Thelewala on MacDougal Street specializes in Indian street food, and we're huge fans of their kati rolls and other offerings. They makes several dishes that are hard to find in other Indian restaurants in New York, like lesser known chaats and uncommon variations on kati rolls, which they call nizami rolls.
In Kolkata (which you may know better as Calcutta) there are street vendors with pushcarts selling snacks and meals on the streets, known as thelewala. In the West Village, the restaurant Thelewala aims to reproduce that same experience here in New York, only "with better hygiene" (as the manager joked to me during my visit). That means casual, unpretentious, and cheap food. Yes, there are kati rolls, as Carey wrote about earlier, but there's a lot more on the menu.
The okra retains its bright green color and firm texture, and the filling is plenty flavorful thanks to purple onions and a tangy spice mix that adds a little bit of heat. The tender, flaky paratha wrapped around the veggies makes the whole thing work—why would anyone eat sad lunch 'wraps' when there's another option this delicious?
Cream-laden sauces and muted spices are still the norm at many Indian restaurants in New York City. But now a few hip, yet modest, Greenwich Village restaurants are shaking things up—offering both homesick Desis and adventurous Americans some surprisingly authentic Mumbai street food, snacks, and home cooking.
When we think about spiced-up sandwiches, we're not looking for those that blow our faces off with heat. Rather, we're after subtle and smart uses of chilies and hot spices that tickle our tongues and send us back for our bite. Here are 19 of our favorites in New York.
South Asian food in New York City is finally moving beyond tikka masala territory, and this week-long series will help you make the most of these heady times. Not sure of the difference between dosa and roti or how to distinguish good chaat from the rest? We've got you covered. Up today: Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Gujarat on India's western coast.