Grill 44 Brings Kathi Rolls to Midtown East
My love of the kati roll (or kathi roll, as I believe it may be officially spelled) is pretty well documented. The original Kati Roll on 46th btw. 6+7th is probably the most viewed Midtown Lunch post of all time, and I have always felt it embodied what this site was all about. Cheap (although prices have gone up recently), unique, and most importantly, delicious. When they moved to 39th btw. 5+6th, it opened up a void in the area which was quickly filled by the cart on 46th & 6th, who began selling chapati rolls, a similar creation with a few unique twists. Their “kati rolls” were on a slightly thinner chapati bread, and they offered both sweet and spicy toppings, give their offerings a broader range of flavors. (Everything at the original Kati Roll is just spicy.)
Indus Express took the kati roll and tweaked it again when they opened up on 48th btw. 5+6th, serving up a more burrito’ish, larger creation filled with sauteed veggies and a fried egg. For those working on the west side, there was no shortage of these Indian wraps. But what about the folks on the east side who don’t have time to make the walk? Well, Grill 44 has stepped in to fill the East side void. Originally a Mediterranean take out place, specializing in falafel and shawarma, Grill 44 (on 44th btw. Lex+3rd) has now added Indian food to their menu- and one of the options now available is- you guessed it- Kathi Rolls.
While I’m normally wary of places that combine two types of cuisine under one roof, it appears as if each half of Grill 44 is run by its own set of cooks (although I’m not positive). In other words, it seems like it is actually two different restaurants, sharing the burdens of incredibly high Midtown rent. There is an Indian steam table, where you can get a pretty standard lunch special, plus all the original Mediterranean dishes Grill 44 has always offered. But I was there for the kathi rolls.
They offer 4 types of kathi rolls: potato, paneer tikka (cheese), chicken tikka, or a kebab, and they all ange in price from $4 to $5.50, with a discount offered if you order two of the same. According to the paper take out menu, you can get any two at lunch time for $8.95. Here are the two I went with:
The chicken tikka kathi roll
The paneer tikka kathi roll
The chicken tikka roll was good, but I was an even bigger fan of the paneer tikka. Normally you get this Indian cheese swimming in some sort of sauce- my favorite being the saag paneer (which is spinach). But in this form, you can actually taste the full flavor of the cheese- even though it’s covered in the same seasoning used on chicken tikka. The other thing I really liked about Grill 44 is they give you two sauces, a sweet chutney sauce and a spicy mint yogurt sauce, allowing you to go back and forth between the two flavors.
If you work in Midtown East, and don’t want to trek to the West side for a Kati Roll, or Chapati Roll, or the Indain burritos at Indus Express, now you don’t have to. Grill 44 is an excellent substitute, combining the best parts of all the places on the west side. The freshly prepared ingredients, and delicious paratha of Kati Roll combined with the multiple flavor combos you get from the different sauces you get at the Chapati Roll cart. If this keeps up, the kathi roll may become as common as chicken tikka masala.
- Kathi rolls on the East Side!
- They use fresh made paratha
- If you like paneer, this is one of the best uses of paneer I’ve ever had
- They give you two dipping sauces, both of which are delicious
- Spicy, but not too spicy.
- The place is tiny, and there are only a few bar stools to sit at
- When they get crowded, the ordering is a little disorganized, and they are known to get orders wrong. The kathi rolls are also made fresh, so it may take a little while. If you know what you want, you should call and order ahead…
- If you like your kathi rolls spicy, these are not as spicy as the original Kati Roll
- $9 for two rolls is a little expensive, and they are slightly smaller than Kati Roll
- Still greasy…
44 Grill, 160 E. 44th St. (btw. Lex+3rd), 212-949-0249