Biryani House Cart May Be My New Favorite Street Meat Source In The FiDi
There have been a couple of new additions to the downtown cart scene recently, and I spotted another one last week with the Biryani House Cart, on Liberty St. (nr. Broadway). Midtown has the famed Biryani Cart and the Kati Roll shop and I was always a little jealous that we didn’t really have a cart or shop where you could consistently get good biryani or kati rolls, aka, Indian burritos. You have no idea how excited I was when I saw this cart had been added to the collection on Liberty St.
I happened to check out Biryani House on its second day of existence, and was excited to learn that it’s not just a transplant from midtown like its next-door neighbor the 99% Vegetarian Food Cart. Nope, this is a spankin’ new cart, as its friendly owner from Bangladesh told me.
They have quite a few things on the menu, including chicken and lamb over pulao rice ($5.50), falafel ($3.99 in a sandwich), fish specials ($7), chicken tikka masala ($5.50) and burgers ($4). Standing next to the owner was a younger guy quietly cutting up some deliciously-spiced looking chicken pieces. If that’s what goes into the kati rolls, then things are looking good. They also have quite the arsenal of sauces, although I was offered only the white and hot varieties.
I was a little sad the first time I visited that there was absolutely no line when I went at prime lunch time, but I’m just going to assume that’s because it was the day before a long holiday weekend. I placed my order for chicken biryani, and that’s when I noticed they sell kati rolls. I totally would have ordered those instead of the rice dish, but I consoled myself with the fact that I only have one stomach, and if you’re trying a place called the Biryani House for the first time, you should probably get the biryani.
The chicken biryani ($6) was dished up in a flash. When I opened up the container, I was at first disappointed there were only a couple of chunks of chicken on it (you can also get a vegetable variety), but then realized the meat was mixed into the biryani.
The rice was really flavorful and struck a nice balance of not being overly dry or greasy. There were some raisins mixed in and a halved hard-boiled egg on top. The hot sauce was also great, meaning that it was actually hot. The sign on the front of the cart says they have mango chutney, and it also looked like they have some sort of cilantro sauce. I don’t care if they charge me more, but I’m definitely trying chutney when I go back.
I really wanted to check out those kati rolls, so I went back the following day to do a little more “research.” I was also happy to see that there were a couple of people waiting for their food.
I got the lamb kati (two rolls for $6), and they also have chicken available so I would guess you can mix and match. These were some greasy little bundles, and I basically killed my hand picking it up, so beware of the hot, oil-soaked wrap.
Inside you will find the basic lamb gyro chopped up along with some onion, lettuce and tomato along with white sauce and hot sauce. My only complaint was that there wasn’t enough hot sauce in it, but that’s just my love of mouth-searing food. Aside from that, these things were awesome and filling for less than you would pay for a burrito from Chipotle.
I’m so happy that there are carts downtown willing to serve something other than chicken/lamb over rice and falafel from a cart, and to reward them I hope that the downtown lunch’ers give them a shot.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Anything is better when served from a cart, and biryani is no exception.
- They have deliciously greasy kati rolls. Mmm…grease.
- It’s something different from the standard chicken/lamb/falafel trifecta.
THE — (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- The biryani is good, but where’s the mango chutney?
- I can’t handle the grease contained in a kati roll, never mind how delicious they are.
Biryani House Cart, Liberty St. (nr. Broadway)