Cheap Lunch! Tabla’s new street cart (11 Madison Avenue; Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm)
How cheap? $8 (Okay, not that cheap, but a lot more affordable than Tabla or Bread Bar.)
Chef Floyd Cardoz recently opened a street cart outside Tabla/Bread Bar. It serves frankies—a kind of Mumbai burrito, made with an eggy roti rolled around a filling—and bhel puri, a variety of chaat, the spicy-sweet-sour crunchy Indian snacks. There’s also kulfi, boiled peanuts and pomegranate lemonade.
I was really excited about this. I happen to love Tabla, and I think New Yorkers should eat more chaat in general. In fact, we should have chaat stands all over town! I think it would catch on quickly. At least, I’d be there everyday.
But anyway, I stopped by Tabla’s cart for lunch. You can see the menu and the pricing above.
Bhel puri is basically puffed rice and boiled, diced potatoes mixed with several chutneys and topped with sev, the fried vermicelli-like crunchy bits you can see in the picture below. The bland ingredients (puffed rice, potatoes, sev) are meant to be zipped up with the sour, sweet and spicy chutneys, and sometimes onion, chiles and tomatoes. This version was just a little bit disappointingly bland, with green mango standing in for sharp coriander chutney, and not enough tamarind chutney to lend sweetness. Bhel puri is not meant to be subtle; this one needed oomph. Still, it was tasty, and I bet if you asked them to make it stronger, they would.
The frankie was great, with garlicky, mint chutney-smeared chicken tikka inside. The pomegranate lemonade was refreshingly tart and not too sweet. So, if you get tired of waiting in line at Shake Shack, you can scamper over to Tabla for some Indian street food.
Chicken tikka frankie