Tag Archives: grilled cheese

Coney Shack (Asian)

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Food Truck: Coney Shack

Sighting: 47th and Park

Country: Southeast Asia

Usually the selection of food trucks on a given block at a time is pretty unique. It’s rare to see two trucks of the same kind together.

But coming to 47th and Park today I saw two “Asian Taco” trucks, Coney Shack and Domo Taco. I hadn’t been to either of them, but both of them seemed to have the same promise: food with the convenience of a Latin American taco and the flavors of Asia.

Admittedly my expectations were a little low. I’ve had “fish tacos” in the past and have usually been underwhelmed. I never quite saw the appeal. Plus, when I think of words like “burrito” and “taco”, I think of things like yellow rice and beans, not lemongrass chicken and Asian beef shortribs. But I figured I’d give it a shot.

I stood back for a little bit and noticed that Coney Shack was getting a lot more foot traffic than Domo Taco, despite the clearly superior name of the latter. It was clear why just looking at the menu. The Coney Shack menu was very clear–they had four food groups, the Taco, the Hot Dog, the Burrito, and the Quesadilla each with a very distinct set of ingredients. The Domo Taco truck had a similar menu but just didn’t seem as clear cut.

Also, Coney Shack had a sign highlighting that they won the Rookie of the Year award at the 2015 Vendy Awards, which I found to also be impressive. I decided to go with them.

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I saw that they had a $10 rice bowl special with Hainanese chicken rice, which is easily among my most favorite foods in the whole world. But since their claim to fame appears to be tacos, I figured I’d order those instead and get the chicken rice bowl some other time.

Individual tacos are $4 each and it’s 3 for $11, so it was a no-brainer to get the three. I asked the nice woman at the window what the most popular flavors were and she said the Beer Battered Crunchy Fish taco, the Vietnamese Beef Shortrib, and the Five Spice Calamari. I decided to go for those three.

The order took about 5-7 minutes to be made, but when it came the presentation was beautiful. Unlike other trucks where they’ll throw your food into a paper bag and it’s anyone’s guess what you’ll see when you open it, these tacos were carefully placed in the aluminum container and then placed carefully so the contents wouldn’t shift in transit. I appreciated them putting as much care into the presentation as they did the food. When I got back to the office the food looked as amazing as it did at the truck.

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The Beer Battered Crunchy Fish taco was amazing. I don’t know what it is about Asian deep frying but for some reason whether I’m eating a piece of fried fish or a piece of fried chicken it tastes much lighter than your Arthur Treacher’s or KFC, almost to the point of it feeling healthy. In this case, the batter was crispy but light and flaky with a very subtle deep fried taste. The fish was also light with a wonderful mild taste, and on top of it was cabbage, cilantro, scallions, and thinly sliced onions with a mayo dressing (or more accurately, a lemongrass aioli), all on top of a soft tortilla. This is one where I made sure I ate every last piece that fell into my dish.

The Vietnamese Beef Shortrib was also beautiful to look at, with carmelized onions, daikon radish, and cilantro, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, and sweet chili spicy mayo dressing. And of course, the beef which was tender and marinated in a sweet soy sauce. Some may find off-putting the fact that there’s chewy tendons mixed in with the beef, but Asians will tell you that’s actually the best part. The combination of flavors is exquisite.

Finally, the five spice calamari. The squid is fried in the same light batter as the fish, and again the mix of the flavors of the crispy calamari with 5 spice, picked red onion, aioli, and a tomato basil creole sauce makes its flavor remarkably unique as well and thoroughly satisfying.

What impressed me is that each of the three tacos had a distinct personality of its own. The fish taco was light and crisp with a refreshing quality, the shortrib was sweet and savory with a richness, and the calamary had an exotic, complex flavor that did interesting things with the five spices.

I don’t dole out five star reviews very much, but this truck had it all. I will be going back.

5 of 5

Price I paid: $11

Line: 5 mins

Tricks for fast ordering: Do the 3 for 11 taco mix-match. Choose any taco at random, they’re all good.

What to order if you’re a newbie: 3 for 11 with fish, shortribs, calamari.

The menu:

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On Twitter:


Gorilla Cheese NYC (American)

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Food Truck: Gorilla Cheese

Sighting: 47th and Park

Country: USA

I’ve seen the Gorilla Cheese NYC  truck many times but never had a chance to go until today. Like most of you, I’ve been a fan of the grilled cheese sandwich since I was a kid and buttered up my first Wonder Bread with Kraft American Cheese. So for a long time I anticipated my first visit.

As you’ve seen from other posts there have been other trucks that far surpassed my expectations, but sadly today’s experience fell far short of what I’d been hoping for.

I went a little later in the afternoon at 2:30 as other trucks were closing shop. This truck was still open so I dropped by. The guy at the windows was counting up the money as I walked up. He stared and me and said, “what do you want?” before he caught himself, smiled, and asked me, “what would you like to order”.

I asked him what the most popular entree was and he said the #5: Sharp Cheddar with BBQ pulled pork & Caramelized Onions on Wheat Bread. Sounded good to me, so I ordered one, along with a combo that included tater tots and a can of soda (or a bottle of water) for $10.

The food came relatively quickly, within 2-3 minutes. But when I got back to my office, here’s what I unwrapped to find.

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I guess the first thing that struck me was the portion size. You’ve seen what $10 can buy you at other trucks, but here was just this lonely little slab of two slides of bread with a thin layer of pork and cheese.

The second thing that struck me was how much the bread was burnt. Grilled cheese should be a beautiful golden brown and not charred. I would have hoped, especially since I was the only person on line, that they could have done a little quality control before wrapping up this carcinogen sandwich (I’d have taken it back, but by the time I walked back to the truck they would be long gone).

The taste was okay, but nothing to write home about.

Sadly, my expectations had been pretty high on this one–I’d been other other grilled cheese shops in the City and usually the sandwiches are pretty substantial. This one was just two slabs of thin bread with a thin layer of cheese and ingredients. Maybe I just caught them on a bad day, but this isn’t one I’m rushing back to anytime soon.

2 of 5

Price I paid: $10

Line: None

Tricks for fast ordering: Choose your favorite cheese from the list (American, Cheddar, Gruyere, Smoked Mozzarella, Muenster, Swiss, Asiago), and your favorite additions. Be careful, though, is a “fully loaded” sandwich will cost you $18!

What to order if you’re a newbie: Go for “Today’s Melt” with Tots & Drink.

The menu:

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On Twitter: