Long Story Short:
Groupon is a great way to get a meal under $30 for 2 in NYC, and Mahal Kita Indian Cuisine is a prime example. The Williamsburg spot offers some amazing curries with complex flavor profiles that keep the palate guessing and that will satisfy even the cruelest spice lovers. But the great flavors come with the sacrifice of a bland ambiance and bad service. We’d recommend sticking to the curries and getting them to go or delivered, the experience of dining in at Mahal Kita Indian Cuisine isn’t worth the effort of putting on real pants.
The design of Mahal Kita is uninspired, with the focal decor being a giant pictures of the Taj Mahal and Indian food. Each table has a couple gritty fake flowers centered between average cutlery and plates. The lighting is dim and the venue is tidy, but the space is plain and vanilla when it should be spicy and alluring… it’s Indian food after all.
We were the only people in the restaurant for the duration of our 5:30-6:45pm dining experience. While our waiter quickly brought out some dips and a thin cracker, he plopped down behind the empty bar on his phone and we had to yell across the room to get his attention to order. We refilled our own water and had to wave him down each time we needed something. At the end of the meal there were issues in retrieving the Groupon, and he handed me the phone saying “you need to figure it out”. There’s always a reason a restaurant is completely empty….
The samosa was bland, and lacked that earthy, deep spice you want from this classic Indian appetizer. There were no pops of ginger, turmeric, or coriander, and the outer pastry was oily and crusty rather than bready. You want a samosa to invite you in with a warm, indulgent hug; this one just shut the front door.
Our naan, roti, Chicken Vindaloo, and Lamb Rogan Josh came soon after. First of all, the roti was not roti; it was a flat pita bread. The garlic naan was also more akin to a flatbread or pizza base. However, both served as great mediums to sop up the delicious curries. The lamb dish was thick and creamy, with a pleasant amount of turmeric, ginger, onions, and tomatoes to create a homey, inviting curry. The chicken was phenomenal, and left two spice lovers profusely sweating. There was no shortage on chili and cayenne to accompany the mustard, tomato, ginger and paprika drenching melt in your mouth chicken chunks. Both curries had complex flavor profiles that kept the palette intrigued. A dish can become predictable from bite one to bite ten, but ours were guessing every step of the way.
The key to keeping this meal under 30 was Groupon. There was a deal for $20 worth of food for $11, then we snagged an additional 20% off coupon bringing the total down to $9 giving us a $41 budget at the restaurant. On top of that, Mahal Kita offered an additional 10% off to cash payers, upping our limit to $45.10.
Garlic Naan: $3.96
Lamb Rogan Josh: $15.95
Chicken Vandaloo: $12.95
Total: $42.75. (-$20 discount groupon)= $22.75 + ($9 for groupon price)= $31.75 – (10%)= $27.65
We both walked away in a slight food coma and spice hangover, but felt amply satisfied.