Hot Clay Oven’s Naan Wrap Is Tasty, But Too Pricey for Indian

Last week, Hot Clay Oven finally opened on 3rd Ave. (btw 44th+45th) in Midtown East. You probably already know the drill for the “Indian Chipotle“: you choose whether you want a wrap, naan wrap, rice bowl, or salad, and get to pick from a menu of proteins, toppings, and sauces. So, how does the newest location stack up?

Hot Clay Oven was seriously crowded when I stopped by, with a line that stretched outdoors. I suspect that word of their 50% off deal contributed mightily to this, despite the fact that the deal was over by the time I was there. Anyway, the roughly 20-minute wait gave me time to strategize for my meal.

I was tempted just to get a couple of their stuffed naans, each running for about $4, but decided to try out a naan wrap. After all, naan is great, so why not stuff it full of meat and fixings? I got mine with tandoori chicken, golden raisins, shredded carrot, peppers and onions, and yogurt chutney. And I have to say, it wasn’t perfect and at $8.75 (with tax) it was pricey, but it was still pretty good.

The naan wrap is pretty big and comes stuffed with a heaping portion of chicken. It can be messy to eat, but I found that if you unwrap the foil as you go, you can keep it together with little difficulty. The chicken was spicy and tasty, but it wasn’t the tandoori chicken I know and love, lacking the trademark red coloring. It matched well with the yogurt chutney, which cooled some of the spice but was way to thin. The sauce would’ve been much better had it been thicker like tzatziki.

The toppings were good as well. The raisins added some sweetness and the peppers and onions paired nicely with the chicken. I could take or leave the shredded carrots since they didn’t really add much. Certainly a better choice than shredded cheese, which has no place in Indian cuisine.

Oddly enough, the naan was perhaps the most disappointing part of the sandwich. They have a tandoori oven, so I’m not sure why this was, but it was too thick and tough, more like pita than naan. I’m assuming the naan are kept warm in a regular oven after baking in the tandoori, so maybe that’s the explanation. It also tasted oddly sweet, reminding me of a pancake.

So all in all, my experience with Hot Clay Oven’s naan wrap was pretty good, but not great. I guess it makes for a nice option if you’re in the mood for Indian but also want a sandwich or wrap. But then, as many have pointed out, why not just go for kati rolls or dosa? And why pay almost $9 for tandoori chicken on a subpar piece of naan when you can get it better and cheaper at a place like Nirvana? Both are good questions, and I’m not sure either answer is positive for Hot Clay Oven.

Hot Clay Oven, 708 3rd Ave. (btw 44th+45th St.), (212) 599-7650


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