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7 Catt. 3: In re NY Famous Kabob

2012 March 21
by CATTLEYA, J.

Opinion of CATTLEYA, J., in chambers.

On my lunch table today are (1) lamb and rice and (2) chicken on pita from the newly-opened NY Famous Kabob (“NYFK”). NYFK is an Arlington-based cart that serves “New York style kabob[s].” It has been spotted at two different locations: 1) North Lynn Street (Rosslyn); and 2) GMU’s Arlington Campus (between Clarendon and Virginia Square). The green cart at GMU might look a little familiar to students, as it used to be part of the Tasty Kabob fleet. See In re Tasty Kabob, 3 Catt. 4 (2011); Metro Halal Food v. Tasty Kabob, 1 Catt. 2 (2011).

So the question is, in a mobile food landscape that is full of kabob trucks (see, e.g., Tasty Kabob, Metro Halal Food, Ali Khan Express, DC Kabob and Grill Truck, Halal Gyro Plus, and Kraving Kabob), how does NYFK rate?

NY Famous Kabob

I. STREET FOOD

Our regular reader will know what this Supreme Cart’s first order of business is: to determine whether NYFK’s  offerings are “street food.” Street food is “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky (The Whoopie Pie Case), 2 Catt. 5 (2011).

It should come as no surprise that NYFK’s lamb and rice platter, like other meat over rice dishes that have come before the Cart, is not street food. See, e.g., In re Hot People Food (The Sassy Chicken Case), 7 Catt. 2 (2012); In re Salt and Pepper Grill, 6 Catt. 1 (2012). Therefore, no presumption arises that NYFK’s lamb and rice should be affirmed. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012) (“[W]here an offering is deemed to constitute ‘street food,’ a presumption arises that the case should be affirmed. That is, the MGE has made out its prima facie case and the burden of proof lies entirely with the Supreme Cart to prove that the case should be remanded to the MGE for revision.”).

On the other hand, NYFK’s chicken on pita, similar to a sandwich, is street food. See In re Rolling Ficelle, 6 Catt. 3 (2012) (finding that a sandwich was street food); Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (finding that two sandwiches were street food). Therefore, NYFK’s chicken on pita must be affirmed unless this Supreme Cart can meet the burden to rebut the presumption of affirmance. See Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2.

 II. LAMB AND RICE

Lamb and Rice

Having determined that NYFK’s lamb and rice is not entitled to the presumption that it should be affirmed as street food, I now evaluate the platter. I cannot comment on whether NYFK’s lamb and rice is indeed “New York style,” since New York is outside this Cart’s jurisdiction. I consider the platter on its own merits and against the backdrop of similar food carts and trucks within this Cart’s jurisdiction.

The platter is like other lamb and rice platters that the Supreme Cart Justices have sampled. It contains lamb gyro meat over rice, with a side vegetable and a small salad. See In re Ali Khan Express, 3 Catt. 5 (2011) (lamb, rice, chick peas, salad); Tasty Kabob, 3 Catt. 4 (same). In this case, the side vegetable was spinach. The price of the platter was $6.99 plus tax.

NYFK’s lamb gyro was flavorful, but the shaved meat was overcooked and dry. The long-grain rice was as long-grain rice should be: nicely separated and not sticky. The spinach, which was served in a watery broth, was a bit bland. The salad was a standard offering of lettuce and tomato with a drizzle of white sauce. All together, the platter was a generous serving – certainly enough to split into the day’s lunch and dinner, if one had the will power to do so. I, of course, did not.

III. CHICKEN ON PITA

NYFK’s chicken on pita, which is true street food, is entitled to the presumption that it should be affirmed. I cannot meet the burden to rebut this presumption.

Normally, I would never order chicken over lamb. See In re Red Hook Lobster Pound, 2 Catt. 1 (2011) (“[N]o one in their right mind orders shrimp over lobster.); In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011) (“[N]o one in their right mind orders [tempeh] over [pork].” (internal quotation marks omitted)). But after experiencing NYFK’s dry lamb, I put my right mind aside and ordered chicken.

Chicken on Pita

It turned out to be a good decision. The chicken was well-seasoned. Moreover, it was cooked properly, meaning that it was moist and not dry. The pita was thick, pillowy, and not stale. Slices of tomato sat beneath the chicken, and a generous sprinkling of lettuce covered the top. White sauce and hot sauce finished off the dish. It was exactly what I expected, and nothing stuck out as bad or off-putting. I did not regret spending $5.99 plus tax.

IV. CONCLUSION

For its rice platters, NYFK fills the diner’s Styrofoam container to its maximum capacity. I was not hungry after I finished my lamb and rice, but I was not satisfied either. With dry lamb, the platter was disappointing.

The chicken on pita was not disappointing, but it was not as filling as the platter. At only $1 more, the platter seemed like a better deal.

I noticed as I left that NYFK offers a two-meat combination platter containing lamb and chicken. Perhaps this is a wiser selection because even if you get dry lamb (like I did), hopefully you’ll get moist chicken (like I did). Of course, you could just get the chicken and rice platter, but as indicated earlier, who in their right mind orders chicken over lamb?

I AFFIRM in part and REMAND in part to NY Famous Kabob for revision. It is so ordered.

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