Ever eaten Pakistani food? Well I hadn’t until I tried Desi Shack.
Located in Union Square, Desi Shack was created because the owners found there was a void for “on the go” Pakistani food and they realized how differently people like to enjoy the cuisine (meat vs. vegetarian, spicy vs. not).
The way it works, or the way you “design your meal,” is by choosing a base between a paratha roll, basmati bowl, or salad bowl. Now, even though I’m not South Asian, my mom always had parathas ready in the freezer to fry up whenever we wanted a snack. If you’ve never had a paratha before, it’s a flatbread, comparable to naan, and I’m obsessed. It’s so doughy and delicious, and it makes me think of home so I was thrilled to find it on the menu.
After you pick the foundation for your meal, you choose your main between chicken tikka (chicken marinated overnight and grilled), beef keema (ground beef cooked in spices), achari paneer (farmer’s cheese in spices and grilled), or aloo masala (potatoes cooked in roasted spices). Then you add the toppings you want from lettuce to chillies to onions. I think that two options are included in your order and then after that you’re charged extra. Lastly, you choose a chutney. There’s cucumber raita, cilantro mint, green chili coconut, and red chili garlic which range from mild to medium to medium-hot to hot respectively.
They recommend that if you go with the paratha roll option that you order two, which made my life easier because I was having a hard time trying to choose only one main and only one chutney. I ordered chicken tikka with green chili coconut for one and achari paneer with cilantro mint for the other.
Now it’s time that I say, please forgive me for how messy the food looks. It was really tasty, believe me! I had my chicken tikka one first (the first photo), and I didn’t realize that there were instructions on the foil wrapping to peel a tab to rip off the top and make for easier eating. Look at the second picture and you’ll see I can follow instructions. While it doesn’t really matter how you eat it, they’re generous with the filling and sauce, so it definitely is less messy to do it their way. The green-chili coconut was only labeled as medium-hot, but it got me sweating a little, so be careful if you get the red chili garlic/hot sauce. And I don’t normally prefer the veggie option, the paneer won this time.
This place is like the Chipotle of South Asian cuisine, so if you’re ever looking to step out of the box from your normal lunch run for that Mexican bowl or burrito, Desi Shack is worth checking out.
Chicken tikka paratha roll with green chili coconut, achari paneer paratha roll with cilantro mint chutney
331 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016