Schnitzel is probably as fun to say as it is to eat. And how often do you really get a schnitzel-eating opportunity? [Twitter update: they are shooting to be in Union Square by noon today.] Oleg Voss and his partner Jared Greenhouse recently launched Schnitzel and Things, yet another force in the Tweeting, beyond-gyro street food movement. Yesterday they were parked on Smith Street in Brooklyn between Warren and Baltic, strategically in front of the Met Food. Grocery shoppers were sidetracked by the fried meat and fish blankets.
"If I'm doing my job right, it should only take about two minutes," Voss said to one customer planning to pick up a few things while her dinner went into the deep-fryer. Pork is definitely the most popular, though chicken holds its own, and poor cod, no love for what's really a Filet-o-Fish at its best (minus the processed orange cheese and gloppy mayo). There has also been talk of veal. Voss has been building his upper body strength whacking all that pork loin and chicken (the fish stays thicker) into a thin sheet with his big honkin' mallet.
Maybe it's the "schn" prefix, but there's something about schnitzel that sounds super heavy. It's not, really. The misshapen, deep-fried cutlet is indeed big (it needs to be folded over to fit into the container) but thin, and with a squeeze of the lemon wedge, has a nice citrusy kick.
First-timers should really go for the schnitz, though the bratwurst is also great. Get it as a sandwich on ciabatta ($7) or a platter with two sides ($9). Oh, and there are sides. In fact, Voss added the "... and Things" part to the name so vegetarians wouldn't get scared. Make a platter of any four schnitzel-less sides ($8): roasted beets and feta salad (a favorite), Austrian potato salad (you won't miss the mayo with that nice Viennese vinegary kick), braised sauerkraut, cuke salad, and green lentil salad with carrot bits.
The fries are also great, whether alone or as an excuse to eat all those dipping sauces. Garnish fans, especially those of the creamy persuasion, you are so excited right now. Little tubs of pesto mayo, roasted red pepper coulis, ginger-scallion-garlic relish, tartar sauce, and spicy Sriracha mayo (my favorite) await. Voss and Greenhouse experimented with potatoes, but found that Yukon golds make the best spud sticks (and they are sticky; these aren't the thick Belgian kind).
The "things" part also includes an apple spritzer (apple juice plus seltzer) which has a great bubble factor, and dessert. It's easy to stay only in schnitzel mode but the Tahitian vanilla pana cotta ($3.50) is really great. Polka-dotted with vanilla bean flecks, it comes with blueberries or banana coins. It's slightly tart, jiggly-light, and sitting in a little aluminum cup, so you don't have to share.
Schnitzel and Things will be parked on Smith Street on a regular basis (Voss lives around the corner; he has to represent in the nabe) and in Union Square from time to time. Someday soon they'll make it to Midtown and embrace the lunchers, but are taking a deep breath before that happens. That'll involve a lot of meat-pounding first.
Follow the Schnitzel Truck on twitter.com/schnitzeltruck.
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