What’s so special about Indian sandwiches? Well, everything. Rather than deli meat piled high, they tend to rely on smaller portions of cooked meat or veggies, liberally doused with spices, and rolled up into a wrap, pressed into a bun, or spread between two pieces of bread. The restaurants listed below offer some of the best Indian sandwiches in Manhattan. By Jessica Allen.
Like hot dogs for New Yorkers, vada pav is the typical Mumbaikar’s street food of choice. Everyone has an opinion about why his/her local version is better than yours, and everyone is right. Bombay Duck Co., in the West Village, makes a mean one, and you don’t have to argue with anyone to enjoy it. Its take on vada pav smooshes a fried potato patty into a soft bun. Speaking of potato patties, the batata vada, or potato croquettes, are perfect on their own, just in case you can’t get enough of these carbs.
Now serving its gourmet sandwiches from a sliver of a shop in Chelsea, Bombay Sandwich Company first found fame and glory at various food markets throughout the city, including Hester Nights. Indeed, the Smorgasburg Sweet Potato is named for just such an event, and comes with spring onion, cilantro, ginger, carom seeds, dried cranberry, and, of course, sweet potato, nestled against 7-grain bread and topped with green and date chutneys, chickpea flakes, and pickled carrots.
Begging to be franchised, indikitch opened this year in the Flatiron district, trying to do for Indian what Chipotle has done for Mexican. You pick your meat or veg, such as chicken tikka, goan fish, or saag paneer, in conjunction with your calorie-delivery vehicle: the feast comes with rice, bread, and two sides, while biryani offers a generous helping of rice and raita and the tawa sandwich includes coriander mayo and a toasted baguette. Get a side of samosa chaat and an all-you-can-drink soda too.
Kati rolls begin life as a warm flatbread known as a paratha, waiting to be wrapped around cheese, meat, or vegetables. If you’d like to go healthier, try a whole wheat roti instead. Either way, at the Kati Roll Company, we like the chana masala, spicy chickpeas; shami kabab, lentils and chopped lamb with herbs and spices; and unda aloo, potatoes and eggs. This restaurant has three locations in New York and one in London, and they’re always looking for franchisers. Have a bite and chew it over.
From a miniscule kitchen near NYU, Thelewala churns out the street food of Calcutta, including nizami rolls. These made-to-order wraps begin with a paratha (flatbread) grilled to crispiness and wrapped around such fillings as fried eggs, red onions, and tomato chutney; paneer (cheese) and lime; and potatoes and pickled chiles. They’re on the small side, so order more than one, or try one of the excellent chaats, including the flavorful jaal moori, with peanuts, olive oil, and lime.