Hokey smokes. I have just discovered a new beloved lunch place to add to the shortlist. Oh, heavens.
The Kati Roll Company is on 46th between 6th Avenue and Times Square. They sell kati rolls, which are six-inch rounds of paratha bread wrapped around a filling. It’s Calcutta’s street-food answer to the wrap sandwich. Apparently they’ve had a teeny tiny little place down in the Village for a while, but I’d not heard of them until they opened their new spot a half-block from my office. It’s a long skinny restaurant with a few tables and a mess of Bollywood movie posters. The posters featured the same actor over and over. I’ll need to find out who he was.
KTRC only serves the one thing: kati rolls. I bought two of them. The first was a shaami kabab roll. Shaami is ground lamb spiced with cardamom and plenty of black pepper. It had a crumbly texture, with plenty of crispy bits, reminiscent of a really good griddle-fried hash. The meat was mixed in with a vegetable pickle (peppers, sweet red onions). The dense paratha was warm and just a little greasy. By the time I finished the thing, my sinuses were singing, and my taste buds were dancing. Yow. So good. The other roll was chicken tikka—spicy, a little sour (lime juice?), a little charred—again served with the pickle. Other rolls contained a spicy potato mixture, paneer cheese, other grilled meats—even one with meat and egg, which I’ve since learned is one of the most traditional forms. You can bet I’ll be back to sample the menu further. Damn, that was tasty.
The two rolls made for a filling lunch, and cost me about $9, which is at the high end of their price spectrum. Depending on what you order, you can do two for $6. If you’re not all that hungry, or just looking for a snack with some substance to it, you’ll be fine with one, and the most expensive of them costs under $5. Check it out.