THE MYSTERIOUS MOTI: GOOD YOGA DINNER
I thought I’d dropped the ball. For a while Good Yoga was serving vegetarian dinners, but when I inquired, chef Moti was gone. Moti! Where are you?
Then I got an invitation to “Moti’s Last Supper” and I was so on it.
Going to Good Yoga is like going to a cozy (and more calm) extension of your own home and Flannery and Ray welcome you in like family. But like all supper clubs, the strangers sitting at the table aren’t family and at first there is some social fumbling. That is what red wine is for.
Moti, with his man bun on his head, was busy working the kitchen. I tried my best to get some answers. Moti, who are you? Where are you from? Why are you leaving us? But, Moti was very focused on his preparation and canceling out the background noise that was my voice.
It was presumptive for me to assume he was Indian, even though he looks Indian (in a yoga way.) Rather he is Kurdish, from Israel, but has an Indian spiritual grandmother, with whom he spent time with in India and where he learned some of his cooking. Moti is going back to India and everyone is sad to see him go. How long will he stay? However long he needs to, he explained.
I could have pushed and prodded (I am really good at that) but I left Moti to do his thing, for the last time, and remain a mystery to me. You can learn a lot about a person from what they do rather than what they say. In this case his actions resulted in delicious carefully prepared and wholesome food in my mouth.
Moti makes an art out of preparing vegetables, which is true vegetarian cooking at it’s finest. I don’t want fake meat and deep fried starch. I love vegetable and they don’t need to be masked with heavy sauces or cooked down until oblivion. Moti lets vegetables be vegetables, the best that they can be.
First Course: Cauliflower Couscous, Fennel Pesto, Olive Oil Drenched Scallions, Roasted Red Peppers and Eggplants.
I’ll just say one thing: CAULIFLOWER COUSCOUS! It was the texture of couscous and had that delicious raw cauliflower flavor. Bringing out the delicate flavor of couscous is difficult, especially when it’s on the same plate with pesto and roasted peppers, but it was all there and that plate was happy together.
Second Course: Spinach Salad, Raw Green Peas, Beets, Kohlrabi with Pistachio Ginger Dressing
A fresh and perfectly dressed salad with chunky raw vegetable crunch. See body, sometimes I do give you nutritional delicious food. (Just don’t get used to it!)
Third Course: Beet Steaks, Fried Onion, Fried Egg, Spicy Feta, Yaprach (stuffed onion with scallion and celery)
Don’t tell me you can’t fill up on vegetables. The stuffed onion is a traditional Kurdish dish, Moti learned from his other grandmother. It was such a grandma food that makes you full and warm. I could have eaten ten. The beet steaks cooked enough to not be raw but still have a fresh crunch and they had a good sour bite to them.
Dessert: Pear Drunk with Red Wine and Pomegranate Sauce and Whipped Cream
There is nothing better than fruit for dessert with a generous amount of whipped cream. To me the fruit is an aside, in this case, a delicious warm, sweet and sour aside.
Moti you will be missed!
73 Calyer St