Now I want to preface this post by saying that my opinion is colored by the rose tint of nostalgia.
I grew up in India, in a boarding school with shitty food, my vacations however were always in Delhi and when our parents took us out it was two places, Bukhara or Moti Mahal. (Moti mahal was always special in our family because that is where my mom's father took her). Bukhara had the most amazing Dal makhani and Moti mahal was a close second. However for the Butter Chicken and Tandori Chicken there is nothing that compared in a sit down restaurant (a couple of street places had better food) . Now i have lived in the states 12 years and new york 7. I have eaten a lot of Indian food and i have liked various things, Khathi roles, kebabs , chicken makhini, rogan josh etc etc. But i had never been able to get the Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken of my childhood. Until now that is.
When a friend said Moti Mahal, a collaboration with the Indian restaurant, was opening in the Upper east side, i ventured from the west side to see if the Dal Makhani and Butter Chicken lived up to my memory. Today for the first time, in a long time, food bought forward a flood of emotions and bought back memories from my childhood. The Dal makhani is second to none i have had since I left India I could have sufficed on the richness of the dal alone. The Butter Chicken was sublime, It had the right balance of creaminess and spice. Make sure when you order the Butter Chicken you order the chicken as a Tandori chicken. We got the Tandori Chicken separately and it was succulent. Spiced to the perfect degree and kept in the Tandoor for exactly right amount amount of time. The Lamb Masala Tikka was so good, (all i could think was it would be perfect as a Khathi roll with a double egg but that is another story). The deserts also where like a trip down memory lane. Though the ras malai and the Phirni were above par they can be found elsewhere. The difference was the ice cream. It had Vanilla and Strawberry ice cream, the difference is hard to describe, i am no wordsmith. but anyone who has gone to India and eaten the Vanilla Ice Cream sold on the corner mother dairy know the difference.
We also tried the different things that they offer, the Golgappa shots and the Pan shots, they where good. A unique twist to traditional dishes but like i have mentioned, for me this was a trip down memory lane that i have not experienced in many years. The food is as authentic as you are going to get in New York CIty or anywhere else in America. If you do make it out there order the butter chicken and Dal Makhani with a butter nan. For starters try the Golgapa shots and for desert Tutti Fruity.