Street Food

The best food from the street.

Street Food: Comme Ci, Comme Ça

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[Photos: Madison Priest]

Going to Comme Ci, Comme Ça was like entering an alternate universe. I arrived at the truck, parked on 86th and Lexington, and found that the line was completely reasonable: only three people at the height of lunch hour. I was then greeted by three cheery men in awesome hats, who took my order and then gave me a complimentary Moroccan mint tea (sumptuous and full-bodied with a touch of sugar) because it was a bit chilly. The woman after me in line was quite friendly, and we had a nice chat while we waited for our food. A far cry from the usual grab-and-go street cart experience.

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The food itself was another pleasant, homey touch. Chef Samir's dishes are based on the recipes his mom made when he was a child in Casablanca, and each dish feels lovingly prepared: comforting and just genuinely good.

I started out with a veggie cigar ($3), filo dough stuffed with aromatic vegetables and herbs. The filo dough was a bit soggy—it was evident that the cigars had been made beforehand, not on the truck itself—but I would still recommend this dish. The flavors were strong and straightforward and the greens below were crisp and tasty, not the sad-sack iceberg lettuce you so often find in a food truck kitchen.

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The soup of the day was soupe de provence ($4), a veggie soup. Creamy and perfectly seasoned, with mostly winter squash and carrots as the base, this soup went right to my stomach-heart. The only shortcoming here was the accompanying bread--stale crostini that were hardly worth a second glance.

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The same held for the bread accompanying the Moroccan Kofta Brochette ($6): a hoagie bun that did nothing to showcase the kofta, caramelized onions, and roasted veggies inside. I would recommend finding the kofta, a really delicious permutation of the classic Mediterranean mix of ground beef, spices, and onion, without the bun, but unfortunately the brochette is its only showing on the menu. I ended up just taking all the good stuff out and throwing in a bit of cous-cous from the cous cous merguez($9) I also sampled, a move I would highly recommend.

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Speaking of, the cous cous at Comme Ci, Comme Ça is absolutely delicious. A bit moister than I'm used to, it was topped with the same sampling of seasonal vegetables that showed up in the soup--winter squash and carrot--along with tender chickpeas and, of course, a delicious lamb sausage. And though nine dollars is a little steep, this is no portion size for the faint of heart. Even the best of eaters would have difficulty finishing this dish in one sitting.

Finally, I would like to end with a bit of advice for those new to Comme Ci, Comme Ça. If they ask if you want sauce, you say yes. I don't care if you don't love spiciness or you think it sounds good enough on it's own. Just say yes. An olive sauce and a slightly spicy mint sauce made their way onto my dishes, and they elevated each one from very good to absolutely fantastic.

Comme Ci, Comme Ça

Currently on 86th Street at Lexington Avenue (map)
The truck is planning to venture into Midtown West as well in the near future, so check their twitter and website for updates.

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