Today, as promised, Angelo Sosa appeared at the Kati Roll Company’s Midtown branch to debut the shrimp masala roll he designed for the chainlet (there’s another outpost on MacDougal Street, as well as one in London). At 12:30, the line to try it extended almost to the narrow restaurant’s front door.
In the back of the restaurant, a small crowd clustered around Sosa, who was being interviewed under bright lights by a woman holding a microphone. “He’s so tall!” gushed one man to his friend, who assented. In the open kitchen, workers scrambled to fill orders orders and thrust skewer after skewer of shrimp on the grill. Eventually, Sosa joined them, patting backs and appraising their work.
So how was his roll?
Here’s the way it was described in a press release: “Shrimp, marinated in coconut milk and chaat masala spices, cooked over a open-flame grill and … topped with sweet and sour marinated red onions and birdseye chilis … and finished with a swath of cilantro sauce.”
We can personally attest to the fact that the shrimp were cooked on a grill, but evidence of their coconut milk and chaat masala marinade was a bit more elusive. That said, the shrimp was definitely flavorful, if a bit overcooked. The onions were pleasantly tangy, and while the cilantro sauce didn’t bowl us over with its cilantro-ness, it moistened the other ingredients and lent them added dimension. The chilis were most apparent, as the roll gave off a decent amount of heat.
Everything could have benefited from more acid — too bad the lime wedges pictured in the promotional photo were nowhere to be found. The bread holding all of the components together was pliant, savory, and faintly greasy. Unfortunately, a large portion of it was fused to the wax-paper wrapper.
Altogether, the roll was delectable if not more memorable than any of the regular rolls the restaurant serves. And like those other menu items, it’s on the slender side: One is a dieter’s idea of lunch, while two cater to more substantial appetites. Whether Midtown will flock to it once Sosa has left the building is hard to say, but shrimp have certainly befallen worse fates.
The Kati Roll Company
49 West 39th Street