The East Village’s newest restaurant only serves four items: a couple of paratha rolls — handheld wraps filled with meats and chutneys — and an order of fries. One of the most interesting things on the menu, though, isn’t written anywhere: It’s a side of maple syrup that comes with every order of fries.
Saif Qazi and Kiran Lutfeali, the owners of Kolachi, at 130 First Avenue, near St. Marks Place, have always eaten their fries this way. In Pakistan, where the couple is from, they are sold as a street snack with a sweet sauce. Qazi and Lutfeali wanted to bring the dish to New York; they’re using maple syrup instead. It’s probably the most interesting thing happening to fried potatoes on the block.
That’s saying something: Across the street, Electric Burrito uses them as a filling for burritos.
Qazi and Lutfeali, two first-time restaurant owners, opened Kolachi last week. They want the restaurant to become the next 7th Street Burger; the smash burger chain started a few blocks from their storefront in 2021 — and now has locations across the city.
They’re betting paratha rolls can be just as popular. Myan Jones, who used to work at P.F. Chang’s, is the restaurant’s chef. The paratha is made by deep-frying dough until it’s thin and pliable. Two meats — chicken and beef — are grilled over an open flame, then rolled up in the paratha with mint yogurt chutney. Two of them are a full meal ($13 before tax and tip).
An order of “Diesel fries” costs $4.50 extra. The dish gets its name from street vendors in Pakistan, who make fried potatoes using diesel generators. “You smell the diesel before the fries,” Qazi says.
They have all the qualities of a fast food fry: They’re salty and speckled with pepper, with a texture similar to the ones at McDonald’s. Dipping them in maple syrup tastes exactly like you’d expect — and if that’s not your thing, they’re great on their own. Or take it from Electric Burrito, and throw them right inside.
Kolachi is open from 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday to Friday, and from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday and Sunday.