CLOSED: Madras Mahal

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 6 reviews )



104 Lexington Ave (at Midtown Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10016

Vegetarian Indian restaurant. Has South Indian specialties like dosa. Will accommodate large groups. Reported closed, Feb 2017. Open daily.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Indian

6 Reviews

First Review by recent_visitor

Either one extreme, or the other, at the same time - Edit

I've been meaning to try this place for a while. The menu has plenty of vegan options, and the stuff that isn't vegan is marked. It also has plenty of things involving paneer, which keeps the Omnivore happy.

The first thing I noticed was that it was very quiet for a Friday night, but then remembered that Kosher is a big part of their marketing, and decided that this wasn't a Clue.

My starter, idly in rasam was spectacular. Lovely, soft idly in a searingly spicy broth - just the thing in this weather. The omnivore was extremely happy with the spicy paneer.

For mains, we'd both ordered dosai. I had opted for the Mysore Masala Dosai, and predictably the other half went for the Cheese Masala Dosai. There was a bit of confusion during the ordering process, when the waiter repeated back the wrong thing for me. I corrected him, and assumed all was fine.

Imagine my surprise when the initial, wrong, order showed up. Rather than trying to provide me with the right thing, they tried to persuade me that I'd like it anyway, and even though the menu said it contained dairy, insisted it didn't.

I gave in. After all, I do like mushrooms. The dosa itself was brilliant - thin, crispy on one side, and with a sourdough flavour to it. The mushroom filling, well, meh. Old, stringy, mushrooms with that heavy feeling you get from butter ghee. Only when I had given up did they offer to replace it.

But the cheese dosa was apparently great if you eat that sort of thing.

Pros: The rasam

Cons: Poor service, Indifferent service

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Delicious.... But Time to Clean Up Its Act - Edit

Once upon a time this place was arguably my 2nd or 3rd favorite Vegetarian Restaurant in the city... So when I had the opportunity to eat here for the first time in a decade I was pretty excited. My cousin wanted to go to Pongal but I insisted on Dinner at Madras. The first thing we noticed before walking in was that the restaurant had a gotten a less than sterling grade of "B" on its last health inspection. None-the-less I've never had a problem here and it was not going to stop us from enjoying a savory and pungent Dinner of Inidian Jain Cuisine.
We started with Samosas which were the height of samosa perfection with a beautiful dipping sauce just sweet enough to go along with it. We followed it with appetizer of Idli which ive been dreaming about for years and was just like I'd remembered it.

For the main courses we ordered the Aloo Gobi and Mutter Paneer. Both were thoroughly enjoyable, but not sensational. The problem was as we were finishing these courses and drinking kingfisher we both started to feel a little queasy. By the time we left the restaurant, it was worse and for the next 24 hours it was pretty bad for both of us.

I want to be clear, that my cousin generally has problems digesting Indian Food but I love South Indian Fare, grew up eating it, and generally feel fine afterwards. It very well may have been psychological from seeing the sign at the entrance, and it might have been something else we ate, but I do know that the place simply did not feel clean and that we were both pretty sick afterwards.

Meanwhile the food was so tasty I was willing to give it another go and have lunch there. As it was Friday, I went expecting to revel in the 8.95 weekday Lunch buffet, and instead found it was the 10.95 "weekend Lunch Special". When I asked them why this was they said it was already the weekend. This did not make any sense to mean as in the US Friday is a weekday, and in India Friday is also a weekday with some areas even counting half of Saturday as a weekday. It was quickly apparent that logic would not win here so I picked up and went a few doors down for lunch.

My experiences left me feeling that the food is still great here, but the management should really fix the place up, learn how to handle customers better, and clean! Otherwise, curry hill offers too many other great Indian Vege alternatives like Chennai Garden and Pongal, for customers to keep returning.

Pros: Brilliant flavors and aromas, Good Portions, 1st Kosher Indian Restaurant in the City

Cons: Questionable Health Standards, Place is small, oldish, and noisy , Unpleasant management/policies

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Don't Go - Edit

This place used to be great. But the owner must have changed. No-one there cares any more, in fact they are rude. Also some recipes have changed and tasty dishes are now bland.
Just don't bother, there are so many other places worth a try.

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OK for lunch - Edit

We didn't experience any of the problems with service mentioned by the reviewers below, because we had the buffet lunch on a Sunday. This was fine - curries not excessively fierce but tasty enough (mixed vegetable being the best of them), dosas not fresh from the pan but crisp enough, two different sambars, both adequate. Uttapam and bondas were pretty good. The staff kept the water glasses filled and replenished the buffet when necessary, and we didn't ask them to do more than that.

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decent, not great - Edit

We have been here a handful of times when on this side of town. The apps did not taste fresh, samosa and others. The curries we got were just alright, but I worry that though they are veg, they may not honor vegan requests. I just get the sense by the nonchalant attitude they waitstaff gives after, like hey that's vegan right, right, and they shrug, write it down as they walk away. I think it was, but a better way to treat the customer is to say, most certainly! and have a bit more enthusiasm or something.

I would not suggest this place, but it isn't the worst place to end up either if you are hungry and there.

Could also use a thorough cleaning...

Pros: veggie

Cons: needs cleaning, needs better communication from waiters, freshen up the apps

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Worst experience ever!! - Edit

I would recommend not to go to this place ever!! I am an Indian and have been to many Indian Restaurants in NYC. Most of them are quite good. Recently, I went to Madras Mahal along with few friends and felt humiliated in some sense by manager. Just to make more money, she shouted on us while taking order that please finish fast and GET OUT. We were just shocked and speechless. We left the place without having food. We don't want this to happen with anyone.

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