I just finished a short term assignment tonight on the corner of 53rd
and 6th Avenue in NYC about a week ago. I was called in last minute, so I didn't eat
dinner before going in. I walked out of work around 10 pm and saws a
line of about 15 people at this food cart. It smelled really good
and I'd heard people I'd worked with in that area before talk about
this cart. As I got in line, I made the connection. This was the
cart that was always in the Vendy Awards each year for the best
street food in Manhattan.
As I looked around, there were about 20-30 more people quietly
sitting and eating their food. I knew this place was popular, but I
really started to get hungry watching all these people eat. The
choices break down 3 ways: a-platter with rice and pita (chicken,
beef or lamb) for $6.00, b-platter with pita (same meat choices, but
no rice)for $5.00, c-chicken, beef or lamb pita sandwich for $4.00.
Both of the platters come with lettuce, spicy red sauce and white
sauce. The sauces are on the side and this is key.
There were about 6 or 7 guys working this operation. One guy
took the orders and handled the money, 2 others handled the meats on
the flattop, another bagged up the orders, and I'm not sure what the
others were doing. The line moved quickly and I had my food in about 5 minutes. They also have a drink cart just a few yards away, so I grabbed a Coke and found a seat next to some other hungry patrons. I doused it in the white sauce and sprinkled on some red sauce. The red sauce is volcanic. I tasted some straight up and there is a serious pepper flavor to it. This really is for heat and NOT for flavor. It does pair well with the white sauce and the meat. The white sauce is tangy and I have no idea what is in it (yogurt possibly, similar to a tzatziki sauce). The meat is finely chopped and very tender, moist and lots of flavor. It is seasoned, but not so much that you can't taste the lamb or the chicken. The lettuce is crisp and the rice is a bright yellowish-orange and is cooked perfectly. I went there again with my girlfriend just last night and there was a crowd of people there again around 10:30 pm. If you're in the city, check it out. There is a website run by fans of this cart. It's www.53rdand6th.com.
This stuff is really addictive.
There are also lots of other carts from 53rd St to 49th Street around 6th Avenue during the day. Daisy May's has a cart on the corner of 50th St and 6th Ave and there are also taco carts, smoothie carts, hot dog carts, you name it!