Restaurant Review: Ital Shak

Ital Shak
780 Nostrand Avenue
(between Saint John’s Place and Sterling Place)
Crown Heights, Queens

Vegiboys Rating (2/4)

The hole-in-the-wall Ital Shak is one of two vegetarian kitchens found on Nostrand Avenue in Crown Heights, though is best for a quick bite to-go. The narrow interior lacks any seating (or even any shelves to enable a standing consumption of your order), and the hot-plates in the rear of the restaurant are upstaged by the showcased patties which line the longer serving counter at the front of the restaurant.

Given the prominence of the empanada-like patties, we selected a variety and took our meal on the road. Service was friendly and efficient, with the patties packaged and passed through the customer/kitchen plexiglass barrier quickly after finalizing our order. From among about a dozen patty choices, we selected a salty spinach (similar to collard greens), a stew-like carrot-broccoli-onion mix, a spicy lentil mash, a faux chicken, a jerk tofu, and a faux-fish.

All of the patties had a tasty, flaky dough. Though we established some differences between the patties (spinach versus lentils for instance), for the most part the tastes were hard to distinguish. All of the patties were good, but flavors were largely the same (without the letters that were helpfully forked into the dough, we wouldn’t be able to differentiate the faux-fish from the faux-chicken for instance).

At $7 per person, the price was cheap, and service was quick, but without a place to sit and with few options beyond Caribbean-style empanadas, Ital Shak is really more designed for the incidental passerby than for anyone looking for a full meal or full service.

Food (2.5/4)

Atmosphere & Service

Value (2.5/4)

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