On a recent Saturday, my wife Jun and I had to brave the snowstorm to get to Jun’s former classmate’s house party nearby East Harlem. Since we live in the Financial District, this trip was going to be quite a trek so at least we wanted to make sure to eat well somewhere on the Upper East Side before heading to the party. Given the insane weather, I suggested we get something hearty and settled on Indian food at Moti Mahal Delux, which is part of a global Indian restaurant chain that opened in New York around 5 years ago. We were riding a line 4 subway and got off on the 59th Street station; I didn’t realize we still had to go through the snow for another 10 minutes to get to the restaurant! Jun was constantly murmuring, “This restaurant better be worth it!” Well, I’m glad our experience at the restaurant turned out well as we got to try some really delicious dishes.
The menu at Moti Mahal Delux, as with other Indian restaurants, is quite vast. The rule of thumb here is to go with dishes with “MMD Signature” designation such as burrah kebab, which were mustard flavored grilled lamb chops. We both thought the seasoning could’ve been toned down, but there was no question that these chops were grilled quite well. As Jun remarked, lamb meats can be tricky to grill due to their smell, but we didn’t sense anything offensive to our noses. Jun wanted to get some type of chicken curry, and the murgh makhani, the restaurant’s “original” butter chicken, was quite sensational, with the flavor slightly more spicy that we had been used to (and therefore enjoyed even more). We probably spent a good 10 to 15 minutes just dipping the naan or the lemon rice we separately ordered on the curry savoring each bite or scoop. Another dish, daal makhani with black lentils, was also quite delicious, with the curry flavor tasting almost like that of traditional Japanese curry. I can smell a lot of butter in it but this time I decided not to feel guilty after all the trip we have made to Upper East Side.
Getting a reservation at Moti Mahal Delux isn’t too difficult so long as you book a day or two in advance. There is a full bar with various cocktail and wine options; a glass of medium-bodied red would be a great complement to your meal. The restaurant has a trendy décor that works for a variety of occasions; if you want to bring a large group of friends to try a bunch of different dishes, Moti Mahla Delux seems to be a great idea. Jun and I never say no to Indian, but Moti Mahal Delux was definitely above the run-of-the-mills Indian deliveries we’ve ordered whenever we felt lazy to go out. Too bad we live too far away from them for deliveries (yes, they deliver too).
- Creativity: 7.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 1149 First Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Telephone: (212) 371-3535