Rafiqi's Midtown East

Rafiqi’s (Midtown East)

Rafiqi's Midtown EastI think Rafiqi’s may be the closest these street meat carts come to having a chain. Quite honestly, after running into a couple of these things in my wanderings, I’m not even sure the photo to the left is the actual cart at which I ate. No matter, though, people don’t care what their carts look like, just what grub comes out of them. I suppose buying chicken in bulk helps Rafiqi’s get their chicken over rice prices down to $4.75—the lowest I’ve had in the neighborhood. But, as my mother actually never said to me: you get what you pay for. The chicken seemed to have a higher percentage of dark meat in it than I’ve experienced at other carts, and the white sauce rather than tasting of yogurt, was more tangy like a cheap salad dressing. Normally I’m a texture guy, and the nicely grilled chicken over well-cooked rice provides some great back and forth. This chicken lacked toothiness and the rice was a bit mushy, throwing the whole things into a porridgey morass. And I swear there were peas and carrots in the rice for some reason, which just confused me. That all said, there is rarely a time and place where grilled chicken, rice and white sauce are bad, even if the one you’re chowing isn’t your favorite. Love the one you’re with, man. Love the one you’re with. [MF]

NE Cnr, 52nd & Park
no phone