Midtown Kati Krawl Yields Definitive Winner
When you’re the food blogger in the family you often get co-opted into the food decider role–the person in charge of picking the food outing that the whole family will enjoy. I love introducing people to new foods, but still it comes with a good bit of pressure. Months ago I introduced my husband’s aunt to kati rolls and she’s been raving about them ever since. With my husband’s mother, brother and sister in town it was clear that kati rolls would be on tap and with so many eager eaters it seemed an apt opportunity to embark on a kati krawl.
The rules of the krawl were this–carts and trucks only. Sorry Kati Roll Co, but this was an all mobile food adventure. Here’s where we hit and what we had:
We began our krawl at Sami’s Dosa Cart where I had noticed that they were selling vegetarian kati rolls. As I mentioned in my Sami’s review: “The kati rolls from the cart are vegetables only and pre-rolled and reheated (most places heat the paratha then add the filling). They seemed to be filled with carrot and onion, almost like an Indian spiced egg roll.” There weren’t many fans in the group for this kati roll, so I would suggest sticking with the delicious dosas here.
Next up we headed to the Desi Food truck on 50th between 6th and 7th. We tried to hit the 39th street Desi Food Truck but they weren’t out that day. Since I’ve never tried the kati rolls from the Desi Food Truck we ordered one of each. The Aloo Masala and Chicken Rolls were each $4.50 and the Paneer Masala and Chicken Anda Rolls were $5.50.
The Desi Food Truck had thicker paratha than I’m used to so it was a little more dense and chewy. The rolls themselves were larger than at Biryani Cart, but if you have a larger appetite I would venture that you’d probably want more than one for lunch. The chicken roll had a nice after kick of spice. The majority of the group preferred the chicken roll to the Chicken Anda roll- the consensus was that the “egg muted the flavor.” My family tends to be intensely pro-spice, so you can take that for what it’s worth.
The tender aloo filling was topped with cilantro sauce. We didn’t find this to be overwhelmingly hot, but it was very pleasant.
The Paneer roll drew mixed reviews from the group. I love a good paneer roll, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately the cilantro sauce was unevenly distributed so some of the bites were on the bland side. If you like hot sauce I would recommend asking for extra here.
Next up was the Biryani Cart (on 46th and 6th) where the Kati Rolls are 2 for $6. I ordered a Pune Roll (chaat masala chicken), a King Koti Roll (Tikka Glazed Chicken), a Chennai Roll (Sweet Chili Chicken) and the Spicy Buradi (chicken with mint habanero sauce). At this time they had not debuted their Paneer Roll yet, so I wasn’t able to order it. We were already pretty loaded up on rolls so we didn’t order the two vegetarian rolls from the Biryani Cart.
All of the rolls from the Biryani Cart vanished quickly with the spicy/sweet/sour Chennai and the extra spicy Buradi rolls were the hands down favorite of the group. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law couldn’t stop raving about how good they were. Biryani Cart is my go to kati purveyor, so over time I’d lost an appreciation for how tender and lightly buttery their paratha are. Having a slew of different kati rolls in a row renewed my appreciation for their paratha.
The last addition to our krawl were the relatively new kati rolls from Kwik Meal (on 45th and 6th), $3.50 each or 2 for $6 that Chris first reviewed in January. The vegetable roll was stuffed with an assortment of veggies: broccoli, corn, onion, pepper, and if I’m not mistaken, water chestnut. The chicken was rich and flavorful and both rolls were dressed with Kwik Meal’s famous white and hot sauce. The paratha was thinner, less buttery and a bit crispier than at any of the other carts. It also was the messiest and readily fell apart.
To recap our highly unscientific taste taste/food crawl. Sami’s rolls get a skip, Desi Food Truck on 50th were okay but didn’t overwhelm the group, Kwik Meal’s rolls showed great promise and got the thumbs up from my brother-in-law’s girlfriend who favored their thinner wrapper, but overall, Biryani Cart by a large margin won the day with their Spicy Buradi and Chennai rolls.