Lovers of Goat, You Have a Friend in the New Hyderabad Cart
Yes, Hyderabad. A city in south India, which is one of the main hubs for Biryani cuisine. It also happens to be the name of one of the newest Indian Halal carts in Midtown, located between Tuk Tuk Boy and Toast Monster on the corner of 50th and 6th on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
As I stumbled upon this cart on a particular Wednesday, I was looking for a lighter lunch after giving into an 11am bagel, and couldn’t help but be stopped in my tracks by what followed Hyderabad in large type font: “Goat Kacchi Biryani.” Urban lunch adventure here I come!
Despite the small cart, the choices at Hyderabad are almost endless. They offer vegetarian kati rolls and non-vegetarian kati rolls, which all hover around $6 and under, vegetarian platters, such as daal and rice, Palak Paneer, or non-vegetarian platters, such as Chicken Tikka Masala and Karachi Chicken which vary in price anywhere from $4-7, Biryani dishes ($6-9), dosas ($6), grilled Tilapia and rice ($7), and you can even order pita bread with a kabob and salad for $3.50. The cart even has a picture of a hot dog on it (though it wasn’t on the official menu), but I wouldn’t be surprised if they delivered upon you asking for one.
Though I was initially intrigued by their Goat Kacchi Biryani, it was Wednesday and the goat only makes its appearance on Tuesdays and Fridays, plus I wasn’t that hungry to begin with, so I ordered the Aloo Masala Kati Roll. For $4.50, this was a nice mini burrito of a snack. The potatoes were well seasoned and mashed nicely together with peas, red onion, carrot, and wrapped very tightly in a greasy, albeit tasty, piece of parantha (Indian flatbread). It wasn’t particularly spicy compared to other Aloo Masala Kati Rolls that I’ve had, but I still thought it was pretty good.
After getting a little taste of the cart on Wednesday, I decided to go back on Friday for the special event – the Goat Kacchi Biryani. I wasn’t actually sure what “Kacchi Biryani” meant, but I later learned that it’s a method of preparation where the raw, marinated meat and rice are cooked together at the same time, and usually only refers to goat or lamb (as opposed to chicken or beef). The biryani rice definitely dominates this dish, which I enjoyed very much, but there actually wasn’t as much goat as I thought there would be. However, the individual pieces of goat that I did have were very tender with much of the fat removed. Both the goat and the rice went really well with the mint cilantro sauce that was drizzled over the whole dish.
As I dug my way to the bottom of the box, I found two giant bones with meat around them, however the meat around the bone is a little tough and better just to suck on. Hyderabad also gives you a small spoonful of “garlic pickle” condiment with the biryani, which was an amazing addition that I had never had before. It’s essentially a sweet and sour pickled garlic in olive oil with raisins and almonds. In addition to the mint cilantro sauce, the garlic pickle really added an overall zing to the whole meal. I would probably ask for more of it next time.
After having expanded my palette from Friday’s lunch, I decided to go back to Hyderabad and experiment some more by ordering another thing that I had never eaten before: Uttapam ($6), which is filed under ‘dosas’ on the menu and is otherwise known as “Indian pizza.” Uttapam is a thick pancake that is cooked with vegetables and served open (as opposed to dosas which has a thinner, crepe-like shell that is filled after cooking the crepe and wrapped.)
Uttapam is often served with sambar, which is a vegetable stew. The sambar felt really similar to a lentil soup, but more hearty with a variety of vegetables including peas, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, lima beans, zucchini, and additionally spiced with bay leaves and coriander. However, I was a little unimpressed with the Uttapam, which was thick, and a bit doughy in the middle, with toppings of tomatoes, green peppers, red onion, and red pepper. The Uttapam did come with a green coconut chutney which made the whole thing pop a little bit, but overall was not as exciting as the biryani.
I think that the next time that I visit Hyderabad, I’ll stick with the rice dishes and platters, as that is where the cart seems to shine. A lot of people were ordering chicken tikka masala (which you can order as a small at $5 or large at $7) or the daal and rice, so those seem to be the winners there, as opposed to the dosas. And of course, if you love goat, definitely hit this place up!
The + (What Somebody Who Likes this Place Would Say)
- One of the few goat vendors in Midtown
- Garlic Pickle Goes with EVERYTHING. Want more Garlic Pickle!
- A great selection of different dishes
The – (What Somebody Who Doesn’t Like this Place Would Say)
- Not a lot of goat meat in the biryani, and for $9, I would want more
- Though the selection is wide, but the uttapam and kati rolls aren’t their strongest
- Stick with the rice dishes
Hyderabad Cart, 50th & 6th on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays