Le Gamin, which started as a SoHo cafe in 1992, and entered the street food scene last September, was scooting around Chelsea during lunchtime this week. They started parking on 26th Street and 7th Avenue, but after running into some conflict with police enforcement, were forced to find a less troublemaker spot. Maya Labat, who's manning the truck with his assistant McCoy (the business was started by Robert Arbor, who remains the head honcho), is considering the NYU area and even the block outside SEHQ (27th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue).
The foot traffic on 26th Street was awesome while it lasted—so much that someone from the Rafiqi's cart around the corner approached them: "We've been here for seven years! You can't just take our business like that!" Maya is convinced the baguette crowd is a little different from the street meat patrons, but lucky for Rafiqi's, they had to skedaddle.
They're usually parked somewhere by 8:30 a.m. serving crepes (sweet and savory) and baguette sandwiches until 4 p.m. Maya has plans for a breakfast "sandwich" crepe (yeah, all that cheesy eggy good stuff, but in a crepe jacket). He also mentioned sliders on brioche. Surely Nick "Beef Aficionado" Solares will have a reaction for us soon (nudge, nudge). Check @legamintruck on Twitter for their unpredictable whereabouts, usually up by 9 a.m.
We tried a bunch of the menu and were very pleased. Photos, after the jump.
Quiche Lorraine ($8). Really pillowy in texture yet rich-tasting. I like when a quiche can defy laws of gravity like that.
Chicken and goat cheese with lettuce and tomatoes ($9). A big favorite (Maya usually recommends this one).
Semi Croque Monsieur ($8): toasted ham with cheese on a baguette ($8).
Merguez ablaze on the grill.
It goes into a sandwich on toasted baguette with caramelized onions and Swiss ($9).
And gets thrown into a bun (with more of the juicy caramelized onions) to become the "Lamb Dog" ($5).
Ham and butter and cornichons ($8). Probably the least exciting of the sandwiches, but still good.
Mesclun salad with ratatouille, chicken, and goat cheese ($10). Pricey for a salad, but it's pretty huge.
Though the frites got a little cold while waiting for everything else, they stayed impressively crisp. And were even edible the next morning after a visit in the microwave oven.
They opened up the back door for us to peak inside.
McCoy is working his baguette-slicing and toasting moves.
Within a four block radius, they said, is usually cool for deliveries.
We will warn you, though, they're on European cafe time. One day this week, we waited long enough for an entire rain cycle to pass (from sunny to rainy to clear again). They've got limited cutting boards and bread toasters in there, but at other points, there's no line. So go figure.
Weekdays are still up in the air but Saturdays, they're always parked across from the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket in Park Slope (on St. John's Place) between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Follow @legamintruck on Twitter for updated whereabouts.