MOGUL PALACE: 248-08 Union Tpke.,
CUISINE: North Indian
HOURS: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m., Mon. through Thurs.; 12 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Fri.
CREDIT CARDS: All major
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes
Queens is no stranger to Indian food. However, one step into Mogul Palaces
imported, hand-painted doors, past a statue of a goddess offering gifts, into an authentic
Mogulai dining room, youll feel like a stranger in strange land.
As ours was a lunch reservation, we started at the buffet table, which is available
until 3:30 during the week and 4 on weekends. My guest, a Jain Indian and rigid
vegeterian, was pleased to find four of the entrees amenable to his diet, while my more
carniverous tastes were met Tandoori-style, in a bevy of meats. I sampled the Tandoori
chicken, marinated overnight in a blend of yogurt, ginger and garlic; chiken tikka, served
boneless and fresh from the clay oven; tandoori shrimp, marinated in yogurt, lemon juice,
ginger and garlic; and fish tikka, exotically spiced with chillies and served ajwain.
Unlike some Indian restaurants that over-estimate the heat threshold of American diners,
the Palace served meats that were as mild as they were tasty.
My guest, on the other hand, tried the Yellow Dal, a harmonious lentil dish combined
with tomatoes and ginger and simmered overnight; the palak paneer, a juicy spinach and
cheese combo; and a delicious eggplant and potato platter. He said the dishes posed a
threat even to his mommas homeamade best.
While my Mogulai waiter was helpful in explaining exactly what I was eating, my Indian
guest was the one instructing me how to eat. First of all, Indian food should be eaten
with the hands (squeamish? the Palace kindly provides knives and forks). The Naan bread,
or refined flour bread sprinkled with sesame seeds, and Roti, whole wheat flour bread
cooked in a clay oven, should be used as a "scoop" to bring out the flavor. And
finally, the Indian tradition is to eat everything on your plate.
Well, I had no trouble obeying the latter rule; the first two kind of slipped through
my American fingers. But no matter; the food was delicious. I especially enjoyed the Naan
bread (which I surreptiously dipped in a tangy mango chutney) and the fish tikka, which
satisfied me in itself. And not only did our waiter bring us some Tandoori meats straight
out of the clay oven, he brought with them two tall Mango Lassi drinks, served cold and
Heeding another Indian tradition, we saved the rice for last. The Basmati Pulao,
naturally aromatic long grain rice with cherry, was delicious, and whetted our appetite
for dessert. Among the many sweets we savored were the Gajar Halwa, a carrot-and-almond
dessert served piping hot; the Rasmalai; cottage cheese pattice in cream condensed milk
sauce; and the Gulab Jamun; golden fried milk pastry soaked in honey syrup.
So, if youre looking for a delicious, inexpensive lunch (the buffet is only
$5.99), an exotic dinner or a place to have a party (the Palace has a beautiful catering
room downstairs that seats about 100), Mogul Palace is the place for you. And dont
forget to sample a free handful of Indian candy on your way out.