Sunday, October 4, 2009

New York Kati Roll Company: A Narrative

Any time we embark on a travel journey, the first thing I fancy about is what will I be eating? It took me a while to accept that being in a different country, I will not be at the liberty of sampling food which have a home style flavour. However after some time now; albeit after a long hiatus of cribs, acceptance and complaints I have become more open-minded to world cuisines and look to sample all of them. I enjoy Spanish Tapas, Mexican Qesadillas, Turkish Dolmas, Japanese Sushi and Kimchi sauce, New York Falafel Sandwiches, Chinese Bubble Tea with the same passion and zest as I love food from Konkan and other regional geographies of India. I think we all take our time and space to adapt to a new a new environment and dwell into the quagmires of the pleasure and displeasures it brings along.

Apart from Konkani, another regional cuisine which I have been fascinated with is Bengali cuisine. The dominant reason being the ample doses of stories about Bengal which I have been fed upon by my father since I was toddler barely learning the ABC's. My father holds a philosophy which is so dear to his heart and I feel a strong desire to relinquish and demystify it on this blog. He always felt and still feels that Konkanis have a closer association with Bengal region because we had our habitat on the banks of Saraswati river in Bengal region. Later owing to migration, all Konkanis migrated to the Konkan region now. Quite ironical though some of closest friends are from Bengal region. I also found quite a lot of similarities between lot of Konkani and Bengali dishes. Begun ar Karela Bhaaja, Shukto, Paanta Bhaat, Aam Tok, Aloo Chorchori, Payesh to name a few.

I am also quite to open to experimenting now and like to sample and relish cuisines from different regions without any bias of taste. I was citing once to P that I am big fan of Kati Rolls and want to try and make it some day. He informed me about this quaint place in Greenwich village (Near McDougal street), New York called The Kati Roll Company. You can also check their site here. Most of our friends love this place and they say that this comes closes to Indian flavours and I think I agree with that. When we visited this place last time around, I was simply blown over by the taste of their rolls. Simple. Tasty. Biteful of flavours. One of its kind.

The place welcomes you with an array of Posters from Bollywood. I clicked some snaps and posting them without permission (the flash plonked on couple of pictures, forgot to turn off the flash - you see my food was inviting me and I was greedy, but is still worth a post and all that I have). What caught my eye was their unique menu. Its funny and creative come to think of it. The place is run by Bengali speaking individuals and you can get your Kati custom made to suit your taste buds. I sampled Egg Roll and Paneer Roll. Though I must say I prefer their Egg rolls and Paneer rolls to Chicken and Shaami rolls. The taste was nice, cheesy, well cooked roti and the succulent filling added to the charm (I took a bite from P's). We both loved the place. Its quite close to New York University owing to which the place attracts lot of student population as well.

One gets a very nostalgic feel when you sit on the sturdy wooden bench, admire the Bollywood poster and Shammi Kapoor smiling at you at Kati Roll Company. What better ending than a happy tummy and mouthful of Indian flavours.


  1. My stay at NY virtually made me try all food arounde me and inpite of the innumerable eateries around the city, i found it impossible to survive after 2 months (that period is an exaggeration - may be 3 weeks would be correct). I really pity all those who are used to eating Konkani food at home not value it when it is available. I am no exclusion to this tribe. Anyway, nice write and possibly you need to make your blog more visible so that those who like Indian food know where to go and not experiment "Indian" food and be disappointed of the food and the "American Accented" hosts!!! Oh sorry, this is the BIG apple.

  2. Thanks Jkamath! It took me long to accept the fact that I would be not getting home food anymore. Best thing to do was embrace change and move on. Having said that I have learnt to appreciate Mom's cooking all the more.

    Thanks for your encouraging comment.

    ~ Ashwini.


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