It's 2:30 in the afternoon, the themometer is near 100, and grillmaster Jon Gneezy is sweating through his black Hooters t-shirt as he slings burgers and other munchies from a large, violet food truck. With the sun beating down and the griddle sizzling away, the heat must be particularly bad for the three-man team inside the box. But still they wear large smiles on their faces, as if predicting future customers' reactions to their food.
The Munchie Mob, as they like to call themselves, have only been on the scene for a little over a month, but their Munchie Mobile is quickly making its way through New York's food truck community.
Munchie's origins are similar to that of many contemporary food trucks —a couple guys with passion for good eats and some professional cooking experience buy a truck, pick a cuisine and get rolling. After getting fed up with their desk jobs, Jon and two friends (Jorge Mdahuar and Charlie Knisely) decided to get in on the action and determined that munchies—fried snacks, burgers and grilled cheese—would be the food of choice. A year of testing followed as the crew fine-tuned personal specialties, family favorites, and new creations.
The result was a truck that succeeds at being simultaneously thoughtful and carefree, detailed and no-frills, focused and fun. And while the menu items might sound like specialties from the mind of a fry cook's thirteen year old son, they are actually some serious eats.
The hamburgers, which range from a classic Munchie Burger ($7 w/ cheese) to the monstrous Gangsta's Paradise ($12), all begin with hand-formed patties of a Berk Lombardo chuck-sirloin blend. Far better than one would expect from a truck, the burgers get cooked through on the griddle, where they develop a decent crust before facing any variety of toppings. On-menu burgers, such as the sriracha mayo and jalapeño-topped Chupacabra ($7, their top seller), provide pre-selected topping combinations, or patrons can pick their own.
While not officially a grilled cheese truck, the Munchie Mobile also cooks up several griddled sandwiches. Jon's favorite, the Roman ($7), channels familiar Italian sandwich flavors with basil, mozzarella, and (for better or worse) out of season tomato.
Our favorite sandwich on the menu was also one of the most outlandish: the Kiss of the Dragon ($9). On paper, the thing reads as far too busy, with bacon, avocado, onion rings, and two sauces, but the end result is impressive. The chicken is light and crispy, the rings have actual onion flavor, bacon and avocado marry in salty-creamy rapture, and the syrupy chili sauce adds a pleasant sweetness to round it all out.
Aside from the sandwiches, a significant portion of Munchie's menu embraces the deep fryer. Standard french fries ($4) are skin-on, but frozen, and end up a bit limp—the curly fries and onion rings ($4), however, fare slightly better. All three are ample vessels for flavorful dipping sauces, such as spicy mayo or the duck saucy sweet chili.
For dessert, the truck offers a county fair staple: the fried Oreo. While in the fryer, the Oreo transforms from cookie to creamy chocolate goo—believe me, this is a very good thing. In the future, Jon hopes to add more sweets to the menu, as well as some Latin American dishes.
With so many food trucks trying too hard to be hip or gastronomically impressive, Munchie Mobile succeeds with its quirky vibe and dedication to serious munchies that are often much better than they need to be. Plus, having your food served to you from the mouth of an illuminated-eyed purple munchie monster is pretty awesome.
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