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Moti in Amherst

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I can't find any discussions about this Persian/Medeterranean restaurant on Chowhound. I became interested after reading a semi review of it in the Gazette last week. My husband and I decided to try it last night and based on this one visit we thought it was very good. I called ahead of time and made a reservation for 7pm. Maybe they don't take reservations for two people very seriously because when I made the reservation the girl didn't even ask my name (I had to prompt her) and when we arrived we were lucky that two people happened to be leaving. The hostess said something about two people walking in and seating themselves at our reserved table, but I'm not sure I believe that. Anyway, we only had to wait a couple of minutes for her to clear the table.

We started with Hummus and Dolmades and both were excellent and well presented on white rectangle plates. The hummus was perfectly smooth (the way I like it) and served w/pita triangles and a green olive. The grape leaves had just the right consistency and flavor and they were drizzled w/pomegranate paste, which was surprisingly complementary. I ordered a saffron chicken kebab (Morgh) dinner platter ($13.95) which came with a grilled tomato wedge, a grilled onion wedge and rice, or half rice and half salad, which I opted for. Another nice presentation on large white square plates and everything on the plate was great. The chicken was tender and flavorful and the rice was cooked to perfection. It was too bad they didn't use local tomatoes in the salad because it would have really made a difference. The portions were quite large; I was full before my plate was empty.

My husband ordered a Specialty Rice dish called Baghali Polo w/Saffron Chicken ($14.95) which was a mix of Basmati rice, saffron chicken, dill, and fava beans. It came with a choice of salad or cucumber yogurt; he chose the yogurt and reported that everything on his plate was also excellent.

The menu is quite extensive with lunch platters, a la carte items, wraps, dinner platters, combos, house made beverages, and a variety of both Persian and Mediterranean dishes, with prices ranging from $6 to $20. There are no free beverage refills.

I loved the feel of the restaurant. It was cozy with brick walls and warm colors, and it felt as if it had been there a long time, and that was the big surprise. When I asked the waitress how long the restaurant had been there she said 2 years! She said they started out with half of the space and then about a year ago a hair salon or some such thing moved out so they expanded. There were Persian carpets on the floor and in the expanded space they had created a cave like setting with a bench along the wall with throw pillows and small tables. I only got a glimpse but it looked like it was mostly for larger parties.

Our overall impression was a good one. The food was excellent, the atmosphere was very cozy and cosmopolitan, and the service was very good. I felt like I could have been dining in a restaurant in NYC. However, I should add that there was a party of four that had a prime table in the window that looked out on the street and they left without ordering. We weren't completely sure but it appeared that they left because no one came to wait on them!!

I hope to see some other Chow reviews of Moti and I hope our first impression will be a lasting one.

The only dessert I saw on the menu was Chocolate Lava cake but we didn't want a dessert anyway.

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  1. I had a doner there for lunch and it was decent. Glad they expanded into the next door, my problem with the place was with how narrow it was.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fame da lupo

      I went the other day for lunch with some pals and we all agreed that it was very good. I enjoyed a delicious saffron chicken served with salad and rice for $8.95. We shared grape leaves..some of the best I've had. The other fellows all opted for pocket sandwiches (gyro, shwarma, kebab) and all gave thumbs up. The waiter gave us samples of rosewater iced tea and was gracious and friendly. We will definitely be back soon.

      1. re: Big Fat Moe

        My husband and I have been back a couple of times and the food is consistently good. We ate at Lala Rokh (a Persian place) in Boston a few months ago and it was delicious. I had 2 saffron chicken kebabs - one was cubes of chicken and the other one was ground chicken. I think I will try the ground chicken next time I go to Moti. I keep getting the same thing because I like it so much - time to branch out! I don't mind the narrow space at all; It reminds me of places in New York.

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        Moti
        24 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002