What Not To Do At Bombay Fast Food
For vegetarians or anyone who observes meatless days, Monday or no, I’ve continued my quest for variety via sans-meat dishes. I ventured to Bombay Fast Food, a vegetarian restaurant in the 6th avenue “food court”. Formerly Khodiar Indian, Taj Deli, and the Newstand… Bombay Fast Food shares a restaurant with a Pizza King (a joint in the genre of establishments that MJP has been so scrupulously critiquing in his cheap pizza slice investigation).
Zach crafted an *incredibly* helpful guide by translating their menu back in 2008. Why? The menu is almost completely void of the English language. I was looking forward to my adventure, and I had pre-planned what I would order before I went. I was interested in the dahi puri, (pani puri described blow with yogurt) and the methi pakoda, fried veg made with fenugreek. At $4.99 and $5.99 respectively, these “snacks” were going to run me slightly over $10, but I wanted to try both.
Ordering was a disaster, but I will take much of the blame for that. I asked for my pre-planned items, but they had run out of the Methi. To try to figure something else out, I asked if they had anything spicy. They said no, the samosas were a little spicy, but that was all. I wanted something more interesting than a samosa. Bewildered, I randomly chose a random chaat off of the menu and then mistakenly added a pani puri (not what I had planned — I really wanted the yogurt in the dahi puri). For whatever reason, this was translated into one pani puri, and one jinormous bowl of green hot sauce that I thought was my other dish because I didn’t know what to expect. I thought perhaps there was stuff in the bowl I couldn’t see, but no. Pure green sauce.
By the time I realized the error, the line was so long and the counter was so crowded, I figured I had neither the time or the will to fix my situation, because I knew I would hold up everyone else also waiting for their food. But looking on the bright side, I was trying pani puri, a popular Indian street food, for the first time ever. As Zach noted before, pani puri is summarized by wikipedia. It’s a crunchy unleavened bread pillow with a circle cut from the top, filled with a spicy water, tamarind, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas.
Although this was my first time trying and I hesitate to be too critical, I thought the puri cups were just slightly stale. But perhaps this is the texture they always have. The hot sauce was nice on the pani puri, but it was incredibly hot. I like food spicy, but too much of this stuff is brutal.
The fillings were soft, only barely salted, and perhaps overpowered by the raw red onion. Overall the dish wasn’t bad, and it was a fun adventure. But holding true to it’s “snack” status, it wasn’t incredibly filling. For $5.99, I’m not sure if I could, in clear conscience, say it was a good deal.
Another customer was eating a nice helping of what I wish I would have ordered. It appeared to be the $6.99 Regular Thali that included 3 pieces of roti, 2 veggies, dal, basmati rice, a pickle, a salad, and a sweet. Fail on my part. It looked like a much better deal. The menu in the picture above, by the way, is just a small portion of the menu (full menu is available at grubhub). It stretches around the counter in all its indecipherable glory. Next time, I’ll print out Zach’s informative post to help.
Any recommendations for dishes or deals at Bombay Fast Food? Has the quality suffered from its identity crisis? With so many unexplored dishes, I really feel like I need to go back there to try more.
Bombay Fast Food, 1013 6th Ave. (btw. 37+38th), 212-840-3767