Tuesday, May 18, 2010

East African Silver Truck

"East African Silver Truck"
Cuisine: East African
Grub: Tilapia fish platter with a side of stewed chicken = $6
Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 11:40am
Review: This Eritrean man cooks a fusion of African, Middle Eastern and Indian styles. And he has a following. Even at 11:40am on a rainy Tuesday morning, people were coming by for goat curry. The tilapia is fresh, thick, moist and coated with brown spices. Not just powders, but twigs of something or other too. Say "yes" to the hot sauce. The fish is flavorful, but it's even more delicious with the extra kick. The orange rice was bland as was the side of cabbage, carrot, peas and corn. Not much of a salad. Neither HD nor I liked the chicken. But the fish is a winner and worth returning for.
Rating: 3 pita. I'd return next week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Greek Sony Umbrella Cart at Hanover Square

"Greek Sony Umbrella Cart at Hanover Square"
Location: Pearl Street at Hanover Square. (Not Hanover Street!) Heading south on Pearl Street, you'd be most likely to see the acronym HDNA on the black umbrella. Very near the rear of Financier that faces Stone Street.
Cuisine: Greek
Date: Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:50am
Grub: Lamb kebab pita = $4
Diners: Construction workers, secretaries
Review: This crazy Greek cart is the raison d'etre for this blog. It's small and often sandwiched between other carts. It would be easy to walk by and not notice, as I have countless times. And the lower prices would make me worry about the quality. Two construction workers tipped me off about it last week. The lamb is addictive. Grilled black on the outside and flavorful on the inside. I kept picking up pieces to make sure I'd extracted every morsel of meat. Big chunks of tomato too. The cook threw in a piece of sausage just because I was asking about it. Be prepared for nutty Greek ambiance. The cook's friend -- in the picture on the left -- was screaming Greek into a cell phone the whole time. And while the cook was preparing the food, he lectured me on the Greek economic crisis and how the contagion would soon spread to Spain, Portugal and Italy. I asked him about Iceland. "Ah, they're still in trouble," he said without hesitation. As we paid, he gave HD a big kiss on the top of her head. On my way home I grabbed HD summer rolls at the Banh Mi cart across the street.
Rating: I'd go back next week. 3 pita

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jamaican Curry Cart on Whitehall

"Jamaican Curry Cart on Whitehall"
Cuisine: Jamaican
Location: Whitehall between Bridge and Pearl, in front of One Battery Park Plaza
Diners: Local office workers of all races. There was even a snooty blond fashionista on line.
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at noon
Grub: Stew beef roti = $6
Review: This must be the slowest cart in New York. One grumpy woman, dressed in green hospital scrubs, a clashing green cap and an apron in another shade of green, takes her time dishing out the curries. When we arrived, there were only 2 or 3 people in front of us, but it still took over 5 minutes to get to the front of the line. And then she had to take a phone call. But man, this grumpy woman makes a mean curry! Boneless beef is stewed in a traditional brown-n-yellow curry sauce with potatoes and chick peas. It has a bright tanginess that you don't get in an Indian curry. I went for the extra hot sauce too. The roti pancake tastes homemade and looks to have specks of corn or semolina between the layers. Chicken curry seems to be popular too, but it's mostly dark meat on the bone. Those in the know get the goat curry. I'm told it runs out quickly. Not sure if her call ahead system really works, but she lists this number on the menu: 646-436-9974. Get there before noon if you don't want to stand in a line all day.
Rating: I'd go back next week. 4 pitas.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

All American Diner I & II

"All American Diner I & II"
Location: On Whitehall, at the southwest corner with State Street. You can see the Staten Island Ferry from there. But based on today's news, you might want to skip the ferry.
Cuisine: Deli
Date: Friday, May 7 at 12:30
Diners: office workers
Grub: cubano sandwich for $6.75
Review: We tried to go to a nearby Jamaican curry cart, but the line was too long. This large silver truck caught our eye. I think the kitchen is bigger than the one in my apartment. A local office worker said he comes here all the time and likes the turkey. But he recommended the cubanos too. It was the strangest Reuben-Cubano fusion sandwich. Served on rye bread with sauerkraut. And open face. I half expected to see Russian dressing on it. They didn't broil the cheese long enough and they're skimpy with the meat. Just one thin slice of ham and one thin slice of roast pork. But the meat covered a lot of surface area. The sandwich tasted fine and if you're craving a basic deli sandwich, this'll do. Especially nowadays where traditional delis are hard to find. The pickle is excellent -- the real NY deli kind. I bet they'd make a decent reuben.
Rating: 1 pita. I go back here next month if I happened to be in the area and was craving a turkey on rye.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Location: Corner of Bridge Street and Whitehall, near One Battery Park Plaza. Not far from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.
Cuisine: Italian sausage, Philly cheese steak, hot dog
Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 11:40am
Grub: Italian Sausage Hero = $7
Review: I'd recently been to Blaue Gans in Tribeca a couple times. So I have high expectations for a sausage, especially when a cart is charging something close to a restaurant price. Dominic's did not meet them. They tasted like supermarket sausages with a strong fennel seed taste. The cooking technique was the biggest shortcoming. The sausages are served luke warm and dry instead of hot and juicy. Dominic's is generous with the onions, which are well-browned and caramelized. The hero roll is one of the better street food baguettes I've had. The sandwich travels well and looks nice at your desk. But every time you take a bite, the sausage and the onions squirm the opposite direction. Not HD's favorite either.
Review: 1 pita (still more edible than many halal trucks)