Khodiar Lunch Services Loses the “Taj Delhi Chat” (And Some Quality Along With It?)


I noticed something interesting while walking down 9th Avenue this weekend… the original signs for Taj Delhi Chat (which used to hang in the window of the former newsstand on 6th Ave. btw. 37+38th) are now hanging in the window of an Indian steam table place on 29th and 9th.  Apparently the lady who started “Taj Delhi Chat” was kicked out of the Khodiar (aka Newsstand) space, and is planning on reopening at this new location in Chelsea.  She’s not up and running yet, but plans to be selling chaat from that location at some point in the next two weeks.

So, what does this mean for the chaat being served out of the newsstand on 6th Ave.?


Yesterday, I ventured over to our favorite former newsstand (turned food court) along with Ed Levine, Robyn & Alaina from Serious Eats and we are happy to report that the chaat is still very excellent.  They’ve changed the name on the menu to match the menu of the Gujarati food (Khodiar Vegetarian Food) but the actual chaat menu itself remains the same.  Sadly though, the Gujarati vegetarian food we tried- which has been so amazing in the past- was kind of terrible.  I was really embarrassed because I had sung its praises to Ed and the gang, only to have it fall well short of expectations.  Anybody else notice a lapse in quality recently?  We got 2 lunch specials (the thali), for a total of four different dishes, and not a single one was what I would call good.


It looks like the quality may have been transferred over to the regular Indian steam table where they serve the meat dishes.  We tried the goat and the chicken curry, and both were surprisingly good.  (As much as I love meat, I had never tried this part of the food court, because the Vegetarian Gujarati food- which is what this place became famous for- is so good.)  We also had a plate of stewed beef and stewed pork from the spanish food steam table (that used to be in the now shuttered Blimpie next door) and that was really good as well. Ed will be posting his full review soon on Serious Eats: New York.

Hopefully I hit the Gujarati food on a bad day, and they’ll bounce back… but even if they don’t- thankfully the chaat is still the best in Midtown!

Khodiar Lunch Services (6th Ave. Tobacco & Magazine Shop), 1013 6th Ave. (btw. 37+38th), 212-840-3767

The Best Indian Food in Midtown Might Be Sold Out of the Back of a Newsstand
A Guide to the Best Indian Street Food in Midtown: Translating the Menu at Taj Delhi Chat


  • Rupa left the original location a long time ago. I stopped getting the meat dishes because everytime I get goat, they give me bones. The chicken is ok though. There are better choices out there.

  • Why did the lady get kicked out? Is the chaat still as good with out her?

  • You need to find a good Gujarati family and latch on! That’s what I have succumbed to.

  • Actually the chaat is not as good as you think. I tried it based on your reccomendation and the channa chole chaat is not chole based but just plain chick pea based. Huge disappointment! Didn’t try anything else there but I would not go back. The chaat place on 48th between 5th and 6th is ten times better!

  • Rupa used to take such care in making the chaat-yes, it took forever but it was quality. The new guy just tosses it all together quickly-it’s ok, but she took a lot of pride when she compiled it.

  • @Anon – Well, I’ll just say this… I’ve had the papri chat and the bhel puri at Khodiar, Indus Express (the place you are talking about on 48th) and Sukhadia, and I think that Khodiar is far and away the best of the three.

    Admittedly I’ve never tried channa chole chaat at either places, and you’ve never had anything else at Khodiar- so is it possible we’re both right?

    Now there is a caveat to all of this… my experience with chaat is limited to these three places (plus one other place in Curry Hill), and I was accompanied by a person from India when I had Chaat for the first time at Khodiar. She said that it was the most authentic chaat she’d had in New York City.

    She also said that Indus Express is good, but she tells them to make it “Indian Style” and very spicy… which makes me wonder- do these places make it differently if you are white? My trip to Indus Express was by myself… and I wasn’t impressed.

  • Zach, I’m Indian so I’ve eaten a lot of chaat, and you’re right, at Indus I did tell them to make it “mirchi”, while at Khodiar, I didn’t say anything. Also at Indus they would have added chopped bell peppers if I had not stopped them!! Shocking…I know!! ;) Ok, I’ll give Khodiar another try. Perhaps the bhel. But now I’m looking forward to Rupa opening up her little pean to chaat! Btw, I’ve posted before as lrao, but this time, I forgot to sign in.

  • I had the papri chat on Friday and thought it was good. Tasty and fresh! The hot vegetarian entrees aren’t very good though. Kinda flavorless and bland. Samosas were eh. Nothing special. Chat was the way to go!

    My indian friends, our token caucasian buddy (who semi-enjoyed his lamb curry) and I (non-indian but who cares) went again today for chat and the aloo chole chat isn’t as good. One of them ordered the papri chat and it was only okay (tasted drier this time) but much better than the aloo chole. She says they aren’t as good as Indus or other places she’s been to. I ended up finishing her papri since I wasn’t that impressed by my aloo chole.

    As a side note, I told her (RS), “Hey, if you didn’t throw up, then the food wasn’t that horrible.” Great rating system I got going on. LOL.

    Maybe friday was a hit for me but a miss today for them. Oh well. The search for excellent chat continues but the value can’t be beat for $5 chat at Khodiar.

  • My friend recommended this place to me as he said they had pretty good chaats. Decided to go there for lunch, but it was a disappointment. As an Indian, I have had way better chaats (I would rather pay $10 and get the chaat that I would love than paying $5 for something I wouldn’t be able to finish). I heard someone say that this is the second best place for chaats in the city – WRONG! Shouldn’t even be in top ten. I ordered the papari chat, it was too try and didnt’ taste fresh. My friend had the alu chole chaat and it was the same thing. If you are looking for a cheap, flavorless lunch – this is the place for you. But if you are looking for a good quality food, better off at some place else.
    I rely a lot on these reviews when I look for a place to go eat, therefore, wanted to post my honest opinion. Place is definitely not good for a sit down lunch (Very small and has a lot going on – Spanish Food, Pizza, newpaper stand AND Indian food..way too much).

  • I meant too dry* above.

  • $10 bucks? I rather not eat chat then. I can’t willingly pay that kinda price for a snack food. Crisp is as pricey a vegetarian lunch I can go (since it’s a somewhat healthier falafel). LOL. Chicken/Lamb w/ Rice it is then for lunch! ;-P

    There aren’t too many chat places in Manhattan so maybe it is a top spot by default. Haha.

    The papri chat I had on Friday was def. fresh and tastier. I don’t know what happened with Monday — too bad it disappointed you.

  • The quality (of the vegetarian food at least) has gone WAAAY down. I used to really love this place. I went to it several times a week. But the food is really crappy now. I think they got new management — the same guys are working there, but there are new people who look like the new bosses. The food is now tasteless. Maybe they decided to tone down the spicyness to appeal to a larger audience? Maybe they fired the old cook? Whatever happened, the quality is not the same.

    As far as I’m concerned, this is the worst news in Midtown lunching in 2009.

  • Any news on Rupa’s new place?? Dying to try it.

  • rupa is in jackson heights, a little stand inside Karahi and Grill on Broadway (one of the best indian spots in the hood, btw).

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