Pushing the Yang at the New Rhong-Tiam Truck

(credit: Roberto B.)
(credit: Roberto B.)

Since we were in L.A. last week when the Rhong-Tiam Truck hit the street, we asked Roberto B. to head down to the Flatiron District and check it out for us.

We think Roberto did a great job. After reading his review, let us know what you think. Take it away Roberto!

The Rhong-Tiam Truck is an all-natural burger truck with a Pan-Asian twist – the concept is compelling and the execution admirable.  I bicycled a couple miles over on a day when I knew my boss was watching the clock just to be among the first week’s customers and am without regret.

My plan was to get the burger with the most obvious Thai influence, but after overhearing that the Duck wasn’t up to snuff and had been pulled temporarily from the menu, and the Green Curry (with eggplant relish!) was not available, I took the head chef and truck maitre d’s cheery recommendation to “get the Yang” – beef with caramelized ‘shroom and onion, basil chili, Siracusa aioli (like cheesesauce) lettuce and tomato.

The Rhong-Tiam Truck crew were also not serving the papaya salad and chef urged me to get the fries.  Me and fries.  Everyone wants me to eat fries. Parents, siblings, all major   significant others since 1985, waiters, cooks who come out of the kitchen just to tell me what toorder.…everyone.

Yet, even though I can count the number of french fry makers who have pleased me on one hand, my cardinal rule remains (except for my 6 years as a self-exiled vegan) “food is love, eat what people offer” so I ordered the “Asian Invasion” five spice fries.

(credit: Roberto B.)
(credit: Roberto B.)

I did get my first choice on shake, however, salted caramel vanilla.  The Chef handed it to me while I waited for burger and fries. It was nice.  Personally, I like a shake that will burst your eardrums if you attempt to suck it through a straw, but for a milky shake it was really good – silky smooth with gooey ribbons of caramel punctuating each swallow – not very salty.

Watching the kitchen, you can’t deny they’re working out the kinks.  Chef was good natured but he was working hard to get staff on board with the program and they seemed to be catching on despite some confused looks.

While I was waiting, a woman came back to the window of the Rhong-Tiam Truck holding a 1/3 eaten rare burger (I heard her ask for medium, 15 minutes earlier).  She must have been on the clock like me because she politely asked for something quick and chef graciously complied.

My ”medium rare” was a little more cooked than medium-well girl’s which works for me, especially with high-quality meat, which this is. Very delicious, no filler, no phony spice, wholesome tasting meat.

The toppings were fantastic –  caramelized just up to the sweet level of the old school NY hot dog relish (only without the chemical aftertaste), and the aioli had all the appeal of the old “nacho cheese melt” texture, only with real spicy mayo flavor.

The big surprise, and what really made this trip worthwhile for me – I love Rhong-Tiam’s fries!  They are the best fries I have ever had from a truck, the best fried of my decade!

And I repeat, although I will swear to you I don’t like fries, I eat a few nearly weekly.  And all those times I ate 3 cruddy fries and gave the rest to a companion or chucked em out, were all for this fry experience.

These were irregularly cut with gorgeous imperfections and bits of skin. Crisp on the outside and succulent inside. Coated with beautiful salt – coarse salt that was so totally pretty and delicious that the other four Asian spices knew they were there to glorify the salt, which they did exceedingly well.

And here’s my tip –  I got an irresistible urge to dip some of the fries in the caramel vanilla shake… I almost cried.

I have every intention of visiting the Rhong-Tiam Truck in another month or so, give them a chance to get into their full groove, and when I can hopefully get me some duck burger or eggplant relish.

Excellent job Roberto. Thank you very much for covering the launch of the Rhong Tiam Supreme Burger Truck.

You can find the Rhong Tiam Supreme Burger Truck on twitter here or on our  Mobile Munchies twitter feed.