Little Morocco is Midtown’s Best New Street Meat
I love how after three years of doing Midtown Lunch, plus Street Meat Palooza and Street Meat Palooza 2 there are still chicken and lamb over rice surprises left in Midtown. Take Little Morocco, on the NE corner of 39th & 7th, which I actually read about in the Midtown Lunch forums (yes, they are good for something!) Lunch’er NoPickles posted about the cart under the title “Spiciest Street Meat Cart”, which naturally caught my attention. After reading his rave, I had to check it out.
Little Morocco has only been open for 3 months, and serves up your standard halal fare. Chicken and lamb over rice, with white sauce and hot sauce… but the taste is anything but standard.
As the forum post mentioned the hot sauce is pretty freakin’ hot. I don’t think it’s as hot as the Famous Halal Guys on 53rd & 6th- where the equivalent amount of hot sauce shown above would probably melt your face off Raiders of the Lost Ark style. But what this hot sauce has that the other one doesn’t is flavor. I don’t know much about Moroccan food, but if you’re familiar with it you will definitely recognize the hot sauce as harissa. And these guys import their version directly from Morocco. The red stuff won’t be completely unfamiliar to Midtown street meat fans, but it’s unique enough that you will notice the difference. In other words, it’s really freakin’ tasty hot sauce (and pretty damn spicy to boot.)
But that’s not where the fun ends. They have three kinds of rice (white, yellow, and brown) and the yellow rice, which is seasoned with cinnamon and star anise, is delicious. But your best bet is to ask for the mix, which they make special by request (or to impress somebody who they know is a new customer.) All of the rices are cooked perfectly (not water logged, but not too dry), and the mix creates this fun and tasty multi color thing beneath the meat.
Speaking of the meat, the chicken and lamb were cut into nice medium size chunks and some of the pieces had great crispiness- adding some texture to an already delicious plate of food. Admittedly though, crispiness is sometimes a function of time. At some carts the later you go the more chance you have of getting meat that’s been on the griddle long enough to get crispy. I was there at the incredibly late hour (for me) of 1:30pm, so I can’t guarantee you’ll get the same crispy bits at noon.
The whole plate gets topped with black beans and pinto beans (bonus!) and the white sauce was your standard mayo based number. (That’s to say delicious!) Oh, and did I mention that it was $5? It doesn’t really get much better than this.
In addition to the chicken and lamb over rice, the cart also has fried shrimp, kofta kebab, fish, falafel, a $3 hamburger (?!?), and french fries. And if they fry the burger on the same griddle as everything else (Carnegie John’s style) you know it’s going to be tasty! I went back again and decided to try the fried shrimp (I can’t help myself… I love it!) and the kofta. I also asked them to throw in a falafel ball, and this is what they gave me:
A garbage plate of epic proportions! They even threw in some french fries (which I didn’t ask for.) The guys are super nice, and will pretty much do whatever you ask. The fried shrimp were crispy and great (for cart fried shrimp), and the kofta kebab was super flavorful and not dry at all (probably because it was cooked in grease with grilled onions on the flattop, instead of grilled.) They make the kofta themselves from beef, and it is seasoned with a mix of spices that are also imported from Morocco. (And by imported I mean sent to him by his Aunt.) I liked the grilled onions too, which I’m sure they’ll add to your chicken/lamb over rice combo plate if you ask. I also really liked the french fries, and the falafel was nice and crispy, but served more as a bonus than a main player. Cost of this monstrosity: $7. Awesome.
Will Little Morocco transport you to Morocco? I can’t say, because…well… I’ve never been to Morocco. But if I had to guess, this is probably as close as you are going to get eating from a Midtown cart. Thanks to NoPickles for posting the recommendation in the forums. I’ll be expecting you to be in charge of bringing Little Morocco’s chicken and lamb over rice to Street Meat Palooza 3!
THE + (What somebody who likes this cart would say)
- I love harissa!
- I like when the carts cut the meat into slightly larger chunks
- I love it when the meat gets slightly crispy
- Mixed rice is fun!
- I love carts that fry stuff (shrimp, french fries, fish, etc.)
- They’ll pretty much do whatever you want…
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this cart would say)
- Beans have no place on a plate of street meat!
- I like my meat chopped up to bits
- Too many spices going on. I like my street meat simple (like 53rd & 6th)
- This isn’t like any authentic Moroccan food I’ve ever seen…
Little Morocco Cart, NE Corner of 39th & 7th Ave.