Friday, November 18, 2011

Mess #1 and Mess #2

So many choices to choose from at today's Farragut Friday, although I nearly made the trek over to Franklin to get a taste of the new Shawarma truck and to pick-up some bacon BBQ meatloaf for the weekend.  Instead, I stuck around my local spot to once again try Far East Taco Grill and to finally try Carnivore BBQ.

While I was away I noticed FETG was serving up tacos "dirty style" but then just as quickly stopped serving them because of the time it took to make them.  Since service can sometimes be slow there anyway, that was probably a good idea, although they really should figure out a way to expedite because, if you haven't had it yet, y'all are missing out on a treat.  I arrived very early for lunch today, and without a crowd they were willing to hook me up for an extra $2 total for all 3 tacos.  What is dirty style?  They take your complete order per taco, slaw, sauce(s) and all, and grill it an extra minute or two with cheese for an ooey-gooey mess.

The owner asked me to let him know what I thought, so here it is: flavor is great, although I would leave the slaw off the grill and top the tacos after if for no other reason is it keeps some of the crunch.  Plus, I think most of the cilantro is lost being served like this, so either use more, or keep that for post-grilling too.  But, you're still serving up some of the best tacos in town!  (After my experience this week, Chupacabra is the only taco competition, but they're obviously serving up something different than you guys.)  An update and a photo of my dirty style tacos have been appended to the prior review, still under 4 honks:
Far East Taco Grill (@FarEastTG on Twitter) -- When I first saw the menu for Far East a few weeks ago, my immediate reaction was "wow, that's exactly what TaKorean serves," but I also was plainly aware of the (now) hoards of halal/kabob trucks roaming DC's streets which all seem to survive, so maybe not such a big deal.  It took a very long time to get served, and when I got my order it was wrong.  But after I finally dug in, I was quite content: marinated & grilled chicken and beef, with a choice of 4 slaw options, options for chopped onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and a lime crema, plus a choice of 4 additional sauces.  THAT is what gets 'em to 4 honks!  Besides the proteins being juicy and flavorful, the sauces rock, even including the lime crema!  I particularly enjoyed the pineapple sauce although I wish there was also a spicy pineapple sauce to choose from, or at least if I could have sriracha AND pineapple rather than one or the other.  (I'll ask next time.)  Even the kimchi slaw option is better here than TaKorean in my opinion.  3 tacos for $8 is a buck cheaper, but was the starting price when the blue guy started out too, so I wouldn't be surprised if that changed.  Really nice job guys.  Giving you the benefit of doubt that it was one of your first couple of days and service will improve, so 4 honks!  UPDATE (18Nov):  It's been a little while.  There is now a pork option and the pineapple sauce is gone having been replaced by some sort of sesame sauce.  Total bummer, because that pineapple sauce was da bomb.  (I didn't try the new sauce.)  If you have an opportunity to hit this truck when there's no line, fork over an extra $2 and ask for your tacos "dirty style" -- don't ask, just do.  I promise you'll love it, but for real, they won't do it for you if there's a line.
Next stop, Carnivore BBQ.  Now I know there is always a HUGE line for this truck, but after my first experience, I'm guessing it's because they serve arguably the best deal in terms of pounds of food per dollar.  I ordered the pork and got an enormous tray filled with a split roll "stuffed" with pulled pork, 3 sauces, and slaw; I can't even call it a sandwich... My unfortunate review is posted under 2.5 honks, along with a picture:
Carnivore BBQ (@carnbbq on Twitter) -- You'll definitely get a lot of food for your dollar at Carnivore BBQ, but will you enjoy it?  For me, not so much.  I found the pork both dry and excessively fatty, as hard as that is to do.  When I was asked about what sauce(s) I wanted, there were plenty to choose from, so I just asked for it to be spicy which ended up meaning 3 sauces topped the meat.  Maybe a mistake was made since the bottles weren't marked but one of them was cloyingly sweet with some strange tang.  The slaw was ok, although it didn't have a particularly "bright" color you'd like to hope for in a fresh slaw.  I'm sorry, but I won't be rushing back.