Friday, December 17, 2010

Fast Food is Best on Wheels: Frites 'n' Meats Truck

Update 4/12/11: The Frites n Meats truck exploded yesterday. Luckily no one was seriously hurt besides some minor burns. Hoping they'll come back to the street soon.

I've got wide tastes when it comes to burgers. Sometimes I'm satisfied with a McDouble. In fact, sometimes all I want is a McDouble and nothing more. But on the other end of the spectrum, you just can't beat Minetta Tavern's infamously difficult to photograph Black Label burger. Lately I've been getting my mid-high end fix at Mel's Burger Bar, not too far from my apartment. But Mel's has a wickedly bad wait time and is on the pricey end for what it is. Wouldn't it be nice if great burgers could come to me, cheaper and more delicious? Enter Frites 'n' Meats.

Recently, food trucks of all different types (Korean tacos and Taiwanese Cravings Truck specifically) have been appearing outside my school. I always thought that outside a grad school would be a great locations for lunch trucks, but maybe students don't have the lunch budgets of office workers around mid-to-lower Manhattan. Hence I haven't seen very much food truck activity before this recent flurry.

My first experience with Frites 'n' Meats truck was actually with their frites and not their meats. Their handcut double fried Belgian frites are golden and crisp. They even withstood the dreaded soggy effect of leaving them in the bag too long when carrying them as takeout. A little on the salty side, but both their garlic aioli and horseradish aioli took the savory edge off a bit.

When the truck came around again, I knew I had to get a burger. They emphasize their quality ingredients--DeBragga & Spitler, Balthazar Bakery and Murray's Cheese Shop. I opted for the grass fed Angus on a potato onion bun topped with goat cheese, onion, tomato and mesclun greens. They also offer American wagyu and skirt steak sandwiches, but my preference for a burger is usually a heartier beef. American wagyu, even though it is a cross breed of Japanese wagyu and American Angus, tends to lack the beefy flavor of pure Angus that I want in a burger. The rich marbling of wagyu is best in small quantities.

As you can tell from the photo above, they make a pretty burger, especially since sandwiches are rather difficult to photograph well. All their burgers are cooked medium-rare, a commendable risk but gives you some confidence in the source of the meat. They even undercook to account for the carryover cooking when you order to go. As I've mentioned before, I've come to really appreciate the beef as the critical component of the burger. Too often, we're distracted by the fancy sauces and accouterments when what is most satisfying is biting into a rich and flavorful patty. Frites 'n' Meats obviously takes their burgers seriously, and I'll gladly patronize a place that loves its food as much as I do.

$5.50 for the burger
$.75 for cheese
$3.00 for fries
Check their blog and twitter for locations.