Street Food: Comme Ci, Comme Ça
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.