Wednesday, July 18, 2007

If It's Good Enough for the Dalai Lama...

320 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023
(212) 724-6363

THIS RANDOM GUY at Dive 75 told Mint and I a story about once walking into Mughlai, on the corner of Columbus Avenue and W. 75th Street, and shorty thereafter watching the staff go quietly about the business of drawing all of the restaurants shades and locking its doors, leaving a few now-confused tables of customers still eating inside. After a time long enough for a large table to be gathered together in the middle of dining room had passed, the doors were unlocked and held open. A crowd of Buddhists to then processed through. One face recognizable amongst them: the Dalai Lama.

According to our storyteller, his thought was simply: if Mughlai's Indian cuisine is good enough for the Dalai Lama, well, then it must be pretty good. That seems to me a fair assessment.

Now, we'll never know (at least, I don't imagine having the opportunity in this life to learn) what His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso actually though of his meal. For all we know some monk-friend of his in the States dragged him to this "totally great spot" and the Dalai Lama was, like, "whatever, it's alright." But I would like to think that someone who knows something about these matters made the choice because it was knowingly an excellent one to have made, because it was upon this we based our decision to eat at Mughlai.

The menu offers all the dishes you expect to find at a well-reputed Indian restaurant, including a few I had never seen before. I ordered one of those, eggplant in a coconut-peanut-onion sauce, which was amazingly sweet, rich and spicy, and attempted to order another, fried spinach, which sadly was unavailable. Mint, ordering a favorite standby, requested her chicken be spicy. The waiter clearly took this with a wink-and-a-nod, returning with a rather not-very-spicy-having-asked-for-very-spicy vindaloo. You win some, you lose some.

All in all, would I say it was the best Indian food I've ever had? Probably not (although, Mike Eats Food! certainly wouldn't mind visiting the Mallorcan restaurant where he ate that meal, you know, for the sake of the site). Would I say it was the best I've had in New York? I might. It was certainly more creative and deftly prepared than most. And, as we've said before, it it's good enough for the Dalai Lama...

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Sure, add it to the list of worth-visitng UWS eateries.

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