Name: Moghul Fine Indian Cuisine & Tapas Bar
Location: 4700 Vestal Parkway East, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 729-2266
Attire: Casual to Business Casual
Price: $50+ for dinner for two
Moghul is located in University Plaza on the Vestal Parkway, in the same strip mall where Mediterranean Gyro is located. I have been to Moghul many times over the past few years, sometimes for lunch, sometimes for dinner, and yet other times to sit at the bar after work on Friday and have a drink, or two, or ten. All things considered, I'd say that Moghul stands among my favorite places to go in the area.
After entering Moghul you'll notice the bar off to the left and the dining room to the right. It's really an excellent layout because it's pretty much two different experiences depending on whether you are there to go to the bar or there to eat a more formal lunch or dinner. I used to love going there for lunch when they had a lunch buffet. It gave me the opportunity to try all sorts of Indian foods that I never would have tried otherwise. Plus, it was only about $10, so it represented really good value. About a year ago they decided to discontinue the lunch buffet. I would imagine it resulted in a lot of wasted food and I perceived that it wasn't a popular lunch spot for many people. Binghamtonians and their shoddy palates be damned! It would be really awesome if they got the buffet back up and running because it really was excellent.
The menu is pretty diverse and has all sorts of traditional Indian appetizers, soups, and entrees. I've had the vegetable and chicken pakoras and found them to be pretty tasty. The mulligatawny (lentil soup) is good and has a nice kick to it. An added bonus is that it comes complimentary with every entree.
Doesn't look like much (nor does most Indian food, really) but it's always a nice start to the meal.
Back in the days of the buffet I was able to try all sorts of yummy stuff. Some I liked quite a bit (Paneer Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Saag, Rogan Josh), others I did not care for too much (Matter Mushroom, Gobi Lezeez). These days, with the buffet no longer in existence, I usually stick with the same two entrees, the Chicken Tikka Masala or the Chicken Vindaloo. For those uninitiated to the charms of Indian cuisine, Chicken Tikka Masala consists of chicken which has been roasted in a clay oven topped with a tomato curry sauce. It's simultaneously sweet and spicy and is delicious. It can be VERY spicy, but the staff at Moghul is excellent at giving it to you however you want it. If you like it really spicy, you can get it that way, and if you prefer it mild with barely any spice, you can get it that way too.
That's what it looks like. Again, not much to look at, but this is easily one of my favorite five things to eat in the Southern Tier. It's served with basmati rice, and I highly recommend getting a side order of naan (bread) to eat it with. Vindaloo is somewhat similar but contains potatoes and a vinegar-based sauce. It too can be extremely spicy, even spicier than the Tikka Masala. Lucky for me, I happen to like it that way! Both of these entrees are excellent. I highly recommend that if you have little to no experience with Indian food that you give the Tikka Masala a shot. It just may convert you.
It's probably worth talking a little bit about the bar at Moghul. Draft beer is really cheap but they are plagued by having a pretty bad selection. The best you can do is either the Magic Hat #9 or the Sam Adams Seasonal, but most things are around $3. On Friday they have a happy hour special where they bring out some kind of free appetizer that you can try while having some drinks. It's usually pretty good and you can't go wrong with trying some free Indian food. The bar has a pretty relaxed atmosphere and is devoid of fratty undergrads, which is always a plus. It's a nice place to end the work week and get the weekend underway.
Moghul can be a little on the expensive side for the food (probably too expensive), so be prepared to drop some coin, but it's mostly worth it. The service is always top-notch and the servers are extremely knowledgeable on all the dishes and will do their best to ensure they are made to your specifications. I've always enjoyed what I've had to eat there and it's a cool place to hang out on a Friday night, certainly superior to Tully's, which is right around the corner. I really wish they still had the lunch buffet, but I can't complain too much. I still really need to try some of the other Indian restaurants in the area, but if you like Indian food, I think you will find Moghul to be quite good. If you are uninitiated to the world of Indian cuisine, Moghul would be an fine place to remedy that.