photo credit: Kate Previte
Most of the things you get over a counter are disappointing. The shoes you rent at a bowling alley, for example, always make you seem less cool. And the antibiotics you pick up at a pharmacy after a bird attacks you in the park are inevitably too big to swallow. Even the salads you buy at lunch taste like they were made in an alternate universe where lettuce is always a little bit old and optimism isn’t a thing. But BK Jani is different.
This is a tiny counter-service spot in Williamsburg, and they serve Pakistani street food that’s some of the finest stuff you’ll ever order from a person with an iPad. It’s better and more affordable than what you’ll find at most full-service restaurants, and, after you eat here, you’ll stare out your bedroom window and wait for a shooting star, just so you can wish for more of this food.
The first thing you should order here is the signature Jani burger. It has a thick patty and some spicy mint chutney, and eating it for the first time feels sort of like hearing your favorite song on the radio after having been lost in the woods for several years. It’s simple and near-perfect, and the seekh kababs might be even better. They’re well-spiced and grilled, and you can get them on a piece of flaky paratha with yogurt and chutney. The little hand-held lamb chops should also be on your table - and if that sounds like too much, just bring a few friends, or put up an ad for eating buddies on Craigslist.
Just be aware that the dining room here is roughly the size of a subway car, the little picnic tables are occasionally sticky, and everything comes on paper plates. There also isn’t any alcohol of any kind, and, if you’re still reading this, congratulations. You’ve passed the test, and you deserve this food.
Come on a weeknight when you want something quick. Or, if you don’t live in the neighborhood, make plans to stop by on a weekend afternoon. There aren’t many counter-service places worth traveling for, but BK Jani is one of them.
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This burger has a thick patty, a good bun, a slice of tomato, and some spicy chutney on the bottom. You’ll take a few bites, black out, take several more bites, and wonder where your burger went.
Ye Cheese Burger
You can get this as either a single or a double, and we recommend the double. The patties are a little thinner than those of the Jani burger - but there’s also a little more going on, and if want something messier, you should get this.
Fried Chicken Sandwich
Similar to the Ye Cheese, this sandwich has a lot of sauce that will probably get on your hands. (Wet naps are provided.) It’s also just a little bit spicy, and it’s what you should be eating here when you don’t want red meat.
The lamb chops are a little more expensive, but they’re also one of the main reasons you come to BK Jani. They’re cooked medium-rare and covered in spices that you’ll consider leaving on your face, and you should dip them in the mint chutney.
Seekh Kabab Roll
This could be our favorite thing here. It’s a few pieces of grilled beef covered in various sauces on a flaky flatbread, and if you only ever ordered this at BK Jani, that would still be a very good life.
Good, crispy fries that come dusted with spices. Get a side with whatever else you order.
These grilled vegetables are another side that you can get here, and there’s really no reason to order them unless your doctor recently told you that you need to eat more grilled vegetables.