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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Market Street Gets a New York-Style Halal Cart

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane

If you've ever worked in Lower Manhattan, you know that there are seriously limited lunch options (and not just because you won't blow your whole allowance on a $100 burger flecked with real gold). It's partly because the tip of the island is wedge-shaped and you can only walk so far without hitting water.

So most office drones have a favorite Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cart they frequent twice a week or more. Such a thing never really existed in S.F.'s Financial District until Halal Cart's sudden appearance outside 445 Market Street, on weekdays from 11 a.m. until the food runs out.

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane

It's limited (the sign advertises bolani, but there's no bolani), it's modest (ice chests full of dirty prep equipment, a humming propane engine), and it's awkward (anyone over 5'8" will have to both slouch and crane their neck through the bizarre order window), but Lord, is it tasty. For this $7 combo gyro plate, "spicy" meant spicy -- as in the slowburner kind of heat that forces you to eat every last shred of iceberg as you mop your brow. But beneath that heat lies wonderfully seasoned lamb and beef and yogurt dressing with a nice acidic tang, the kind that's indigenous to New York even though it kind of isn't.

Thankfully, 445 Market has a little plaza with benches where you can eat out of your ridged, round aluminum tin on a warm afternoon. But you can always fantasize that you're being jostled around over a fetid subway grate if you prefer that sort of ambience.

h/t Tasting Table

Halal Cart, outside 445 Market St.

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Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40


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