Cabbie name: Ilyas Chaudary
Where he comes from: Gujrat, Pakistan
Currently resides: Brooklyn
Years in New York: 22
Years driving a taxi: 10
Pre-yellow taxi vocations: Gypsy cab driver, cook at a Greek restaurant
What he misses about Pakistan: Everything. In 2 years, he’ll retire from cab driving, go back to Gujrat, and plant a vegetable garden.
Favorite restaurant in Manhattan: Haandi
When he goes: After his shift, so he can meet up with other cabbies
What he orders: Chicken and kebab
Why we liked it: Combination platters with your choice of two meats, one vegetable, rice and naan bread cost $7.99. The chicken makhni – with red curry, yogurt, cream and chili peppers – is buttery, bad-for-you good (especially with spicy basmati rice on the side). They also make a fine mango lassi.
What to skip: Naan (which bears no resemblance to the amazing bread at Curry in a Hurry across the street)
If you go: Prepare for scattered service (there was a bit of a misunderstanding about my co-adventurer’s order) and leave time for a walk and/or a trip to Kalustyan’s deli and spice shop afterwards.
113 Lexington Ave. (Murray Hill)
Open: 7 days a week for lunch and dinner
Credit cards accepted
Other Ilyas Favorites:
Lahori Kebab (on Lexington Ave. across the street from Haandi) and Sheen restaurant in Coney Island near Foster (which I suspect might be a cut above Haandi)