Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My affection for tomatoes

...or my lack of.  My background is Italian, so I'm bred to love pasta & sauce, etc, but somehow the love for actual raw tomatoes skipped a generation.  I just don't like the texture.  Chop them up and cook them and I'm ok, but the slime-factor has historically been a deterrent.  After today, I may have to re-think....

When Chef Driven first launched his truck, in one early conversation about his intention to frequently change the menu, I suggested "I'd be first in line when you put soft-shell crabs on."  And today I followed through with my exact promise/threat -- first in line & first day.  A single crab lightly breaded and sauteed is served on a bed of arugula greens with, wait for it: tomatoes.  But not just any tomatoes.  Grape tomatoes, which were roasted until they just popped with a gentle marinade.  So good!  You can't see them really in the photo but amongst the peppery arugula, a nice pile of them could be found under the delicate, sweet, and slightly salty (in a good way) soft-shell.  Thanks, Jerry!  Another amazing salad.

The only thing I can say about this dish that would be unfavorable is it wasn't very filling as it only had the one crab.  I called Bayou Bros out a couple of weeks ago for their soft-shell offering, although I did fail to say it was actually 2 crabs when comparing it to Sabor'a Street, whose portion also came with 2 crabs:
"At $14, the sub (+Lays chips) is the same price as the last time DCers had soft-shells being served from a truck, but the earlier one was executed substantially better and came with a high-end side."
Bottom line, yet still considering the quality Chef Driven puts out, it's my opinion $14 is pretty expensive for this with only one crab, but would happily pay $16ish for two crabs.

Still hungry, I also grazed on another new menu item, which, lucky for me, had more of those luscious tomatoes.
What you see above are two cornmeal-crusted fried oyster tacos, stuffed with a mixed veg slaw, chopped lettuce greens, and a tarragon green goddess dressing.  The slaw had thin, beautiful slices of green onion, offering a mild onion flavor as well, without being over powering.  Biting in to one of the 5 plump oysters earned a pleasant pop of juiciness.  That, coupled with the crunch of everything else, made for yet another new, impressive twist on a taco.

Just go.  Really.  I can't say that enough!