My cousin Naishadh and I went to Kati Roll the other night for a quick dinner.
Naishadh was in town from Philly and was craving Kati Roll- he had tried it during his last trip to New York- so he walked all the way from Chinatown to 46th street to find it (he didn’t know about the one in Greenwich Village).
I have been to Kati Roll once before (the one downtown) where I tried their Aachari Paneer roll. It was decent. The paneer, mashed with the onions and spices, tasted okay only- but I didn’t really taste the flavor of the orange Tandoori masala that made it look so appealing on the grill.
The green chutney, which was a balanced mix of tangy and minty, made the roll taste better. The bites with chutney were great; the bites with just paneer were a little bland and paste-y (even with the extra onions and chilies) for my taste.
Of course, I compare this Kati Roll experience to the Frankies I’ve had in Bombay- both on the street at Breach Candy and at my dadi’s house.
Frankies are basically the same thing as Kati Roll- paneer, or another filling (mixed veggies, potato, etc) rolled up inside a roti and then pressed flat on a hot pan, until it is heated through and sticks together. Sort of the same idea as a burrito, but not as many fillings. Obviously, my dadi’s Frankie is amazing. She cooks the paneer with the masala, so the paneer is actually tasty, then adds a bunch of onions and chilies, and tops it all off with another cheese- like pepperjack or something, so it some cheese melts (paneer doesn’t) for a really fantastic eating experience.
At Kati Roll, they make the rolls differently. If you order a paneer roll, they take some chunks of paneer off of the skewer, mash it with the onions and chilies, put it in the middle of a roti, pour the chutney on it, and roll it up tightly.
On Friday, I enjoyed my Aachari Paneer roll (from the mid-town joint) a little more, because it was less dry, but that was because the roti itself was super oily! It was definitely stretchy and more delicious, but extremely oily, which is just unnecessary. We also tried the Unda (egg) Roll and the Aloo Roll. The Unda Roll was too much- oily omlette inside oily roti = not enough contrast between the two components. The Aloo Roll, on the other hand, was really great- the Aloo was surprisingly not dry, but nice, moist, and spiced, and while the chutney was present, I wasn’t depending on it to make the roll taste better.
My other hesitation about eating here are the prices- while the Unda Roll is only $3.50, the Aachari Paneer Roll is $4.50!! That’s $2.50 more than a falafel- and falafel tastes better. But these chunks of meat and paneer sure do look good on that grill!
Kati Roll is in Greenwich Village (at MacDougal St) and on 46th St, between Broadway and 6th avenue.