Brooklyn's Kensington section, already a hot spot for South Asian chow, is getting hotter. Month-old MashAllah has won over Mike R. with excellent chicken tikka from the tandoor, "tender as ever I've had," coated in a light, spicy masala—six or seven good-sized chunks for just $4. This Pakistani grill and sweet shop lays out a steam-table spread featuring unusually fresh and clean-tasting chana dal (chickpeas), aloo gobi (potato-cauliflower curry), and ground-chicken chapli kabob, with naan and other breads made to order, squid kun reports. He faults only relatively tame spicing in some dishes and an overly salty aloo tikki (potato patty).
MashAllah's arrival appears to be part of a local edible renewal. "Getting intense," Mike says of this stretch of Coney Island Avenue, "a wall-to-wall flavor sensation alley." Joining the scrum of South Asian merchants are newcomers like Mazedar, a grocery-deli that promises Desi specialties, and Lahori, with a name that suggests Pakistan while its menu says gyros and fried chicken.
Madina—which was packed even at 5:30 a.m. during the recent Cricket World Cup, serving up nice saucy chana and other grub for throngs of fans—anchors the north end of the strip at Beverley Road. From there, Mike notes, hungry visitors in sensible shoes could trek south toward Midwood, stopping to refuel at Shandar, Punjab, Bukhara, Pakiza, or Bukhari, among other places. "Do I hear 'Kabab Crawl'?"
663 Coney Island Avenue (near Avenue C), Brooklyn
671 Coney Island Avenue (near Avenue C), Brooklyn
739 Coney Island Avenue (near Cortelyou Road), Brooklyn
563 Coney Island Avenue (near Beverley Road), Brooklyn
Shandar Sweets [Kensington]
679 Coney Island Avenue (near Avenue C), Brooklyn
691 Coney Island Avenue (between Slocum Place and Cortelyou Road), Brooklyn
786 Coney Island Avenue (between Cortelyou Road and Ditmas Avenue), Brooklyn
1032 Coney Island Avenue (between Foster and Parkville avenues), Brooklyn
1095 Coney Island Avenue (between Foster Avenue and Avenue H), Brooklyn