A spicy mash-up of Mexican flavors and succulent Barbecue, Mexicue burst onto the food truck scene nearly two years ago and immediately it gained cult-like status. I would frequently find myself in the vicinity of the truck and you would know because the line would be nearly around the corner! A few lucky times I would happen upon the truck with only a few people before me and get lunch but for the most part I enjoyed the food at food festivals, outdoor movie screenings, and the like.
Well at a recent Elixirs & Eats event I met Peter Sununu, one of the guys who helps run the entire operation and he invited me and a client over for a meal and conversation at their new LES storefront (ok its one year old but still most people only know about the truck) to talk shop. It was a few months since I had last visited Mexicue at their 7th Avenue location and I was excited to check out the operation downtown (where the commissary kitchen churns out food for the entire Mexicue food family).
On a muggy Tuesday night we headed to LES and hit up Mexicue. Tucked away in the shadow of the soccer field at Sara Roosevelt Park in the heart of what some could say is Chinatown and some could say is the LES (the neighborhood lines have crossed so much in the last few years). Once you turn onto Forsyth you can’t miss it but from Broome or Grand it may be hard to spot. I’ve gotta say the neighborhood offers very little in the form of good quality food what with endless amounts of sub par Asian take-out joints peppering the streets but Mexicue is a breath of fresh air….literally (sometimes the stench when you come off of the Grand subway station makes you wanna pass out).
*Chips & Salsa*
(from bottom to top: habanero (hot), verde (medium) and fresca (mild)
*Full Disclosure: We did not pay for our meal, Peter wouldn’t let us even after we protested. So suffice to say I owe him a meal and a drink But my thoughts on the place are my own and were not influenced by the fact that I was not allowed to pay!
I barely looked at the menu before a plethora of food and drink appeared (they have a wide variety of draft and bottled beers as well as non-alcoholic beverages). But it’s pretty straightforward and simple…choose your style (rice bowl, burrito, 3 tacos or 3 sliders) and then choose a filler (Alabama BBQ Chicken, BBQ Brisket, Burnt Ends Beef Chili, Pulled Pork, Smoked Short Rib, BBQ Pinto Beans or Black Beans). Or if that doesn’t work for you, order a salad bowl and choose your toppings, a protein and a dressing.
We began with what I thought would be standard chips and salsa but it was anything but. Fresh baked tortilla chips served with three different salsas…one hotter than the next. I’m quite timid when it comes to spice and am trying my best to fully embrace the heat so having three different options was quite nice. I could be adventurous and dig deep into the habanero one minute and then puss out with the refreshing fresca salsa the next. The guy next to me was hovering over his guacamole like someone was trying to steal it so on my next visit I’ve gotta get the guac!
*Alabama BBQ Chicken Taco*
Next came tacos and sliders….when I looked at the menu I don’t think I would have chosen either two to try but once again I relinquished control and was very pleased with the results. Shredded chicken smothered with their bama sauce (which is basically a better version of any chipotle mayo you’ve ever tasted) and topped with crisp lettuce and a generous sprinkling of cotija cheese…it’s delicious especially when you add a salsa or two to the mix to kick up the heat!
*Burnt Ends Beef Chili Slider*
I’ve detailed my love of burnt ends before but I’ve never had them mixed in to make a really dark, savory and hearty chili. The result, served inside a soft potato roll the slider melts in your mouth. Topped with pickled jalapenos and lime crema it’s….heavenly.
*Green Chili Mac n’ Cheese*
Our new friend Peter suggested, no demanded, that we try this as a side and thank God he did. It’s perfectly cheesy (love the addition of cotija on top), creamy, and spicy – in each bite! The portion (the size of a cup) may seem small but this thing is so rich that I don’t think I could possibly eat a larger size! Pair this with an ice-cold beer and you’re golden.
Mexicue is about as good as it gets in terms of fast casual restaurants. If I still worked on 30th and 7th I would be there almost every day. Apparently they have a mix and match option that gives you the choice of sliders or tacos and a side for under $10 which seems to be the perfect amount of food and is likely extremely satisfying. The pairing of Mexican flavors and Barbecue may seem a little weird but it works and works very very well! Follow the truck on twitter to find out where they are in the city each day, or hit up their storefronts in Midtown and LES for a really fantastic and affordable meal!
LES/Chinatown: 106 Forsyth Street (between Broome and Grand Streets)
Midtown West: 345 7th Avenue (between 29th and 30th Streets)
Truck: follow @mexicue for location