Le Gamin’s Merguez Sandwich is Totally Worth the $9
Those who have been reading Midtown Lunch for awhile may recall the Cartwatch of January ’07. A croque monsieur truck popped up, and just as quickly disappeared a few days later, before ML got a chance to sample their wares. Since then, I have dreamed of the day when we would be able to buy a French ham and cheese sandwich from a truck- and earlier this week, my dream finally came true.
The Le Gamin truck, which has been parking all over NYC since late last year, finally gave Midtown a chance to try their menu of French sandwiches, crepes, quiche, and (of course) frites. They set up shop on 47th btw. Lex+3rd on Tuesday and Wednesday, and not even the rain could keep me away from date with destiny!
The Le Gamin Truck is actually a mobile spinoff of the Le Gamin Cafe, which has been open since 1992 (they now have three locations.) The first day I went, they had actually run out of almost everything I wanted to try by 1pm. I settled for the Croque Monsieur (I got the last one of the day), which at $8 was a tad pricey.
I liked the french bread (which according to their Twitter they get from Balthazar or Amy’s Bread), and the ham and swiss cheese were both tasty- but it leaves you with the overall feeling that $8 might be a bit too much for what amounts to a warm ham and cheese sandwich. And that might be the case with most of the menu, where everything is priced pretty close to $10. I guess it all depends on what you expect from a truck. If you expect your mobile food to automatically be cheaper, you will definitely not like Le Gamin. If you’re excited to get this kind of French street food, on the street, and don’t mind paying more than what you would spend at a generic midtown deli- you will be excited.
On the second day, I got what I came for… the merguez sandwich (with caramelized onions and cheese, $9) with french fries ($4) and all thoughts of the food being overpriced washed away under the deliciousness of sausage, onions, and cheese. Now this is a sandwich that is worth $9. Sure with the fries that put the lunch over the ML price limit- but considering that it came off a truck (you know I love it!) and French style merguez sandwiches aren’t exactly in abundance in Midtown, I’m going to make an exception. It was that good.
The sweetness of the onions perfectly complemented the rich sausage and cheese- with the bread there to soak in all the greasy goodness. Delicious.
The fries were well salted, and good. And since they won’t stuff fries into the sandwich, Paris street food style, I was forced to do it on my own.
Awwww yeah! It’s not all fun and games though. Although I loved my sandwich and fries, the truck still has its issues. They make everything to order, so it takes *forever* to get your food- and even the line just to place your order moves pretty slow. This might work when you’re set up in Park Slope on the weekend, but for Midtown Lunch’ing purposes it’s kind of a drag. Midtown is all about speed and volume, and the truck will quickly learn that people don’t have a lot of time for lunch. Make us wait too long, and we will hesitate to come back.
Another warning… I saw a few crepes being ordered, and while they looked tasty enough, they didn’t appear filling enough to make a complete lunch (which, at $8-9 could be problematic.) All in all, some of you will love the truck, but more of you will probably find the food tasty but overpriced for what you get. Unless, of course, you order the merguez sandwich! I thought it was worth every penny, and I hope they come back to Midtown soon so I can try the lamb dog.
You can read more about the quiche, lamb dog, other sandwiches and salads from the Le Gamin Truck over on Serious Eats: New York.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- French street food from a truck! I love it…
- The merguez sandwich is really tasty, and you can’t find anything like it in Midtown.
- Eating stuff like french fries, and crepes, and quiche from a truck is just much more fun.
- They make everything to order, so your food comes out pretty warm and fresh.
- I don’t mind paying a little bit more $$ to eat good, fresh food from a truck.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Too expensive for what you get
- The food takes forevvvvvvvver. I only have an hour for lunch!
- Fries are good, but $4 is too much!
- Food from a truck should be cheaper than a storefront- not more expensive!
Le Gamin Truck, Find their location daily via Twitter