Food Truck Review: The Steel Cart

You’ve got to check out The Steel Cart, an insanely good food truck roaming about the streets of New York. Seriously, go there for lunch tomorrow, you know, if you live in New York City. Or, if you’re planning on traveling to New York in the future. That’s not too farfetched, right? I’m assuming I have a global audience. Would it be crazy to imagine people reading this review from some faraway land and planning a vacation based around what I’m about to write? I don’t think so. Maybe getting there by tomorrow might be out of the question for you out-of-towners. But seriously, no later than next week, because this place is getting big, and who knows how far that line’s going to be snaking around the block by this time two weeks from now?

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Listen, you might be a little skeptical. “When did Rob turn into a food critic?” you might ask yourself. Which is a stupid question. I’ve reviewed tons of food already. I wrote about how much I loved Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos taco. One time I wrote about a day last summer when I ate thirty hot dogs in under an hour. Plus there’s this whole piece about how I like my steak medium-rare.

And I love food trucks. New York City has tons of food trucks. There’s this place by my house that makes some of the best falafel in the world. Oh yeah, I wrote about that also. See? I have tons of food critic experience. Well, maybe not tons, but handfuls. Let’s make those fistfuls. It sounds a little tougher, a little big more legitimate.

Back to The Steel Cart. Like I said, there are almost too many food trucks to choose from. And that’s what I was dealing with, that paradox of choice as I found myself running late for work one afternoon. I was desperately hungry for some lunch, but I only had like ten minutes to grab a bite without risking showing up late, my manager pointing his finger at me, “I told you that if you were late one more time that would be it!”

I couldn’t make a decision. It’s a food truck renaissance out there. You can get lobster rolls, artisanal donuts, Korean barbeque, and that’s not to mention the glut of regular boring chicken-and-rice food trucks taking up prime real estate on every other city block. The choices are endless. But I noticed The Steel Cart standing out from the rest of the pack. I’d never tried it before, but the menu looked pretty cool.

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The Steel Cart did not disappoint. It was like a history-altering epiphany of flavor weaved into each bite. I’m talking about your standard fare, your sandwiches, your soups, but everything was done a little bit nicer, each plate assembled with just the right amount of artisanal craft. I tried their Bird of a Feather sandwich. If someone came up to me with a gun and told me to describe it in exactly three words, I’d quickly say, “It’s a chicken salad sandwich! Don’t shoot! Please!” And then the crazed gunman might say, “I said three words exactly!” and I’d be like, “That was three words. Chicken, salad, and sandwich,” but he’d say, “No, you also said ‘don’t shoot’ and all of that other stuff.” Click.

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Luckily I’m not constrained by any specific word count, because it’s so much more than just regular chicken salad. As I took my first bite, I couldn’t even begin to pinpoint the onslaught of flavors jockeying for attention from my taste buds. The friendly trio manning the cart explained to me a little bit of what went into their creation: celery seed, agave, green apple slaw. It was so tasty that I couldn’t slow down my jaw to really appreciate each subtle flavor. So I ordered another one.

I actually wound up being really late for work, much later than I had ever been before. But I couldn’t help it. The sandwiches were so good. And these guys make Turkish coffee. They have their own custom kiln or whatever it is you call that copper pot used to brew an individual serving (I looked it up. It’s called an ibrik.) Luckily, I work for a restaurant, and just as my boss was about to give me the boot, I told him that I was out scouting for ideas from some of the local food trucks. He got this insane glint in his eye, like maybe he was going to go out there and steal all the good ideas from The Steel Cart. So when he asked me where, I pointed in the direction of some lame-o chicken-and-rice operation down the block. I can’t believe he bought it.

Go check out The Steel Cart. Sometimes they’re in Brooklyn, sometimes in Midtown Manhattan. Like most of these mobile operations, you kind of have to rely on good luck like I did, or you can follow them on Twitter and find out where they’ll be. It was great. I can’t wait to try out their other sandwiches. And hopefully they see this link, they read it, and they send me a box of sandwiches, just like Pepperidge Farm did when I wrote about how much I love Milanos.

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