Dosa Cart Gives Biriyani Cart a Run For Its Money

As promised Lunch’er Devina (who was nice enough to send us a report about the Desi Truck a few weeks ago) returned to the Dosa Cart that danny reviewed on 39th & 6th last week and filed this report…

Some of you may know that a dosa is a vegetarian delicacy from South India – a pancake made out of rice and lentils, served usually with a sambhar (spicy lentil soup) and coconut chutney. The new Dosa Cart is run by a lovely Punjabi man from North India and my new BFF named Shahid (don’t ask me why a North Indian is serving up South Indian food – he may as well be serving tacos or something equally foreign to his palate). However, the quality of the dosa he made had even an Indian desi like myself fooled as to his possible home town in the Mother land.

The dosa was crisp and made with a well balanced batter ratio of rice and lentils. The potato filling was perfectly spiced and it was a neat trick to spread the filling across the dosa, which makes it far more portable than the way it is usually served up in a restaurant where the potatoes or “masala” are lumped in the center of the dosa. It was an almost perfect handheld device – a wrap to be dipped in the well-spcied accompanying sambhar.

Unfortunately Shahid had forgotten the coconut chutney that day, but substituted it quite well with the cilantro yoghurt dip he serves with his only other menu item….biryani!

Watch out biryani cart, you have some serious competition! I actually think Shahid’s version is better in many ways than the one served by Biryani Cart. Here’s why: Shahid’s biryani is a far more authentic Indian dish than the one served up by the Bangladeshis that run Biryani Cart. While the Biryani Cart’s biryani is delicious in its own right and I love the fiery-ness of the green habanero sauce on top, it is only a slight deviation from the regular “chicken & rice” that is over-abundant on the streets of NYC. Shahid’s biryani is much more classically balanced, with the flavors of cardamom, cloves and cinnamon along with the intoxicating aroma of saffron shining through. I truly felt like I was transported to my grand mother’s dining table as I was gobbling it down! He cooks the meat, rice and spices altogether in a large slow rice-cooker which allows all the flavors to really meld together to provide a more superior product. But don’t take my word for it…biryani lovers should go check it out for themselves! At $5, you would be hard pressed to find a better biryani in this city, from a street vendor or a proper Indian restaurant!

Both the biryani and dosa are very reasonably priced at $5 for a satisfying serving size. I even had the good sense to take photos of the preparation and food this time to make your mouth water and hopefully entice you to spend your lunch money at Shahid’s humble Dosa & Biryani Cart.

Shahid’s Dosa & Biryani Cart, NE Corner of 39th and 6th Ave.


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    looks good. I’d try it if he wasn’t 20 blocks away.

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    Looks great, I’d try it if he was there today- something I found out the hard way. In the rain.

  • Yeah that looks excellent. I’ll have to try that soon. But, GRAMMAR NAZI ALERT: You misspelled “Bangladeshis”! There’s no apostrophe in that! Sheesh.

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    @hitman– sadly a lesson I had to learn today too. Went to the Green Indian food truck instead and it was good.

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    Sorry for the spelling mistake Ike…and the rest of you who for trekking out in the rain today…Shahid must have been put off by the rain as well as he only has the cart not a truck. But I assure you thig guy’s food is worth it when you can find him. – Devina

    • Ummm, thanks for responding, but are you guys going to fix that apostrophe or what? Take pity on an obsessive-compulsive grammar freak here. Also, “Biryani’s Cart’s biryani” should be “Biryani Cart’s biryani.”

  • Minar in midtown has incredible Chicken Tikka Biriyani, and you get about 4 pounds of it…. the naan bread is also crazy good. This is my lunch standby, as I work about a block away from 46.

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    i tried this today… the dosa was perfectly crisp on the outside, and the texture of the masala on the inside was perfect (and VERY helpful that it was spread rather than lumped). But he had his back turned to me when he was pouring the sauces, and i didnt notice that they didnt give me coconut chutney or the cilantro yogurt dip. The sambhar was delicious tho, and not overly oily like i’ve found elsewhere.
    The biryani smelled and tasted delicious – it was extremely fragrant and complex in taste and aroma… but i only had about 4 small pieces of meat! What i had was well spiced and not at all dry, but they basically gave me a tub of rice (more than any human should eat in one sitting) with 4 small pieces of meat mixed in. Here’s where i really missed the absent sauces (i’m a condiment whooer).

    When he told me “just give me $9″ for both the dosa and biryani, i thought it was my lucky day… i’d rather have paid the extra dollar (if not more) to have gotten the extra meat and sauces. Perhaps i’ll try again and ask specially for the condiments, but if that’s all the meat they give, ill just head down to Minar.

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