Desi Shack’s Early Offerings Are Hit & Miss

Desi Shack
Few weeks ago, we brought you news that Desi Shack, an Indian restaurant, was set to open at the corner of 39th and Lexington Ave. Just by looking at the menu, it looked promising. $8.25 for chicken tikka with basmati rice plus some veggie sides. Also I was happy to see that they’re offering the equal number of meat options and veggie options (so veggie people aren’t stuck with just one option which is usually the case). So with an empty stomach I decided to try it out.

When you first walk in, you’re welcomed with a very clean, bright and minimalistic space. You start at the right side of the restaurant and tell the person behind the counter what option you want (chicken tikka, lamb kebab, aloo which is potato, or paneer which is cheese) then from there you can customize your meal however you want (hello, Indian Chipotle!)  I went with chicken tikka with basmati rice, corn salad and sauteed peppers and onions with the cucumber yogurt chutney ($8.25), samosa with cilantro mint chutney ($1.50) and a mango lassi ($3.50). So how was it?

As the girl was scooping the rice and chicken into the container, I was telling myself that it’s not going to be enough and I will get hungry pretty soon. And I was right but good thing I got a samosa to snack on.

Desi Shack

Desi Shack makes their samosa like a flat triangle pillow of goodness. Stuffed with aloo, a mixture of potatoes and spices, it was light, flavorful and perfectly crunchy with a nice creamy soft potato filling. The aloo had a delicious hint of cumin seeds as well. I tried dipping the samosa into the cup of cilantro mint chutney but the chutney was so watery it didn’t quite stick onto the samosa.

Desi Shack

Unlike the samosa, the chicken tikka with basmati rice was one big unsatisfying mess.  My first thought, when I opened the container with the yogurt sauce over the chicken and rice, was that it looked like street meat. So the entire time I was eating it, I was craving awesome street meat. The chicken, was white meat, had some nice grilled marks which offered some smokey flavor but sadly it was really dry. The basmati rice tasted just fine but it was hard. Both the corn salad and sauteed peppers and onions offered nothing to the meal. The cucumber yogurt had some tang to it but it didn’t improve anything, I was quite disappointed. I decided to pour all of the cilantro mint chutney hoping that at least it’ll give it some kick and it did. But since the cilantro mint chutney was so watery it just made what was an unsatisfying mess into an unsatisfying watery mess.

Desi Shack

Though thank goodness the mango lassi was a win. Full of mango flavor, it was very delicious and really hit the spot.

I’m really sad about my first taste of Desi Shack, though they are only a few weeks old.  There’s plenty of time to get better… and if the same aloo is being served for the entree as it is in the samosa, I might give Desi Shack another chance real soon.

The + (What somebody who likes this would say)

  • The samosa kicked ass.
  • I prefer white meat.
  • Mango lassi was great and refreshing.
  • They’ve only been open a few weeks!  It could definitely improve.

The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • White meat! No thanks.
  • The portion was a bit small.
  • Watery chutney.
  • Not much taste and left me unsatisfied.
  • I rather pay $5 for awesome street meat.

Desi Shack, 331 Lexington Ave at 39th St, 212-867-3374


  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    You put the location as 39th and 3rd at the top of the article. It’s at 39th and Lexington. You have the correct address at the bottom of the write up.

  • you should have just gotten a “whopper” at Black Shack across the street.

    Looks like Curry Hill isn’t moving up Lexington anytime soon.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I’m kinda confused that you’d get the salad when the place is clearly trying to rip off…er I mean ride the Kathi Roll trend. (I though the Lamb and the Paneer were kinda ehh.)

    Unlike say the kathi roll places in Curry Hill or that uber popular one over by Bryant Park, this whole place screams INDIAN CHIPOTLE!

  • Getting better, Donny T.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    OKAY SO.. for those who have obviously no sense at all.. and would rather put s…t in your system because it is practically free… here is a question how do you think those guys who prepare that food buy this food? and how so cheap?

    For those who would rather eat diarrhea food, I mean street food should go and enjoy it. I am not even sure why people are constantly trying to make a comparison…

    why can’t you go and enjoy it for yourself and form your own opinion posers?

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