Flatiron Lunch: The Brother’s Express Truck
Every Friday we go south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
This week, I had the enormous pleasure of meeting my predecessor, the King of the Flatiron, Ultraclay! And what did we do to celebrate our momentous meeting? We ate! Clay suggested a truck parked on the corner of 18th and 6th Avenue called Brother’s Express. He had been before and had always wanted to share it with you all, but moved to greener pastures to the north before he had the chance.
With several previous cancellations on both our parts, and Clay being snagged in the office at the last minute (yes, we actually do work in addition to contributing to ML), we almost didn’t make it. But thank goodness we did, because ever since I had walked by last week (after getting sandwiches at Boqueria), I had been eager to try it.
Brother’s Express is kinda the deli of trucks – they have a little bit of everything. And it isn’t a small push cart either, it is a fully decommissioned-Postal-truck-sized truck. The menu is a little bit all over the place, figuratively and literally. I knew they featured Latin dishes thanks to a little research, but they also have a large selection of “grill items”; burgers, grilled cheese, hot dogs, Philly cheese steak, turkey burgers. The lunch menu consists of over-sized photos with the dish name and price which covers most of the exposed street-side of the truck. Normally, picture menus would make things much easier (how could they not?), but somehow, I overlooked Tacos several times. I had my heart set on Mexican food and there was the lack of sandwich chalkboard with specials (see research above), but there was a smallish white paper sign in the truck window the read “Empanadas” – SOLD! Don’t forget near the back of the truck is a separate menu listing of breakfast items and drinks.
When Clay arrived, he confirmed that he previously tried the Tacos and they were good. But since he has been on the search for a really good Italian sausage with peppers and onions (recommendations, anyone?), he decided to continue his quest. After a little bit of a wait, our food was ready. Clay’s Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions (for just $3.99!) struck me as breakfast sausage with peppers and onions. It just had that “patty” look. Clay was smart enough to know better, and correctly surmised that it was either Italian Sausage in a patty or, more likely, Italian Sausage removed from the casing and grilled on the flattop. This preparation yielded sausage that was crisp on the outside with a nice meaty center. He thought the sausage, peppers and onions were all well made and had the right flavors and the right amount of grease to soften the roll, although it could have had a little kick to the sausage. In fact, Clay even went as far to say it was the closest thing to a summer street festival sausage that he’d found in his lunching. (Trust us…the good summer street festival sausages, not the bad ones. We even discussed the difference.) Keep in mind when you go that the menu photo shows a long hoagie roll, but it came on a round sandwich roll.
My Torta (for $4.99) also came on the same round sandwich roll. I ordered it with pork, which was soft, flavorful pulled pork and it was piled pretty high. It had the right amount of melted cheese to unify the sandwich, in addition to lettuce, beans and pickled jalapeños. I would have liked some fresh chilies or hot sauce on the Torta, and I should have asked (I am sure they have some in that large truck), but I was too busy enjoying the company. I also noticed the necessary grease on my sandwich coming through the waxy paper my sandwich was wrapped in.
The empanada was also tasty and very traditional, with ground meat, seasonings and a little onion. You don’t really need anything else. I take that back…a little sauce would have been nice. The empanada wasn’t dry by any means. In fact, it was perfectly flaky on the outside and moist on the inside, I just would have liked a little salsa. Clay had also ordered it previously and thought it was a good choice. I think it is pretty obvious that I could learn a thing or two from him about finding good food!
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- They get the flavors right at a great price
- I love anything from a truck, especially Mexican food
- All your deli grill staples without having to actually enter a deli
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- I won’t tolerate Mexican food with pickled jalapeños – it’s a travesty
- I want my food spicy!
- Why am I going here and not a deli?
Brother’s Express Truck, South West corner of 6th Ave on 18th Street, (347) 852-6288