Lunch buffets are a staple of Indian restaurants in the New York. A number of the Indian restaurants in Jackson Heights were known for their buffets–but in recent years the quality has tapered off. Some time ago, I tried to find the best of the bunch–but I was only disappointed. The place I used to go in midtown had closed. And then, a couple of years ago, Moti Mahal Delux opened on the east side at 63rd and 1st Avenue.
I had been to Moti Mahal in downtown Delhi, right near the main mosque. We had gone for lunch to have their famous butter chicken. It wasn’t a very popular place at lunch–we were practically the only diners there.
Unlike the one in Delhi, the Moti Mahal Delux in New York is a great place to go for lunch. They don’t offer an a la carte menu, just an all-you-can-eat lunch. Monday to Friday it costs $11.95. There is no buffet, they bring bowls of everything to your table. You can ask for anything to be replenished.
There are two options: vegetarian or non-vegetarian. If you go with two people, get one of each, then you can enjoy the full range of dishes.
Yesterday, they started us with a plate of appetizers: pakora (fritters) and crunchy chaat (below). The chaat had the three different sauces/chutneys (tamarind, coconut and mint) on it. The pakora were like oniony spiced potato pancakes. They started us with two pakora (they call them “pakoda”). Later in the meal we asked for more pakora and we got a tray of them.
Then, they brought a plate of tandoori chicken (below).
Then they brought out a tableful of food. In addition to rice, naan and dal, they brought another type of chicken that had been cooked on the skewer, two vegetarian dishes, a fish dish and a chicken curry. Everything was delicious. Did I say you can ask for anything to be refilled? Because they bring out the dishes as you request them, they are hot and fresh. The naan is fluffy and things that should be crunchy are. Nothing was overly spicy. In fact, a few things could have used more spice.
One of the vegetarian dishes was mixed vegetables (below). The things in the photo that look “meaty” are mushrooms.
The fish curry (below) was tasty. The fish was lightly breaded, with just the right amount of crunch.
We got two types of skewered chicken. Different taste profile from different marinades. They had started us with a plate of each. This (below) is the refill plate.
A vegetarian version of butter chicken (below). Instead of chicken, this one has cubes of cheese (paneer).
After we could eat no more, they cleared the table and brought us dessert. It was a delicious mango pudding with pieces of mango and other fruit.
The dishes change from day to day.