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.