- 5-Star Restaurant (Des Moines Metro Mix Dining Guide 2008)
- Best Overall Ethnic Eats 2006 Runner-Up (CityView Best of Des Moines 2006 (2/16/06))
- Best Place for Vegetarians 2006 Runner-Up (CityView Best of Des Moines 2006 (2/16/06))
- Best Vegetarian Food 2001 Winner: "Bengan bhartha! Sag paneer! The samosas! The pakoras! The naan! A veritable vegetarian paradise." (CityView Best of 2001, 3/14/01)
Out to Lunch: "[H]earty, delicious northern Indian food. .... Bottom line: Good, hot, basic Indian food at lunchtime. I prefer and recommend dinner at India Star, but if you're in a hurry and hankering for Indian, you can't do better than this."
Jennifer Miller, Des Moines Register Datebook, 1/17/13
"In the Punjab, bread, not rice, is the base of the cuisine. Singh's naans and his whole wheat, unsalted rotis are baked on oven walls. The bread menu also includes some southern Indian starches: deep-fried whole wheat puris; and bhaturas, which are made with refined flours and curds. ... All were superb....
"India Star's best curries were made with Singh's fresh, homemade paneers (cheese). He makes four different dhals (lentil or bean stews), including a super rich makhani (tomato, garlic, heavy cream) version in ghee (clarified butter). For meats, the [clay tandoori] oven stars. Tandoori chicken was marinated in yogurt with a garam masala (garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne, red chile) and cooked faster and hotter than BBQ or baked chicken is. That's why it's juicier. .... He also cooks lamb, kebabs, fish and shrimp in his tandoor and applies such meats to other dishes, notably the chicken makhani, which should be registered as repeat offender for decadence."
Jim Duncan, City View, 10/19/06, "Food Dude"
"[T]he new—much bigger, much nicer—location is definitely worth a visit. ....
"If you go, definitely try both the Chicken Curry and the Tandoori Chicken. They're full of flavor and not too spicy. The Alu Bengan (potatoes and eggplant) and Navrattan Korma (vegetables in a rich cream sauce) are good, too, and don't pass up the Dal Makhani (lentils) and Naan (flatbread). If you like sweets, load up on the Gulab Jamun (fried balls of cheese suspended in a sweet honey syrup).
"If you like spicier flavors, your best bet might be in the evening when you can order from the dinner menu and request the cooks to crank up the heat."
Michael Morain, dmJuice, 8/10/06
"The menu offers plenty of options, and vegetarians in particular can sigh with relief at numerous options. From lamb cooked with peas to Tandoori Chicken, deciding what you want is a bit of a task. .... I went with a Vegetarian Thali, a full dinner that came with a choice of entrees, vegetable, a small salad, dessert and naan, a crispy, chewy flatbread. I went with Malai Kofta, deep-fried hearty balls of vegetable and cheese that came with plenty of rich, creamy sauce. .... Each dish was distinctive and delicious."
Erin Crawford, Des Moines Register Datebook, 5/25/06
"I spent about three months in New Delhi last fall and ate out nearly every night. But I've never had a tastier dish of chicken korma than I had at India Star last week. ....
"At India Star, the chilies and curry amplify slowly, allowing time to savor the crispy, potato-filled samosas ... accompanied by small bowls of sweet, plummy tamarind sauce and emerald green chili-cilantro chutney. The chicken korma, a creamy North Indian specialty, is slathered in orange-colored curry that struck the perfect balance between smoldering heat and tang. And the supple, buttery keema paranthas, thick pita-like flatbreads laced with nuts and shredded lamb, are perfect for sopping up extra sauce.
"Bottom Line: If you want bold, spicy flavor, head to India Star. Grade: A"
Michael Morain, dmJuice 8/24-30/05
"This small Punjabi café has been serving superb northern Indian cuisine since 1997. That means tandoori cooking with a seasoned clay oven. Flat breads are served hot off the oven walls, and the tandoori meats are the best in town. The lunch buffets are one of the best bargains around, and thalis give single diners a well-rounded meal."
"[E]ach dish we sampled starred an opulent use of spices to flavor and thicken sauces in ways that brought depth, intrigue and variety. ....
"Other standouts on the buffet included a sweet and fiery chicken Korma (sautéed chicken in a nutty cream sauce with insistent curry flavors) and a piquant stew called Keema.... All was accompanied by that wonderful puffy and smoky naan, chewy round bread cooked in the tandoori oven. ....
"As much as I enjoyed the lunch buffet, it was dinner that lingers in my memory. The vegetarian appetizer platter got us off to a great start, especially with its Pakora—crisp, light fritters of freshly battered and fried mixed vegetables. ....
"The heady flavors of the Lamb Tikki Masala stood out as well. The lamb, cooked in the tandoori oven, was presented in a luscious curry cream sauce for an opulent, addictive dish. The varied Shrimp Biryani provided a great contrast. Here, a confetti of raisins, cashews, plump shrimp and vegetables studded the basmati rice.
"India Star strikes me as the perfect place to go when the winter doldrums hit and you're bored out of your tree with the area's dining options."
***1/2 overall ("worth a visit" to "highly recommended")
W.E. Moranville, Des Moines Register Datebook, 12/16/99
The food was very delicious, the ingredients were in great proportions. It was a great experience. Nice atmosphere!!! Loved it!!
Food was nice/homelike. On top of that people are very friendly here. I feel like I was having food at home.
Love your food! The best Indian food in Iowa! Thank you!
I had to come back from St. Louis for this—it's my favorite!
Food here is very good. Lamb Biriyani awesome. Pleasant ambience. Would love to visit again and again and again!
I feel like I am in India—same taste as back home!
Excellent as always for the last 10 years.
Excellent Indian Food. We just moved here from close to Devon Ave. in Chicago and have missed the food!
You offer such tasty and nutritious foods—I wish I had found your restaurant on the first day of my stay this week instead of at the end. But I will remember your delicious vegetarian choices for my next visit! Thank you again for providing such wonderful meal choices in the Des Moines community. I will tell my friends about your establishment.
Delicious! Interesting menu with complex flavors and eye-appealing presentation.
I love this place. I am a first-time Indian food eater, and I love it!
Thank you for the delicious meal and fabulous hospitality. This is our favorite place to come.
Channa Masala and yellow dal both on the buffet today—perfect!!!
Always a pleasure to find the real Indian food—especially like the tandoori chicken.
I love this place and would eat here every day if I could.
This is the first place where I have eaten food which is as good as home. Thanks!
Best Indian food I have ever had in U.S. ‘Specially liked kalskand (milk burfi) and chicken curry. Thanks for serving such a nice food.
Wonderful catering service!!
First Indian food experience. Delectable! Thank you.
Baba, another masterpiece of a meal!
Excellent! No wonder why you are rated the best in Des Moines on Google.
Great food. Very friendly people! Will be a favorite stop from now on.