Monday, November 7, 2011

Far East Taco Grille

Our food truck tour continues with a recent addition to the ever growing fleet of mobile vendors. The Far East Taco Grille which opened its doors in early September takes tacos, a traditional latin dish and adds Asian flare. This fusion of cultures is in vogue not only in brick and mortar restaurants but also with food trucks in and out of this city.

My first experience with fusion tacos came this past year when I sampled the TaKorean truck. The two experiences that went behind that post were positive, so when I heard that there was another truck that served similar food I pounced on it as quickly as I could. As you may know by now my Latin background has somehow encoded tacos into my DNA; they are as much a staple in my life as sleep, water, and air.

Once I became aware of their truck I began to follow them on twitter and waited for them to serve anywhere near the Georgetown. My wish came to fruition later that week when they arrived at the State Department. Once the clock struck noon I began my journey to their location in pursuit of taco bliss. On the way there I glanced at their menu on my iPhone and thought long and hard on what I was going to order.

My knowledge or lack thereof when it comes to Asian cuisine proved to be an impediment when I was trying to finalize my decision. While I have exposed my palate to Asian cuisine that is not enough to internally justify what I believe is adequate knowledge for constructing the perfect taco with the ingredients presented to me.

Once I arrived at their black truck I was still unsure as to how I would pair each taco. Each taco comes with one choice of meat, one vegetable slaw, one sauce, and four different topping which are unlimited. I knew beforehand that I was going to try each different meat but pairing it with a slaw and sauce proved to be a challenge to me since I take tacos very seriously.

While waiting in the long line I finalized my decision. I decided to order a powerful steak (rib-eye steak) with Sriracha sauce, kimchi-lime slaw and all the toppings (cilantro, chopped onion, sesame seed, and lime-crema). I also ordered a bang tang teriyaki chicken taco with their #15 sauce, sweet chili romaine slaw, and all the toppings. The last taco I ordered was a sweet sexy tofu with grilled bean sprouts, spicy mayo sauce and all the toppings. After waiting a few minutes my order was presented to me, at which point I took it to a nearby bench to enjoy one of my favorite meals.

(Powerful Steak, Bang Tang Teriyaki, and Sweet Sexy Tofu Taco)

I dissected each taco carefully trying to both enjoy the flavor combinations, identify which components matched well and what needed to be added or removed. The steak taco was constructed perfectly, the juicy and flavorful meat mixed well with kimchi lime slaw and the minor kick of the Sriracha offered remnants of past taco experiences. The chicken taco while good was not great, I initially wanted to order it with either the spicy mayo or pineapple sauce but wanted to try something new. The #15 sauce while flavorful reminded me of a peanut flavored Thai sauce which I do not like. The tofu was the biggest surprise of the three; while I enjoy tofu from time to time it is almost sacrilegious to have a taco devoid of some animal. To my suprise it was a huge success, the tofu was full of flavor and the spicy mayo offered an extra kick of flavor.

My first experience was met with a great deal of curiosity. I wanted to tinker more with the flavor combinations in order to create the perfect Asian taco. I attempted this feat earlier today when I visited them at the GW campus. I stuck with my original steak taco since I enjoyed it so much, I also ordered two chicken tacos in order to remedy the blunder of the original. The first chicken taco came with the spicy mayo, sweet chili romaine slaw and all the toppings. The second taco was adorned with pineapple sauce, romaine vinaigrette and all their toppings. The steak taco tasted even better than I remembered from my first experience and the two chicken tacos were magnificent. If I had to choose one I would prefer the one with the spicy mayo as it blended better with the sweet chili romaine slaw.

All in all my two experiences with this vendor were positive. The ingredients are flavorful the the taste combinations are pure ecstasy. Their service is prompt but the lines during both instances were long. They are cash only at this point and their prices are average (3 tacos cost $8). The only thing that would make them better would be to serve ice cold beer which is almost necessary when devouring tacos but that is not possible with food trucks. Definitely worth a try if you are a fan of tacos or Asian cuisine.

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