Moti Mahal Delux is the first US franchise of a massive restaurant chain originating from New Delhi. The Moti Mahal name is world-renowned for a few signature dishes from the Mughlai cuisine of India, including some of the best tandoori chicken you can find anywhere in the world. And thanks to a guy who owns a few other Indian restaurants in town, you can now find it on the Upper East Side. This location of Moti Mahal Delux opened in July of 2012, and they’ve already bagged a two-star review in the New York Times and built a loyal following among the Indian food enthusiasts in town.
We recently checked out Moti Mahal Deluxe for dinner, and despite not knowing much about the intricacies of Indian dining, we do know one thing - this place is really, really good. As a matter of fact, this might have been the best Indian food I’ve had in New York, and even though I don’t eat it all the time, I do have functioning taste buds. Plus, we clearly aren’t the only people that feel this way. The dining room at Moti Mahal is packed every night.
As we mentioned, there are some signature dishes here that you absolutely must order, but it’s a huge menu, and you probably can’t tackle them all in one sitting unless you’re eating with a really big group. We’ll cover some of the can’t-miss items in the Food Rundown below, but our best recommendation is to follow the advice of your waiter and come here a few times to try different things. I’d love to say that we’ll be coming back often, but we’ve got a lot more ground to cover when it comes to Indian food in New York. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in Curry Hill for the next few months.
Skewers with pineapple, peppers, and sweet potato. They’re sweet and savory and really delicious. You want some.
There are plenty of good appetizers to get into on the Moti Mahal menu, but we dove right into the good stuff from the tandoor oven. This tandoori chicken is one of the legendary items associated with this restaurant’s name, and we have to say it’s probably the best we’ve ever had. The chicken is perfectly cooked, and the spices are balanced so that you don’t get overwhelmed by them. This is an absolute must order.
A plate of tender and delicious lamb chops from the clay oven. The dry heat puts a nice char on the edges, but the meat is falling of the bone and is soft and delicious like a tasty pillow made from baby animal meat. So good.
Yet another famous item from the Moti Mahal empire, this butter chicken is rich and amazing, and it needs to be on your table.
So, being that we are students of language, we’ve now picked up on the fact that the word “makhani” must mean sh*tload of butter” in the Indian language. The Dal Makhani is a bowl of lentils with lots of butter stirred in, and it tastes very good. It’s also probably terrible for you, but that’s never stopped us before.
There are a few options when it comes to masala at Moti Mahal Delux, including chicken, shrimp, crab, and brain. We don’t get down on brain (what happens when you eat thoughts?), but we did order the chicken variety and loved it. We hear the crab masala is pretty incredible too.
This rice has curry leaves and lemon in it, but it doesn’t come across as terribly lemony. It’s nice and mild, and the presence of mustard seeds also adds a nice little crunch to the mix. Get it, and mix it up with the other stuff on your plate.