2012 appears to be the magical year–Roanoke gained not one, but two, food trucks. Food trucks! We’ve entered 2006 finally! All sarcasm aside, I’m incredibly stoked to see, in this case, one established restaurant and one entrepreneur-family try out the food truck model–both to success. The most unexpected one is the one I’ll recap first–Bruno’s GastroTruck, a food truck run by the folks behind The Landing and Bruno’s GastroPub.
There wasn’t much of announcement when the truck started, in fact, the only way I knew about it was by one or two people posting photos of amazing sandwiches on Facebook. After a bit of searching, I found the truck’s Facebook page which had its menu. Duck fat fries, a fish taco on naan bread, a pork belly BLT. Everything sounded too good to be true–especially here where that kind of food is non-existent. It turns out that the restaurant, about forty minutes away from Roanoke at Smith Mountain Lake, started playing around with the gastro idea in its pub–I even found poutine on the menu. Poutine! Be still my heart!
It took us a few weeks to get around to trying the truck, but when we did it was a beautiful, clear blue day, albeit a little blustery. We were on the early end for lunch, but it seemed like more folks showed up to get food, so that’s definitely a good thing. The truck alternates between a few locations, so it’s always best to check them out at their Facebook page or on Twitter, but they seem to be in Roanoke two or three times a week, so there are plenty of chances to find them.
One of the sandwiches that we ordered was the Peruvian Cougar Bahn Mi, composed of “Aged Beef Anticucho Style/Spicy Bean Spread/Pickled Vegetables/Sliced Jalapenos/Huancaina Sauce/French Baguette/Housemade Chips.” Quite a mouthful! A fun take on the traditional Vietnamese sandwich, the bahn mi was bursting with flavor fro the spicy, juicy beef to the crunch of quick pickled cucumbers and carrots to the soft, crusty baguette. My only beef with the sandwich was that our beef was rather undercooked and stringy. Thankfully I don’t mind rare-er beef, but it was a little bit harder to eat as a sandwich since we couldn’t just bite off a piece of meat.
The other sandwich was the KPBLT–“Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly/Pickled Onions
Housemade Tomato Jam/Baby Arugula/Brioche Bun.” In short, a delicious take on a BLT featuring a thick and succulent slice of pork belly with quick pickled onions, and a gardenful of arugula (had to push some of the arugula aside to get a picture of the sandwich–no complaints, just a lot!). No complaints about this sandwich, we fought over every bite. The pork belly was smokey and charred and succulent, the tomato jam a perfect bright punch to the sandwich. Over all, an incredible take on a classic.
We didn’t realize that both sandwiches came with fresh made potato chips (crispy and delicious), so we ordered the duck fat fries as well–which, I mean, really, could we have not? I think G was a bigger fan of them than me, they were just a little too soggy for my taste. Duck fat can fry up super crispy and these ones seemed like they needed another go-around in the fryer. The taste was great, but I could have gone for a better texture.
All in all, the GastroTruck made for a great creative and tasty lunch. A few hits and a few misses, but nothing that’s not to be expected from a new restaurant venture–especially one on wheels. I’m definitely stoked to go back and try the naan fish taco as well as the rotating list of specials from Asian-style noodle bowls to jambalaya. Oh, and they serve some sort of take on bread pudding with Krispy-Kreme donuts and a caramel dressing. Super sweet, but hey, I’m a Southern gal, I like my Krispy-Kreme.
Bruno’s Gastro Truck
Rotating locations in the New River Valley