Indian-Pakistani-Spanish-American Food?

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I've always wondered about the stories behind those wildly improbable dual-cuisine restaurants (like Mexican-Chinese places). Today, I stopped by the most globe-trotting spot I've seen yet—Salt and Pepper, a Indian-Pakistani-Spanish-American restaurant.

The front counter serves New York "Spanish" food (read: pseudo Puerto Rican-Dominican) and some American stuff, like burgers and meatloaf. The back counter serves Indo-Pakistani food.

I tasted a bunch of items here, and your best bet is definitely the shami (chicken) kabobs. They are clearly homemade—oblong fingers of ground chicken, heavily spiced, garlicky and speckled with cilantro. Everything else I tried was unremarkable, although the cauliflower was tasty.

Although I thought the Indian-Pakistani food was better, the Spanish-American counter gets much busier. There's a steady stream of customers ordering things like roast chicken, beans and rice ($7).

One of the employees told me that Salt and Pepper's owner is Pakistani, and one day he was sitting on the train, trying to think of ways to get more business. He decided that adding Spanish and American food would bring in more customers, so he added the extra steam table and doubled the menu. Everything is halal, though, so he had to forgo the porky dishes that you'd find at any other Spanish lunch counter.

Salt and Pepper serves up that Spanish-American-Indian-Pakistani food 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yay, America.

Salt and Pepper
139 West 33 Street
212-268-1919

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The kabob's in the middle of all that cauliflower and spinach


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