Food Truck: Mausam Curry N Bites
Sighting: 47th and Park
I have sort of a love-hate relationship with Indian food. Two of my roommates in college were Indian, and they cooked up some of the most amazing food I’ve had. My first roommate’s specialty was chicken curry which was so spicy you couldn’t eat three bites without ending up drenched in tears. My other roommate did amazing things with chickpeas, also not skimping on the heat. I have both of them to thank for my ability to take and enjoy spicy food today.
On the other hand, for some reason Indian food in restaurants never appealed to me much. It might be because in my college days we’d frequent an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet by our school, and as a college student who’d taken a couple of Econ classes, I took the cost-benefit analysis very seriously, I never, ever left the buffet without eating myself into the black.
And so today I’ll generally eat Indian sparingly. But since I’m on a quest on this blog to eat every type of cuisine there is, I jumped when I saw the Mausam truck parked at 47th and Park.
As I read on the outside of the truck “Mausam” means “Seasons”. Their slogan is “A variety of fresh food and spices for all tastes and seasons”.
Another sign shows that they come all the way from Secaucus, NJ. “Mausam Indian Restaurant, Bar & Banquets in Secaucus New Jersey brings its traditional Indian cuisine served American style to New York City. Mausam is preparing a variety of Curries fresh every day and making them available in New York City by way of Curry-N-Bites branded food vendor trucks”. Their Yelp reviews look mediocre until you dig deeper and see that their negative reviews are mostly about their delivery and service in the restaurant. The food itself gets rave reviews.
Not knowing too much about Indian food I did the food truck faux pas of standing at the front of the line with a clueless expression on my face staring at the menu–as you can see below there’s a dizzying array of 5 options with 6 sauces for a total of 30 choices.
I asked the owner what the most popular dishes were and he said the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Chicken Curry. Then, he asked me if I liked spicy and I said yes. He said I should definitely try the Chicken Vandaloo, which I did. Between his enunciation, the street noise, and my poor hearing it took me a few times to get the word right. “Bandaloo?” “Pandaloo?”
When I got back and Googled each dish they all had the same definition: “a dish of roasted chunks (tikka) of chicken in a spicy sauce”. The difference, of course, is in the nuances of the different sauces. While reaching out to an Indian friend will help you understand their preferences you’ll really need to try out each one for yourself to understand the true differences.
They got my order pretty quickly, well within 5 minutes. I brought it back to my desk. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very careful transporting it, so when I opened the plastic bag there was yellow sauce all over. I also had to apologize to my officemate for the smell which was nice but as with all good Indian food had staying power.
The portions were generous. There was plenty of rice, of course, which was basmati rice that was nicely seasoned. There was the usual “symbolic” salad you find in a lot of food truck fare, with lettuce, carrots, and a little of tomato drenched in oil and vinegar. There was also a paratha flat bread which was excellent–not too greasy but just greasy enough 🙂
And then there was the chicken. To my surprise, the sauce wasn’t too heavy at all. It had a very herbal seasoning that accentuated the chicken nicely. It had a kick but wasn’t overly spicy, which I was okay with. I cleaned my plate but didn’t feel too soporific afterwards (although the afternoon is young).
Overall, I felt my $9 was well spent. If you love Indian food, this is a great place to satisfy your cravings. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely would love to go back and try the chicken curry.
4 of 5 stars.
Price I paid: $9
Tricks for fast ordering: Know your Indian food in advance. If you don’t know the difference between a Tikka and a Vindaloo and a Mughlai you’ll save yourself and everyone behind you lots of time.
What to order if you’re a newbie: Chicken Curry Combo or Chicken Tikka Masala Combo
On the Web: