Downtown Lunch: Lahore Pakistani Fast Food

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.) This week, I’m particularly curious about this Pakistani “Hamburger”

Downtown Lunch: Lahore

If you’re walking up Crosby to Houston and you blink, you’ll miss Lahore, where according to the take out menu you can, “Feel the taste of East.” Personally I feel like their name and slogan may have gotten mixed up with a shady massage parlor, but I went in anyway on the recommendation of a friend who frequents this Pakistani Cabbie Stand.

Downtown Lunch: Lahore

Something I just had to try was the $4 chicken sandwich, which is a nice blend of east meets west. A take on a burger, they start you off with a seeded bun with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and onions, and then instead of a burger or chicken breast, it’s a chicken kebab that has been flattened into a patty. It was my favorite thing although not quite filling for an entire meal, but if you get an extra patty, or a samosa, for $1 more you’d be good to go. A typical looking vegetable samosa goes for $1 but according to a TONY article written in 99 it used to be 75 cents.. not such a bad price hike considering that was almost 10 years ago.

Downtown Lunch: Lahore

I tasted a $6 meal which came with one meat (they offer chicken and goat as options), rice, and two vegetables. I went with the chicken curry with potatoes/peas (served too cold) and lentils (excellent). The chicken portion was slim but flavorful. I’m not sure how the roti is although they held one up for a photo op when I was finished eating. The roti is homemade off site, and then warmed up to order.

Downtown Lunch: Lahore

In the humble opinion of this photographer (remember that’s what I am, not a food critic) Pakistani Tea House beats them on almost every level. The meals at PTH are more expensive but the quality I feel surpasses this joint. I did really like that sandwich but it’s a bit meager for $4, for two patties you hit $5, and we almost expect more for a place at that price, maybe somewhere to sit down? Maybe I’m just getting spoiled because of all the cheap eats downtown? (That was a jab at Zach).

If you go, don’t eat inside. This place is strictly grab and go. If you stay you’ll be wedged in between cases of food, supplies, and many regulars who come in and out very quickly. I feel like it must be tough with the increased rents in that area, but they’ve been slinging samosas for the past 14 years.  Hopefully this isn’t Cabbies Last Stand.

Lahore, 132 Crosby Street (nr. Houston), 212-965-1777

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  • Hmm, must check out PTH then! Haha I like how you said “I’m a PHOTOGRAPHER, not a FOOD CRITIC” – everyone’s a critic! You know what you like!
    And Zach, I will gladly click on your ads and help you out anyway I can, but that ad is just OFFENSIVE. “5 Tips to Get a Flat Stomach”??? On a food site?! Come on now :P

  • so, I know we’ve gone over this, but I’m still confused: roti isn’t like a dumpling?

  • So this place has been on my daily commute for about 5 years. It is, single-handedly, the stinkiest restaurant in the western hemisphere. There is a precise riptide of vital stinkal tete-a-tete midway between this place and the gas station on the corner. If you are not careful, the tidal effect will carry you right up to the bar in Puck Tavern and put a pint of Olde Speckled Hen in your belly. Very, very dangerous.

  • You drink on the way to work Crackhead? I see your name is fitting.

    sarah – roti is flat bread..its the stuff the guy was holding up.

  • @ Daniel: sure, but is it ever different in different cuisines? I might have been lead astray by a trinidadian-american friend telling me roti was caribbean dumplings. and I live in Crown Heights and some of the Jamaican places around me have like “Vegetable Roti”… I mean I know I could just go order vegetable roti and see what I got, but… well I’m at work now and I’m bored and wondering about this…

  • Sarah you Trini-freind was probably talking down to you in a way. Thought you’d understand dumpling as an adjative.. it’s pretty far from it, size wise at least.
    Roti.. hum kinda like a burrito. Stuff it with what you want.

  • this place is open 24 hours, by the way, and makes wonderful chai tea ($1). I have stumbled in here many a drunken night and early morning. I’ve always stuck to their veg offerings, though (except one time when, after having them fill a takeout container with some of pretty much every veg curry they had, I noticed the chicken patties and made them stuff one of those in also. absolutely no recollection of how it tasted, except that it was all nice and spicy)

  • I think in most cases roti just refers to fried bread, which can be different from culture to culture. I know sometimes it refers to a stuffed piece of fried bread (which in some ways could be considered a dumpling?) And there are Trinidadian “doubles”, which is like a roti sandwich… I’m guessing some people may just refer to that as just roti as well. (Since it is two pieces of puffed up roti, with a filling in between.)

  • alright! thanks guys! you have enlightened me thoroughly. Perhaps I should stop questioning and start eating such thing…

  • Good god folks! While eating all this food it would not hurt to learn a thing or two about it. Roti is definitely South Asian fare(India, Pakistan etc…). When the British ruled more than half the world they needed workers for their far flung colonies(example Carribbean which had lots of plantations or another example South Africa especially mines)…so they recruited/forced South Asians who were considered good source of labor…so they brought along their cuisine…which became a hybrid of the cuisine of the land they worked in. Also, the natives and these workers intermningled. Thus their is a distince ethnic difference between a West Indian and an East Indian.

    The dry bread in the picture is in most places in Pakistan and India referred to as a roti…notice it is not fried. If it was fried it would be called a paratha.

    Someone mentioned doubles which is basically again from south asian influence. In most places in Pakistan and India the fried bread in a double is called a Puri and the chickpea or potato stuffing is usually served on a separate plate. But in trinidad and other places like it they combine the bread and stuffing to form a kind of round ball sandwich…which I think is mighy cool.

    Hope u found this informative and a bit tasty! CIAO!

  • I wish I had abrain. I mean….a brain.

  • ya this place is a cab stand, but I just don’t find the food flavorful or generous. PTH is boring now, Pak Punjab on 1st and 1st (or is it 2nd on 2nd) is actually pretty good, and I’m totally bored of the place on houston and essex as well. late night indian food just ain’t what it used to be.

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    Hi every1 , i work here, em v happy to c tht pplz like this place tht much, and i really appreciate tht person who create this topic, even i dun know tht much as he/she explain, my english is not tht gud if i say something wrong, excuse my language

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