Tracking Down the “Famous Dal Cart”
Last month we told you that the “Famous Dal Cart” (discovered by Grub Street in the EV) had to decided to move to Midtown for lunch. It hasn’t been the most consistent cart of all time (one day it’s there, one day it’s not), but they seemed to have settled on the NW corner of 32nd and Park. So I swung by last week to see what they have to offer. Just from the name, Famous Dal Cart, I knew two things before even eating any of their food. First, I should probably try the dal (duh). Second, it’s always good to be weary of restaurants that claim to be “famous” or “best” at something (especially when they’ve been open for less than a month!) In other words, I was keeping my expectations on the low side (but hoping to be pleasantly surprised.)
When I arrived at the Famous Dal Cart, I knew that even if their dal wasn’t good enough to be famous, they would at least win an award for having a festively decorated cart.
For those of you not familiar with dal, it’s a dish common in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. It’s usually some form of lentils or beans or peas that’s been stewed. It’s a good source of protein for vegetarians and but a good version will tasty pretty great served over rice (even to the meat eater.)
As interested as I was in this “famous” dal, I was excited to see they had a lot of other options. (Meat options!) There’s a chicken tikka platter ($6), chicken tikka sandwich ($5), chicken malai sandwich ($5), chicken masala platter ($5), or you can get a dal platter with two kinds of dal ($4). When I arrived, they had just finished cooking up some chicken tikka on the grill and had some extra pieces. When I asked about their menu, the proprietor of the cart was eager to let me a sample a piece of chicken tikka. It was a very good piece of chicken, not dry at all. (If only all street meat could taste like that…) Expectations rising…
I ordered a chicken masala platter (to get a taste of something else on their menu) which came with rice, a choice of one dal, chicken masala, and garlic pickles. There are two types of dal to choose from. I don’t know my dal that well but one type was yellow in color and looked like it was smooth and consistent in texture. The other type was brown and you could see the bits of lentils. I went with the yellow one.
Even though the cart bills itself as being famous for dal, I was quite pleased with the chicken masala. It was both white and dark meat (best of both worlds?!) and the flavor was nice. Since I’m no dal expert (and a bonafied meat eater), I can’t really comment on the nuances of lentils, but it mixed up real nice with the rice. The entire platter was enjoyable and even the garlic pickles were irresistible. And for $5, the price is right!
If you’re someone who’s looking for Indian food options in the lower eastern part of the Midtown Lunch coverage area, you’d be wise to give the Famous Dal Cart a try. From their name, one might assume they’re only a vegetarian cart, but they’re vegetarian friendly with tasty meat options.
Famous Dal Cart, NW Corner of 32nd street and Park Ave