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Ode to Kati Rolls

By January 09, 2013 , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The original Kati Roll Company at McDougal and Bleecker in Greenwich Village

New York City is known for its world class restaurants serving up high-brow foods, culinary delights the names of which you can’t pronounce, and cuisines from countries you haven't even have heard of. While that’s all well and good, I contend that you cannot have experienced an honest to goodness meal in New York unless you’ve been to The Kati Roll Company. The Kati Roll Company is the anti-thesis of all that I just described. It’s a hole-in-the-wall which speaks of quiet assertitude, unassuming from the outside but bold in its offering of a disarmingly simple yet wholesome meal inside…the namesake kati roll.

So you may ask, what is a kati roll and why haven’t I heard of The Kati Roll Company if it’s so good? Kati roll is a type of street food that originated from Calcutta but may be called by different names in other parts of India. I liken a kati roll to an Indian snack wrap. It is essentially a warm paratha (type of Indian bread) rolled up with different kinds of stuffing, such as paneer, chickpea, potato, lamb, or chicken, along with chutney and other spices. Somehow in a small pocket of an island called Manhattan, The Kati Roll Company has become a well-known establishment (at least among Indians). So why do I go to The Kati Roll Company for my kati roll fix? Here's why:

1. Kati rolls hit the spot any time of day on the cheap – I’ve been known to grab a kati roll before catching a summer movie in the park and even at 3 AM after a big night out ('cuz I'm bad ass like that...).

2. The Kati Roll Company has the most delicious kati rolls in town. Period.

3. The restaurant interiors have vintage posters of old, "masala" Bollywood films from yesteryears. There’s no denying the smouldering gaze of Amitabh Bachchan that emanates from the Laawaris movie poster. Go on, he says, have another roll...

4. There’s even a kati roll song!

So next time you’re hit with a craving for something beyond falafels or hot dogs in the city, try a kati roll and tell me if it lives up to the hype I created. Good, bad, meh?

On a slightly different note, I’m curious about the Taco Bell in India. In an ongoing effort to appeal to the Indian taste, Taco Bell in India recently introduced a Mexicanized version of the kati roll. Here are a couple of the ads:
I can’t decide whether these ads are PC or not.  In any case, I do think they’re kinda cute, and the idea is genius! A kati roll with pico de gallo, guac, and other Mexican flavors sounds like a kick-ass kati roll to me. If anyone from India is reading this, I’m dying to know how the “kathitto” tastes! Yummytto or suckytto? Sound off here!

For more of my reviews of other inane foods and drinks, check out this post on paan and that post on canned bubbly. Please note that these reviews are based on our own opinions and are not endorsed by anyone.

Source for Taco Bell top and bottom ads

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  1. I need to take Stan here - I think he will love it!

  2. wow taco bell in India, tats news to me! i love kati roll, well didnt knw it was called kati roll coz in bombay we call it a 'frankie' - same concept just different name. So the first time I stepped in kati roll co. didnt knw what to expect or maybe i was expecting a gujju dish, cuz kati roll sounded gujju to me :D
    I tried the food at Masala Times in Greenwich village during my last trip to NYC and I would highly recommend it to you..esp the kheema pav, that is something we ate on the streets of bombay and havent had a chance to eat it here. and again I think it stays open late so perfect place to snack after a bar-hopping spree :) love the decor of that place too, very filmy!


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