Just about every night, I walk by the halal cart on West 58th St (across from the main Columbus Circle subway entrance) and it smells great. Maybe it’s because I’m hungry and heading home for dinner or maybe it’s as good as it smells. Today I would find out.
Today’s Lunch is chicken over rice ($5) from the halal cart with no name on 58th St just west of 8th Ave.
I asked for chicken over rice with white sauce and hot sauce. As he was putting Today’s Lunch into a bag, I noticed a 2nd rice container next to the yellow rice. The vendor said the brown rice was very spicy, so I asked for a little to taste with my lunch.
When I opened the container, it looked like a pretty standard chicken over rice. There were some carrots and bell pepper mixed in with in the chicken, but the main action was a combination of white and dark meat chicken with white sauce and hot sauce.
The chicken was tender and moist. It was not overcooked at all, and I didn’t get any funky stuff in the chicken. The white sauce was nothing special, but it did the trick of mellowing out the hot sauce without being obtrusive. The hot sauce was pretty spicy, which is always appreciated.
As for the rice, the brown rice was a little spicy, but not as much as the hot sauce. Both the brown and yellow rice were cooked right, but the brown rice tasted a little “muddy” and the yellow rice actually went better with the chicken.
There was a small salad on the side that looked pretty weak, and I didn’t even touch it.
Today’s Lunch gets a 7.5 out of 10. It was a perfectly respectable chicken over rice at a good price, but there was nothing to set it apart from the hundreds of other halal carts in midtown. The food was a little cleaner tasting than some of the other halal carts around, but it really wasn’t much different.
If you’re near Columbus Circle and want chicken over rice, this cart is probably one of the better options around, but it’s not worth going out of your way for.