Restaurant Review: Little Kabab Station in Mount Kisco
In praise of Mount Kisco’s bijou Indian
It’s a nook of a storefront with fewer than 15 seats and no liquor license, and, to be honest, in winter, the window seats get chilly. Yet the textured, cinnamon-brown walls of Little Kabab Station offer a warm retreat from the icy winds of winter, and you won’t even need to be cradling a cup of its cardamom-rich chai to feel the heat. Little Kabab Station takes its inspiration from India’s beloved roadside food stands. Though cramped and super-casual, it has earned ardent local fans, with no lesser eminence than Martha Stewart tweeting from its tiny digs.
One of the bigger stories at Little Kabab Station is the frankie roll. Alternately called kathi rolls, roti rolls, and Bombay frankies, frankie rolls are wraps of griddled, whole-wheat paratha bread that enclose a variety of spiced, protein-rich fillings. Look for mild chicken tikka; seekh kabab (tubular sections of skewered, minced, spiced lamb); takka tak (sautéed lamb kabab); aloo channa (spiced potatoes); and pudina paneer (paneer cheese and green chutney). Whichever filling you choose, it’s best to indulge in all the available toppings, which include a layer of scrambled free-range eggs, lemon, spiced onions, and mint chutney. Taken in a single bite, the chewy paratha, spiced (and fatty) fillings, mild egg, and crunchy onions get some snap from lemon and fiery mint chutney. These are among some of the finest sandwiches in Westchester and a steal at just $5 (vegetable or chicken) or $6 (lamb) per.
Delicious. In fact, on this entire menu, only one dish was less than scrumptious. Both times that we ordered it, the $3.50 dish of vegetable bhajia (fritters) were so overfried that they were bitter. A better choice are the shatteringly crisp vegetable samosas ($3.50), whose potato-and-pea filling offers a creamy, well-spiced introduction to dinner.
As might be expected from the excellent paratha in Little Kabab’s frankie rolls, breads are an important story at this restaurant. Plain, white-flour wedges of nan, whose crisp shells yield to fluffy/chewy interiors, are a simple, butter-splashed treat, though the nan also comes topped with traditional (garlic, onion) and non-traditional (goat cheese, pesto) toppings. All make great, sharable starters.
The kebabs from which this restaurant gets its name are cooked in a tandoor oven and arrive on ample beds of basmati rice with a crisp side salad topped with delicious pickled onions. Shami kebab ($12), spiced ground lamb mixed with lentils, are presented as disconcertingly puck-like discs that deliver a delicious, nutty-textured surprise. Red tubes of spiced seekh kebabs ($12), minced, spiced lamb, are slid from the skewer on which they were cooked and make a peppery contrast to mild, long-grain rice.
Curries at Little Kabab Station are notable for their consistently lighter, less oil-soaked style. You will taste distinct vegetables and meats under all their richness and spice. Don’t miss the mouth-puckering, sour-and-hot lamb vindaloo or a mild and sweet korma—all are excellent. For the non-adventurous, tikka masala is a fine choice—paired with plain nan, this is comfort food at its best. And for vegetarians and vegans, there is saag (creamed spinach with roasted spices) and kadai (vegan stir-fry with bell pepper, onion, and fenugreek), respectively.
In one of this restaurant’s rare “off”-notes, the desserts ($3.50) here are kebab-themed. One might skip the Campfire Kabab (toasted marshmallows, chocolate sauce, crushed graham cracker) and Fruit Kabab (strawberry, banana, grilled pineapple, white and dark chocolate sauces) for chai and the hot, light gulab jamun. The classic, zeppole-like fried milk balls are served with delicious cardamom syrup.
Though cute, this restaurant’s tininess presents challenges. Large tables are difficult to accommodate and there is nowhere to wait. But so what? Get takeout: almost everything survives the trip home. Tiny and all, this is one of Westchester’s gems.
Little Kabab Station
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
31 E Main St, Mount Kisco
(914) 242-7000; littlekababstation.com
Hours: lunch, daily 10:30 am-3 pm; dinner,
Mon to Sat 4-10 pm; Sun 10:30 am-9:30 pm
Appetizers: $3.50; Bombay frankie rolls: $5-$6; entrées: $9-$15; desserts: $3.50
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ —Outstanding ♦ ♦ ♦ —Very Good
♦ ♦ —Good ♦ —Fair