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Sep 18, 2009 05:27 PM

Halal Cart at 53rd and 6th - worth the wait?

I work as a chef in the Times Square area, and when I get out of work there is a cart on 47th and 6th that makes a perfectly tasty gyro, $5, no waiting. So when I pass 53rd st on my way uptown and see people lined up halfway to 7th ave, I have to wonder if this famous, award-winning street cart is really taking the halal cart experience to another level, or is it just a matter of people going where the line is longest? Can anyone confirm that this place is indeed worth the wait? Am I missing out on something truly sublime by eating merely tasty gyros elsewhere?

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  1. If they aren't the #1 halal cart in all Manhattan, they're definitely up there... Chicken/lamb over rice, not gyros! I really like their rice and their sauces (especially the red one which is super spicy).

    In a blind taste test of 15 carts by Midtown Lunch last year, they were deemed the winners.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Actually, the winners in the Midtown Lunch survey was KwikMeal, not the 53rd/6th cart (they placed third). I like the 53rd/6th cart, but agree it's not really worth the wait when it gets that long.

    2. The food is that good, but it still begs the question of whether it's worth an extended wait, since that's a personal choice. Me, I wouldn't wait more than 10 minutes for anything. There are times when the wait is shorter. Once went on at 11 pm on a Sunday night in January and there was no line.

      1. Definitely not worth more than a 10 minute wait, in my opinion.

        The meat, both the lamb and chicken, are great, but I have a pretty strong personal complaint about the sauce. It tastes a little mayonaisse-y to me. My husband is a huge fan however.

        I'd say it's worth the wait to try it, but not worth any more than 10 minutes if you've had it before.

        1. I think it brings up a separate discussion on food carts.. at what point does the wait and price negate the utility of the foodcart (assuming not a late night thing.. more talking about lunch). e.g. KwikMeal at times can take 15-20 minutes to get your food and will cost almost $10 with a drink. that's about the same it would cost me for many other lunch options that are equally good but take less time...

          1. I suppose that whether or not it's worth the wait has to do with how much patience and time you have to spare. The meat is of slightly higher quality than other carts in the vicinity, but to me, the wait is not worth it at peak hours. I tend to go to the daytime location where there's little to no wait at my slightly off-hour lunch time (around 2ish); I've only waited in the long, evening line once and won't do it again.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cimui

              go during the day...the same guys/ same food are on the south EAST side of the street..the lines are much much shorter during the day or if you go are 7- 7:30pm BOTH carts are usually still running before the south west one takes over for the night... if its not the best deal in town for 6 bucks its certainly the best in midtown...