Way back when I attended the Village Voice Choice Eats Show, I had some excellent food from Mumbai Xpress: a potato fritter on a roll, and a salad made with puffed rice (apparently popular street food in India). I’ve been craving it ever since, but Mumbai Xpress is too far away for me to get to easily. When I read about Aamchi Pao it seemed they had the same type of food , but in a location easier for me to access.
I started with the daily chat, which was the same type of salad with puffed rice. This was really excellent — it featured all four of the Southeast Asian flavor profiles: hot, sour, salty, sweet. It also had a mix of cold and room temperature ingredients; in addition to the puffed rice there were bits of some kind of crumbled up cracker, tomatoes, chutneys, cilantro, and I don’t know what else. I could eat an entire bucket of this stuff.
The vada pao, or “potato slider” as it is also listed on the menu, was disappointing. It was woefully under-seasoned, and in fact there was a strange almost metallic taste to it. The only thing I thought was interesting about it was the contrast of textures between the toasted bun, the crispy exterior of the fritter, and the smooth inside of it. I tried adding some of the sweet-hot sauce that was on the table, but it didn’t add much to it.
There are a lot of other sandwiches on the menu at Aamchi Pao, and I’ll definitely be back for the chat so I’ll give them a try. I know that at least half of my meal will be wonderful.
Aamchi Pao — 194 Bleecker St