Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cucina Zapata

Food Truck, University City
S. 31st & Ludlow St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this truck, and after I heard that it was Asian/Mexican fusion, I figured it was worth a try. Oh, and they have a Cap'n Crunch crusted tilapia burrito for $6.

The line is longer than every other truck on Drexel's food truck row. Of course every other truck only offers regular Chinese food, cheesesteaks, hoagies, or all of the above.

When I was looking at the menu, I just couldn't figure out what to get. So I went kind of nuts.

I started with a chicken satay taco (top) and a short rib taco (bottom).

Both had an amazing amount of components for the price tag. The avocado was fresh and plentiful, the slaw crisp, and the Sriacha sour cream on the satay was absolutely delicious. The green chili sauce on the short ribs was also a winner. Of the two, however, I think I liked the satay just a bit better. The rich marinade cut through the rest of the ingredients, and was about perfect. The short rib itself was just a bit chewy, which was one of my few complaints.

The Cap'n Crunch crusted fish burrito was the best value of the meal. It was quite hefty, certainly a steal at six bucks, and made with the same love as the tacos, and although it had many of the same components, it tasted totally different. Crunchy, slightly sweet breading, with flaky fish inside. The spicy sauce mixed perfectly with the slaw, diced tomatoes, and avocado slices. I was probably most impressed with this offering, overall.

The chicken Katsu, which is a traditional Japanese dish, for anyone who is going to dispute my saying this truck is Thai/Mexican fusion, was also pretty good. An extremely crispy, thin flat cutlet of chicken, served over a bed of slaw, with a fried egg, rice, and Sriracha drizzle. My only complaints were that the egg yolk could have been just a bit more runny, and this dish could use a side of one of their amazing sauces. I ate a lot of plain white rice that was hiding under the egg, and needed something to jazz it up a bit. I am sure the owner, who was ridiculously accommodating, polite, and funny, would be more than happy to fulfill my diva-like requests for extra sauces in the future.

This is now one of my favorite trucks in the city. If you liked how good Tyson Bee's USED to be, you will LOVE Cucina Zapata. Get the fish, get a Thai tea, hell, you can't really go wrong. Just get something.

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