Market Street Gets a New York-Style Halal Cart

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.

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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I tried halal cart on 455 Market Street yesterday. It was raining so no lines. I tried the Combo plate which was lamb and chicken over rice. The chicken and lamb was very flavorful. White sauce tasted exactly like the legendary halal cart in NY. The server said they changed their recipe few days ago. He said they started severing lamb instead of beef and got the exact recipe from NY for the white sauce. I agreed with the white sauce. the spicy sauce was pretty hot so be careful. Hope they stay.

Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown

Wendy, I wonder if he's related to Farouk!?!?! That really was the best gyro outside of Greece I ever tasted!!

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