Black Market Food Truck rolls through first weekend - PHOTOS
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • January 21, 2013 @ 10:29am
Ambling over to the Black Market Food Truck stationed outside of Vera Pizzeria on Saturday night around 11:30, I was impressed by how formidable the new truck looked, especially in comparison to its appearance in the Kickstarter video created by co-owners Christian Willmott and Michael Dimmer (photo, right).
Most of Buffalo’s food trucks boast striking colors—the Roaming Buffalo is royal blue, Lloyd Dos is bright lime green, R & R BBQ is yellow, and Pizza Amore was a simple white and red—but like fellow newcomer Knight Slider, the Black Market Food Truck is almost entirely black, making it almost tank-like in the night.
Though it lacks the vibrancy of others, it certainly owns the “cool” factor.
Chatting with Willmott as the owners—the only two on the truck—began to vend Saturday night, I learned that the duo adjusted the kitchen’s layout and altered the serving process after the first night outside Acropolis. Because they were a little dissatisfied with operations during the debut, you’d think the first night didn’t go as planned.
According to the social media of Buffalo Eats’ Donnie Burtless and Park Country Club’s James Roberts, apparently the owners were a little too self-critical. In the absurdly connected world we live in, Burtless’ Facebook thread both praised the BMFT’s Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich absent from almost every menu in Buffalo, and offered constructive criticism—to add a little more spiciness and heavier use of white bean pate.
Word traveled to Dimmer, and here’s his reply on the same Facebook thread: “I dig this feedback! Night 2 we made a couple slight changes (more Sriracha in the aioli, more pâté on the roll). Keep it coming!”
The Black Market Food Truck’s Banh Mi was re-imagined on Saturday night, and although I can’t compare it to the opening night, the locally-produced baguette “roll” encasing the ingredients was indeed top-notch—a crusty outside housed a chewy interior—and the typical vegetables (fresh cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon) made the sandwich fairly authentic. I still can’t get over the greatness (read: freshness and taste) of the bread.
To placate the average Buffalo eater—particularly late-night—the BMFT owners veered a little away from traditional Vietnamese fillings (pork shoulder, Vietnamese meatballs, head cheese) and settled on a meat frequently used in Vietnam—pork belly—that is also a trendy menu item in progressive Buffalo restaurants.
Although Dimmer noted in an earlier interview that he was a little hesitant about using a lot of pate, a paste commonly known as “chopped liver” even though it’s frequently not the case, but the creaminess was pleasant and the flavor was far from dominant.
The second sandwich that I and Roommate Tom tried was the chipotle shrimp and bacon with apple-ginger ale slaw sandwich—it was a pita chock full of diverse ingredients—and the shrimp was plentiful, the ginger-apple slaw was sweet, crunchy and refreshing, though the bacon was a little less apparent. It wasn’t particularly big for a $6 sandwich, but the quality of the ingredients made the price seem more fair.
We sampled the Buffalo chicken arancini and the Black Market potato salad, and the arancini stole the show. Essentially breaded rice balls with a Buffalo chicken flavored filling, these three spheres were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside—the rice was more mushy than grainy—and the spice of the chicken and hot sauce was apparent. Tough to argue with gourmet drunk food, even if I was quite sober.
Finally, the sweet potato corn chowder—a variety of soup that Dimmer claimed was his favorite to make—was not as sweet as I anticipated. There was more of a smoky taste to the rather thin soup, though the stomach-warming flavor was welcomed on a bitterly windy night.
The weekend debut served as a learning experience for the newcomers to the food truck scene, and it’s encouraging that Willmott and Dimmer are excited to adapt and incorporate suggestions from their customers.