Kolette’s Kitchen Pushes the Banh Mi Boundaries With Chicken Shawarma

Kolette's KitchenI’ve been curious about the kosher banh mi sandwiches at Kolette’s Kitchen (on Lex btw 55+56th) since Amy told us that the Classic wasn’t half bad. Well, if they could do a respectable kosher (aka no pork) version of our beloved banh mi, what about this other hybrid sandwich we heard about, the Chicken Shawarma Banh Mi? What is that all about? Spicy, chicken deliciousness apparently!

Chicken Shwarma Banh Mi

I made my way to Kolette’s a little later than my usual lunchtime, to a nearly empty storefront. A few people were there eating soup or sandwiches, and the people working there were friendly to all of us in some way. Just like we’ve been hearing, this spin on the banh mi came on fresh bread, and you get to choose your level of spiciness. Since I was still getting over being sick, I decided to go with the medium level. The bottom piece is slathered with mayonnaise and their veggie paté, then topped by the chicken. I found the chicken cooked to tender and in a well seasoned sauce. Carrots, cucumbers, and cilantro top the whole thing off, and you have a Vietnamese Chicken Shawarma Banh Mi.

Chicken Shwarma Banh Mi

For $7.50, I found this to be a good-sized sandwich. They’re generous with the chicken, enough to fill you up, but not so much that you end up in an afternoon food coma. Plus, all of the flavors combine together nicely. The medium heat was just enough for me without becoming overwhelming. The carrots add the necessary banh mi crunch, which may be heightened by adding some pickled daikon. Toss in the fresh bread, and this sandwich is completely worthy of being added to the Midtown East rotation.

Kolette’s Kitchen, 672 Lexington (btw. 55+56th), (212) 593-2222


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    I had this sandwich about a month ago and it was delicious. Daikon would be a great addition, but it was pretty good without.

  • so, i suppose they call it chicken shawarma because it has middle eastern seasonings on it? just wondering…

    also, if they could swap out the veggie pate for a kosher chicken liver pate, it would be the bomb diggity.

    i think i see thin slices of cucumber in there. yum

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    Shawarma is usually meat cooked on a spit like a gyro cone.

    More specifically, being that they are Israeli…according to Wiki:

    In Israel, shawarma is a street food and offered in meat restaurants. Introduced by Mizrachi Jews and Arab citizens of Israel, the dish has become ubiquitous. It was most commonly made of lamb in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s, a switch was made in favor of turkey or chicken. After 2000, lamb/veal mix began to appear, though turkey shawarma remains the most common by far. Often the rotating skewer is placed at the front of the fast-food stand, exposed to the street. Shawarma is served in a pita or a lafa and is usually eaten with salad, hummus or french fries. In Jerusalem, the lafa is called ‘esh tanur’. One of the condiments in demand is Amba.

    You should read the entire wiki entry:


  • Went there today. There seemed to be a stream of people coming in to try this. Good sandwich. I’m curious to try their Vietnamese fish sandwich.

    This place doesn’t look like it gets too crowded, so it could be a good lunch spot.

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    I went to day and though it was good, not great, and overpriced at $7.50 + tax. The flavor of the chicken was excellent and the bread was very good, but it didn’t all come together in my opinion. A unique, only-in-NY option that I may return to if the mood strikes.

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