King Koti Roll @ The Biryani Cart
“I’m here for the world famous kati roll.”
This is what I heard behind me as I stood engulfed in a sea of nondescript dress shirts and khakis. No, they didn’t start selling kati rolls at Banana Republic, I was waiting in front of the Biryani Cart a week after they were mentioned in the New York Times. Not sure what I was thinking, but hunger sometimes clouds a otherwise sensible mind. About twenty minutes later, I got my order and I was off with two kati rolls in tow.
They now have vegetarian kati rolls at the Biryani Cart, which I’ll have to get around to writing about soon (they’re a good option along side one of the chicken kati rolls), but this week I was in the mood for some chicken, so I ordered my two favorites rolls: the King Koti Roll (pictured left) and the Spicy Buradi Roll (pictured right). Any two rolls are six dollars.
All the kati rolls at the Biryani Cart are wrapped in store-bought chapati, as opposed to the house-made parathas at Kati Roll, but for some reason it works. The chewy bread is deliciously buttery and slightly crisp from the hot chicken and lamb seasoned flat top. It’s definitely greasy, but when dining at a street cart, I’m not expecting or wanting a healthy meal. I’m there for a quick soul-satisfying fix.
The King Koti Roll is filled with the same yogurt and spice marinated chicken in the cart’s Tikka Masala rice dish, along with shredded lettuce, cucumbers, and onions. There isn’t a strong Tikka Masala tomato flavor to the roll, but it’s still tasty; the dark chicken meat is juicy with just enough spiciness. If you don’t like dark meat, you should probably stay clear of this cart, or any street cart for that matter. And be forewarned, you may bite into some cartilage. On my very last visit, there were a few bits of cartilage here and there. All the rolls I’ve had previously didn’t have this problem. I think it may have to do with the the cart being overwhelmed by the current demand. Hopefully, it’ll go away along with the one-time kati roll thrill seekers, but if not, it’s not a big deal.
The Spicy Buradi Roll (grilled chicken in a mint habanero sauce) is similar to the King Koti Roll but much hotter. Along with peppers, Sriracha is thrown into the mix to guarantee for some serious mouth burn. Tread lightly in Buradi Roll territory unless you can handle the heat. I know I do. After a bender the night before, I usually opt for the safer, more stomach-friendly kati roll: the King Koti. However, if all systems are go, nothing’s better from a New York street cart than spicy chicken with mint habanero sauce, white sauce, and Sriracha in a buttery chapati.
Considering the recent Biryani Cart madness, I think I’ll be taking a break for a week or two until the hoopla dies down. Twenty minutes is too long for me, considering my lunch break is only an hour. But if the demand continues, I’m hoping the always empty Sandwichland Cart next door, also owned by Meru Sikder, becomes a full-fledged Kati Roll cart. I had a lamb and chicken pita there a few moths back, and although it was decent and priced right ($4), it wasn’t so good I ever went back. Now a Kati Roll Land Cart is something I’d keep on going back to. Wouldn’t you?
The Biryani Cart
46th Street (betw 6th Ave & 7th Ave, closer to 6th on the south side)
New York, NY 10036