Bright Colored Food Trucks, All in a Row
Despite the overcast skies, plenty of hungry people lined up for a food truck lunch. The lot's layout is pretty simple, with the trucks lining one side, the music stage on the Grand Street end, and a handful of tables and box-like benches scattered throughout.
Ropa Vieja Sandwich ($7) at Bongo Brothers
Our first stop was the Cuban truck, Bongo Brothers, which is actually owned and operated by two Cuban brothers, Danny and Albert Teran. Albert, an alumnus of Jean-Georges's Vong, is in charge of the menu, which includes several pressed sandwiches, meat-bean-rice platters and several snacks.
The Ropa Vieja Sandwich features a helping of the classic braised meat (flank steak in this case) along with peppers, onions and a garlic tomato creole sauce. While the meat was a bit too close to old clothes in texture and the bread was a tad stale, the mayo-based sauce did a nice job adding moisture and flavor to the sandwich.
Beef Empanada ($3) at Bongo Brothers
The straightforward meat-filled pastry was not the mammoth pocket (or duo) we expected for three dollars, but the sofrito-seasoned filling was warm and suitably tasty. Perhaps as a result of heat lamps, however, the pastry itself was a little tougher than we would have liked.
Tibetan Momos ($4) at Chinese Mirch
Chinese Mirch, the quickly expanding Indian-Chinese mini-chain, also has a mobile division, which was one of the most popular trucks during out visit. Boasting an abridged menu of dumplings, rice bowls and sliders, the truck dishes out generous servings for decent prices.
These Tibetan Momos, handrolled pan-fried dumplings, were filled with shredded veggies, placed in a container and doused in Chinese Mirch's Szechuan Broth.
Grilled Cheese #7 ($8) at Gorilla Cheese
Gorilla Cheese wants your attention, and it accomplishes that with a constant stream of slightly overwhelming dubstep (which clashes with the live music). More than the music, however, their #7 caught our eye. Their take on a standard turkey melt puts thin-sliced smoked turkey, somewhat sharp cheddar, tomato, and chipotle aioli between two pieces of multigrain bread. Griddled until crusty with satisfyingly gooey cheese, the sandwich is a smoky delight for those who prefer some add-ins to their grilled cheese.
Half Cheesesteak ($6) at Phil's Steaks
Phil's Steaks bills itself as New York's first authentic cheesesteak truck, and they do their best to mimic the Philly experience. Offering only two items, full and half cheesesteaks, the truck allows the customer to decide with or without onions and pick which cheese (American, Provolone or Whiz) will grace the sub.
The end result is a solid sandwich. The shaved steak has the familiar cheesesteak texture, the onions are fragrant, and the provolone is properly gooey. The hero roll, however, is a pretty standard commercial number that proves a little too bready for the portion of steak.
Kiss of the Dragon ($9) at Munchie Mobile
We were expecting this behemoth from Munchie Mobile to be a one-note salty greasebomb. And while it was both salty and greasy, it was also delicious. Our favorite bite of the day, the Kiss of the Dragon features a fried chicken breast (you can opt for grilled, but do you really want that?) topped with onion rings, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, sriracha, and sweet chili sauce on a surprisingly good white bun.
Despite all the ingredients, no element gets lost. The chicken is light and crispy, the rings have actual onion flavor, bacon and avocado marry in salty-creamy rapture, and the chili sauce adds a pleasant sweetness to round it all out. Next time, we might ask for more sriracha to kick up the spice, but there will be a next time—mark our words.
Fried Oreos ($2) at Munchie Mobile
One glance at Munchie Mobile's menu and you understand the staff's love of the deep fryer. Mains, sides and deserts all get battered and sent to the hot oil bath. The Fried Oreos, though not outstanding specimens, were plenty tasty. The cookies transform from a sturdy creme sandwich into a warm gooey mess. Unhealthy as they might be, everyone should give them a try.