Flatiron Lunch: Tariq Cart Serves Excellent Indian Halal on Lower Park
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
I love it when readers write in to suggest lunch spots I might have neglected, overlooked, or just never walked by. So a huge thank you to Flatiron Lunch’er James for suggesting the cart on the corner of 19th and Park.
I arranged to meet a friend at the cart, which is named Tariq’s Cart with the subtitle of Halal Indian. The cart has two menus…the first with sandwiches, rolls, sides, etc.
The second menu has platters and salads. And check out those prices!! Not a platter above $6.
As I do when trying a new cart, I ordered the combo platter – lamb and chicken tikka on rice ($5.50). Note: they also have a chicken tikka masala platter option. Even without the masala sauce, the chicken was very flavorful and not at all dry. I ordered my platter with “everything”, which included iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red cabbage, red onion, a chickpea topping, and all the sauces. I think he left off BBQ sauce, but I think I got white sauce, Tariq’s special green sauce and Tariq’s hot green sauce. The sauces were great, especially the combination of all of them. You know when street meat sauces, meats, and rice all come together where almost every bite is perfect? That happened. And even though I was warned about the spicy, it wasn’t too hot for me.
The photos on the side of the cart show French fries with platters, but I had to inquire to have them added. It wasn’t an extra charge, but it wasn’t automatically included.
The chickpea topping thing was scooped into my platter and into the sandwiches. It was so tasty and good on all the dishes, the only problem was that the scoop was too small.
While they were adding all of my toppings, I asked if they had pickles to add to the platter. When I clarified that in my experience Indian food benefits from a pickled something, I could tell I was earning brownie points and suddenly my platter had a mini Chinese-type fried egg roll. It wasn’t great, but who doesn’t love freebies. And the guy making my platter – was it perhaps the cart’s namesake, Tariq? – was so friendly and nice. I loved having a smile with my lunch order.
My friend ordered a lamb kati roll ($3). The roll came with her options of toppings, so she customized to her taste which included less spicy sauce than I ordered, but still plenty saucy. (And that chickpea mixture added so much flavor!)
Since a single kati roll didn’t seem like enough for lunch, she also got a chicken tikka sandwich which came on a pita-type bread. She preferred this sandwich in part because of the fluffier bread, but both were winners.
According to Lunch’er James, “Only downer is that his menu isn’t accurate in terms of prices. Some dishes that are 5.50, he asks for 6 dollars, which isn’t a big deal, especially factoring in the freebies he gives. ” Honestly, when I went to pay for our meals (combo platter, kati roll, sandwich and a tea), I handed over a $20 and got some change back. I think I got $6 back, but I wasn’t totally paying attention, I was too busy wondering what extra item was thrown into my platter.
THE + (What people who like this place will say)
- The food and sauces at Tariq’s all hit the mark.
- Tariq – or at least the guy running the cart – is incredibly nice. I would come back just to buy lunch from someone so friendly.
- Glad to have a Halal Indian cart option in this part of town.
THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)
- The photos show fries, so it isn’t fair I have to remember to request them on the platter.
- Freebies are good, but they are better if they are actually good.
- The “spicy” sauce wasn’t really so spicy.
Tariq’s Cart, North West Corner of 19th and Park Avenue, (347) 757-2736