Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Kati Roll Company - Home of The Indian Burrito

When I received a text message from The Cuz asking if I have ever heard of the “Indian burrito” I was intrigued, and when the free hor’douvers failed to appear at the Uncle Luke meet and greet, we decided to head over the Kati Roll Company to check them out. Kati Roll Company is located on MacDougal Street, an infamous area known for its comedy clubs, ethnic food and poor-man's Bourbon Street atmosphere. As we rolled up, the place was packed with struggling comics, poor college students and drunken businessmen, well into their second happy hour. Upon first appearance the Kati Roll Company looks like it has just opened, with an unplugged fridge, surrounded by drink flats, and walls that are sparsely decorated with Indian movie posters (one of them being for the Indian release of The Matrix. Despite it's appearance The Cuz informed that it's been open for years and is infamous in the NYU late night drunk food scene.

As we saddled up to the service bar, we were greeted with a sparse and pleasantly simple menu. With only eight options (sixteen if you count the special deal for ordering two of the same roll), one gets the feeling that the Kati Roll Company knows exactly what they are doing. After a surprisingly long deliberation on what to order, The Cuz leaned over to me and told me to order two rolls. I told him I was hungry, but not ravenous, and he simply looked at me and said, "Trust me, when you finish your first one, you're going to want another one right away."

Each roll is made to order, so when I finally decided on the chicken tikka roll and the achari paneer roll (with a can of Orange Fanta), I knew there would be a bit of wait. Each roll started off with a freshly fried paratha, which is an Indian styled flat bread, and then topped with their respected ingredients. The chicken tikka roll received generous morsels of marinated chicken, while the achari paneer received large cubes of Indian cottage cheese marinated in a spicy pickle sauce, and then each roll received a nice helping of mixed veggies. Each roll was topped with a healthy shake of secret spices, rolled up and served in wax paper and foil.

I attacked the chicken tikka first and let’s just say it delivered. Every bite had a perfect mix of chicken, veggies and spice. The crispy paratha complimented the tender meat, while the spices reminded me of my trips to Brick Lane. Although not technically like a burrito, the roll took the Indian staple to a different level a flavor and approach.

As I devoured the last bite of the chicken tikka roll and I caught The Cuz’s eye. Without saying a word, I gave him a knowing look and immediately started in on the achari paneer. I was happy to have saved this roll for second. The creamy cheese had softened and slightly melted all of the flavors together. Again perfectly spiced, this roll was definitely the better of the two and recommended for anyone who loves the classic Indian mix of dairy and vegetables.

As I inhaled the last bite of my Kati rolls and stared at the pillaged wax paper and foil wrappings, I begin to eye the menu. One was definitely not enough and two brought me to the edge of being full, but I thought a third one would be the perfect amount. The Cuz saw my deliberation and simply shook his head and said, “Trust me, you do not want a third one. Believe me, I know from experience”. And with that, I finished my Fanta, licked the wax paper and made a mental note to return as soon a possible.

Kati Roll Company is located at 99 MacDougal Street in New York City.

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