov 8, 201107:39 AM

Astonishingly, Connecticut is home to the two best Indian restaurants I currently know. And my latest discovery, Paradise Biryani (280 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk, CT; 203-956-7133), demolishes the previous fave, Danbury's highly-under-radar Kabab Grill (<http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7818...).

Paradise Biryani is part of a chain, with outlets in places like New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, and, according to that last link, new ones soon to arrive in Manhattan and Long Island. But that's ok; Indian chains are good (e.g. this one).

There are accomplished chefs who work with great precision and flair, and possess a keen sense of balance and a careful eye for detail. And there are more grandmotherly chefs, less fastidious and refined and fuzzier about details, but whose work devastates you with enveloping soulfulness. The chef here is both: an uber-fastidious technician of great skill and confidence who's easily capable of launching you into a woozy reverie. This incredibly rare combination makes this restaurant well worth a trip from pretty much anywhere. The chain's other locations may be perfectly good, but they certainly won't be the same. Chefs with both chops and soul aren't mass-produced.

Every dish is like a new world, with its own seasoning and lots of unique touches. Don't even imagine you won't need to eventually try every single dish. And don't insult the place by asking me to recommend "what's good". It's not one like that. This is greatness. So much so, in fact, that I'm not entirely sure I deserve to eat here.

The meal was like an Escher painting, in that each new dish surpassed all those preceding, yet, as we returned for second bites of previous items, we always found them better than we'd remembered. Perhaps the experience of each new miracle had made us better people, with improved palates and increased capacity for appreciating greatness. In any event, the math sketches out like this: A is better than B. B is better than C. C is better than A. B is better than A or C. A is better than B or C. Everything is, simply, better.

The place is BYO, but it would be a crime to bring anything less than exquisite to drink. We paid $40 each with tax and tip for a pretty serious repast.

Photos captioned with dish descriptions at: http://jimleff.blogspot.com/2011/11/t...

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