Downtown Lunch: And We Shall Name Thee… "Frito Lay" Cart
Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)
First off thanks to Chris for covering my shift last week. I love lamb, and that cart looked pretty damn good. Anyway, on this week’s post… during a meeting with two recently engaged people to discuss their wedding, we started talking about one of my favorite topics, food. The groom-to-be told me he worked downtown so I asked what his favorite cart was. “Definitely the Halal truck right across from Men’s Warehouse on Broadway, they have the best chicken and rice downtown.” I had to check it out, so yesterday I headed to what I’ll name The “Frito Lay” Truck since they have no name or menu but several large Frito Lay stickers slapped around the truck. If the chicken was better than Musthafas Halal cart (aka Zak’s), which is about 20 feet away, I’d be a very happy camper.
Located near the corner of Broadway and Cedar, it’s next to the line of street carts in front of the big red cube, but this Halal spot has an actually full sized truck so it’s parked off to the side of the road. There’s no name and no phone to avoid long lines, and the owner does not work there, which was a disappointment to me. I want the guy responsible for starting that cart making my food. Whether you’re a chef charging $30 an entree or $4 a gyro I like to know you’re standing by your product (I guess I mean that in the literal sense).
Anyway the owner wasn’t there but the people chopping chicken seemed quite friendly and well versed in the ancient art of street meat. I went with the chicken with rice combo which comes as an enormous platter with salad and yellow rice for $5. I was there early so the chicken was tender and had just finished cooking and you could smell a beautiful aroma in the air. To season the chicken they use basil, fresh ginger, and cracked black pepper, which you can kinda see in the up close shot on the fork.
At first, the guy was a bit overzealous with the white sauce. I asked him to stop but I think he was just in a groove and didn’t hear me, so I had to ask a second time. (It’s quite possible he might have never stopped.) The chicken was good but not as great as I had hoped or prepared for after watching it cook and smelling it. I did like the seasoning, so I’d say the chicken here rates higher than most I’ve had, but I couldn’t help but think I made the mistake of not getting the lamb gyro for $4. While I was waiting for the chicken I asked to sample a piece being cut off the gyro spit, and boy it was delicious — tender, a bit crispy from the red coils, and flavorful. I would definitely come back for that.
If you’re going to get a lamb gyro I would give this place a shot but if you’re stickin’ wit chicken, go try Musthafas Halal Cart, where the chicken wins out.
Frito Lay Truck, Corner of Broadway and Cedar
Photos and post by Daniel Krieger