Moti Mahal Delux is located at 1149 1st Avenue at 63rd Street,
Open Sun – Wed, 12 – 3pm for lunch and 5 – 11pm for dinner; Thurs – Sat, 12 – 3pm for lunch and 5pm – 12am for dinner with weekend thali-style brunch (complete platters from $14.95-16.95).
The story of Moti Mahal Delux begins in the Imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire, where royal chefs for Mughlai kings designed the rich, intensely flavorful, cuisine. In the early twentieth century, in the city of Peshawar, the founders of Moti Mahal brought this style of cuisine to the general public for the first time, beginning with the introduction of tandoor (clay oven) cooking, and specifically tandoori chicken. As their tandoori delights became more and more popular, Moti Mahal Delux opened over 100 locations throughout India, Nepal and London, to become one of the most admired and renowned Mughlai food destinations in the world.
Laura Weatherbee of L Weatherbee Design Studio (who also created the interior for Bhatti Indian Grill) designed the simple, yet elegant space to be welcoming, contemporary, minimalist and New York chic, with light wood paneling and matching tables accented with warm earth tones; the space is easily divisible for private parties.
Headed by the talented chef Gaurav Anand, owner of Bhatti Indian Grill and the newly opened Indian street food concept Desi Galli on Curry Hill. Anand, born into a renowned culinary family in Punjab, India, trained with India’s master chefs, including Jiggs Kalra.
In Anand’s hands, the signature dishes of Moti Mahal Delux come alive with a perfect balance of flavors and textures. But you have to taste for yourself to truly appreciate the complexity of the signature Murgh Makhani (butter chicken), first created by the founders of Moti Mahal Delux, tender chicken is presented in a velvety sauce of creamy tomato. One thing that sets this delectable dish apart from others is that it is prepared with fresh tomato puree—made on premises—and freshly ground spices. You won’t find any canned ingredients in the kitchen.
And if your expectation of Tandoori Chicken is dark red, dry and well-done meat, you are in for a pleasant surprise. The meats cooked in the clay ovens of Moti Mahal Delux are moist, tender and flavorful, colored only by fragrant, lively spices. There’s no red dye here.
One of the greatest surprises is the signature Kaali Daal, black lentils and house-churned butter cooked for 18 hours in special six-layered copper pots imported from India. The result is a rich brothy puree of beans that is as addictive as the butter chicken. Another Moti Mahal Delux signature is the Masala, a fragrant curry prepared with a choice of goat brain (a North Indian favorite), crab, chicken or shrimp. Another not-to-be-missed dish is Kadi Patta Jheenga, grilled prawns cooked with curry leaves.
In addition to the classic recipes of Moti Mahal Delux, Biryani (layered rice dishes with vegetable, goat or chicken) and tandoori specialties, The chef has also added his creative twist to create some stunning appetizers including Roomali Khasta, a roll made for dipping with smoky sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and cheese; perfectly pan-seared scallops with mango chutney; and Crab Lehsuni, fresh crab removed from the shell tossed with butter and garlic.Most unusual of all, is the goat brain curry. Don’t let the title put you off. It is finely diced, delicate and delicious.
The traditional Indian breads, including Roti, Naan, Kulcha and Parantha, baked to order in the clay oven, are flavored with fresh ingredients—garlic, mint or onion—and spices, are perfect for sopping up the addictive sauces.
Desserts include Phirni, smooth blended rice pudding, Kesari Kulfi, Indian-style ice cream flavored with saffron and pistachio, and unique Paan Shots, made with the Betel leaves favored in Indian cuisine for their digestive properties.
Beer and wine only. (For now BYOB, but call in advance to be sure).
Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.