Gol Gappa shots at Moti Mahal Delux NYC

I don’t eat Indian food at restaurants often, not because I dislike them, but because I cook (and eat) Indian food at home regularly and the dishes that I make are often lower in calories too (isn’t that true of most home-made food?).   Every now and then, however, I do eat Indian food at restaurants when the friends I am meeting are keen to do so.  That is how I ended up at Moti Mahal Delux (in the Upper East Side) which earned 2 stars (above average) from the NY Times and am wondering if it really deserves 2 stars (1 may be sufficient).

Inside Moti Mahal Delux NYC

Inside Moti Mahal Delux NYC

Moti Mahal is an Indian restaurant group that operates on a franchise model. But there are two – this one and this one.  They both have similar histories and similar business models.   I have no idea which one if either the NYC Moti Mahal is a part of. A heads-up to the readers of this post:

  • I have not eaten the food at any Moti Mahal in India (not that I remember anyway)
  • I am no expert of Mughlai food
  • There are very few pictures in this post, so you will have to read this post completely

The food at Moti Mahal Delux NYC is overall very good, although I do not think that the food is the best that Indian restaurants in NYC can offer and yet I would still go back to Moti Mahal.  I prefer the food at Junoon (has one Michelin Star) and I will write about that in another post (at some point!).

Here is what is unique about Moti Mahal:

  • Gol Gappa shots are offered on the menu as an appetizer.  We love the gol gappa shots, although the four shot glasses had different volumes of the tangy-sweet brown (tamarind and date / jaggery) and spicy green (mint, cilantro, green chile) liquids, so, one of us got a tangy sweet shot, and one got a very spicy shot.  If made well, this is likely to be a super-hit mocktail, at the very least with the Indians.   In case you are interested, see this recipe by Chef Sanjeev Kapoor
  • Okra Pakoras are offered as an appetizer.  I have not seen this listed on the menu of many Indian restaurants that I have been to. The okra was sliced thin, dipped in chick pea batter and fried, but were not crispy enough for my taste.  I do not relish limp, soggy pakoras.   See this recipe if you would like to know how to make them.
Plate of Tandoori roti, tandoori chicken and palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) at Moti Mahal Delux NYC

Plate of Tandoori roti, tandoori chicken and palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) at Moti Mahal Delux NYC

We ordered very standard dishes.  Read below for my thoughts on them:

  • Murg Tandoori (Tandoori chicken) as an appetizer.  This was excellent and great with some Kingfisher beer (as Tandoori chicken is always)
  • MMD (Moti Mahal Delux) Signature dish (we chose Shrimp Masala) – was very spicy and tangy
  • Palak Paneer was extremely bland and under-salted in my opinion.  With some more salt, and some tomatoes, this would have been great, so, I did what I thought fixed the dish – i.e., included some of the gravy from the Shrimp Masala with the spinach!
  • Tamater Pudina Raita met expectations.  It had the right consistency, had adequate salt and enough tomatoes and dried mint leaves (pudina) for the correct flavor
  • Onion kulcha, garlic naan and tandoori roti met expectations as well.

If I were to go to Moti Mahal again, I will get the Tandoori chicken as a main course, and try some of their desserts – either the kesar kulfi or the ras malai. If you are in NYC, please try the food at Moti Mahal and tell me if I missed anything special there.   

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  1. […] Moti Mahal Delux (NYC) […]

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