The Comme Ci Comme Ça truck is definitely one of the better new food trucks around, with Chef Samir keeping the quality high on his dishes. They ran into a string of bad luck a few months ago, with Chef Samir having elbow surgery and one of his chefs sustaining some serious burns, but they seem to be hitting their stride now.
While the Comme Ci, Comme Ça truck is best known for its cous cous dishes, Chef Samir recently introduced a line of basmati dishes with various meats or veggies that I wanted to try.
Today’s Lunch is the Basmati Royal for $10, which is about the most I want to pay for lunch, but this dish looked like it was loaded with goodies, and I couldn’t resist. It was also a way to sample the different meats to see which ones I like best.
In addition to lemon chicken, beef, kofta and merguez, Basmati Royal is served with chickpeas and a mix of carmelized onions & roasted tomatoes. There are also 4 sauces to choose from.
This was a lot of food, but someone has to do the dangerous work around here, so it might as well be me 🙂 Let’s check it out, shall we.
All the meats were grilled, which makes for a somewhat healthier meal. It’s still a lot of meat, but at least it’s not breaded and deep-fried (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
I asked Chef Samir to recommend sauces for the Basmati Royal and he suggested the Casablanca and Spicy Mint sauces. The Casablanca sauce is a better version of the standard white sauce served at food carts around town, and the spicy mint also had cilantro and some other herbs and spices. For the record, the spicy Andalusian sauce is a tomato-based spicy red sauce and the green olive sauce is mayo-based with olives and herbs & spices.
I tried the kofta first, of which there were 2 pieces. They were medium-sized discs of ground beef, and they were nicely spiced. Some kofta can be boring if there aren’t enough spices added to the meat, but these were pretty good.
The (non-kofta) beef portion of the dish was a cut of beef that was sliced into strips and had a nice flavor. It was not tough either, which some beef can be, and the spicy mint sauce really picked up the beef nicely.
IMHO, the best meats were the lemon chicken and merguez sausage. I love merguez sausage, and these had a nice flavor and a good amount of heat. Some merguez sausage isn’t as hot as others, and this one was pretty hot. Nice!
I expected to love the merguez, so the big surprise for me was the lemon chicken. It was all white meat chicken breast that had thyme, paprika, lemon juice and other spices rubbed on it before being grilled. The chunks of chicken were grilled, juicy and very tasty.
The spicy mint sauce was a good choice with the meats, especially the beef strips and lemon chicken. The Casablanca sauce added some creaminess, although it did appear to be mayo based instead of yogurt based. It was still better than the white sauces served by most of the other vendors around town.
The basmati rice underneath the meat was excellent too. It was fragrant and moist, but not greasy at all. The chickpeas were a nice side dish that also benefited from the two sauces. The caramelized onions were more grilled than caramelized, but mixed with stewed tomatoes, they added a slight sweetness when eaten with the meats, and were a good condiment.
Was there a downside to the lunch? Not really, but the salad was kind of superfluous, and it got in the way when I tried to eat the chickpeas, which were served over the salad.
I know a lot can happen in 9 months, but if they can keep the bad luck at bay, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Comme Ci, Comme Ça truck should be a Vendy finalist in the Rookie of the Year category this year.
Based on the basmati royal and the other lunches I had previously, the food here is certainly at the same level or better than some of the Vendy rookie finalists last year, and I don’t say that lightly.
Please let us know in the comments section what other dishes you have tried at the Comme Ci, Comme Ça truck, and how you liked them.