New York Magazine recently published a great feature on Indian street food that I wanted to share with you. Writer Jenny Miller highlights six NYC hotspots for kathi rolls and kebabs. Personally, I can’t say enough good things about Masala Times on Bleecker Street (they catered our wedding!). If you’re not a vegan like me, I highly recommend the chicken malai kebab and the paneer tikka. Fantastic! Now I eat aloo (potato) and channa (chickpea) rolls which are also good. Note to fellow goris: Masala Times food is very, very hot.
I also love the Kati Roll Company and the Desi Food Truck, which didn’t make the article but which I’ve reviewed here at the blog.
My husband and I took a trip with his friend to Jackson Heights, commonly referred to as Little India, to stock up on Indian groceries in anticipation of the arrival of my in-laws. This was my first trip to Jackson Heights, though I’ve been hearing about it forever. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out for my blogosphere friends.
I found this great little video on About.com to give you an overview of what Jackson Heights has to offer:
Unfortunately, we went in the evening and didn’t have much time to spend. We went to a supermarket called Patel Brothers but they were closing about 15 minutes after we arrived. We scurried around to pick up our groceries and I managed to snap a few pictures.
And how beautiful is the food packaging? I just love it.
Jackson Heights is also home to Jackson Diner, which is shown in the video above and has a counterpart in Manhattan that we’ve eaten at several times and really enjoyed. Yum!
Who’s got it? That’s a good question, and something I’ve tried to puzzle out many times. My and my husband’s reviews are below; note that I always order the vegetarian option (paneer tikka) and he always orders non-veg (seekh kebab or taka tak).
- Roomali – 97 Lexington Avenue
Price: $4.75-6.00 each
Yelp reviews: 4 stars
My review – Roomali’s rolls are not bad. In truth, has anyone ever had a kathi roll that was bad? They don’t knock me out, but they are pretty good and conveniently located in Curry Hill.
Husband’s review – Roomali has gone downhill. Dry meat, smaller portions and bad service. They do, however, have good adrak (ginger) tea, and paan is sold right next door. Paan is an important feature.
- Kati Roll Company – 99 MacDougal Street and 49 West 39th Street
Price: $3.25-6.25 each
Yelp reviews: 4 stars
My review – Kati Roll Company is an adorable crowded little space by Bleecker Street with an illustrated menu (e.g. picture of a cow signifies beef rolls) and big Bollywood posters on the walls. These kathi rolls are, in my opinion, much better than Roomali’s. Yum! I might be biased because I have a positive association with KRC – one of my first few dates with my husband involved buying my first kati rolls ever here and walking with them to Washington Square Park.
Husband’s review – Kati Roll Company is good, but too clean. Kathi rolls are street food in India, so they need some grease, some dirt, some filth!
- WINNER: Best Kati Roll in NYC
Desi Food Truck – 50th Street btwn 6th & 7th Ave (M-F lunch) and Broadway btwn Spring and Broome (weekends 11-7)
Price: $4-4.50 each
Yelp reviews: 3.5 stars
My review – I LOVE the Desi Food Truck. We discovered this gem when it used to be on 27th Street and 5th Avenue. As a recent WSJ article put it, “it’s hard to miss a yellow van plastered with posters of Bollywood stars. Peek closer and you see the metallic surface adorned with Pakistani tribal art, a roof decorated with embroidered curtains and an unmistakable whiff of fresh lachha parathas.” The kati rolls are greasy and oh-so-good. I was also charmed by the fact that the owner personally messaged me on Yelp to thank me for my positive review.
Husband’s review – As I said, kathi rolls are greasy food, and Desi Food Truck comes the closest to that. It’s not healthy and it’s probably not clean, but it tastes good.