Two CHOW editors on a caloric extravaganza exploring innovation, novelty, and deliciousness. rss
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French Symbiosis in SOMA

A vol-au-vent filled with shrimp cooked perfectly and sauced in a rich, creamy curry is not something that screams out food truck fare. Neither does foie gras torchon, or anything involving a truffle emulsion. But the Spencer on the Go! truck does it, and does it well, serving upscale French food in a parking lot by Oil Can Henry’s, an oil change business at Folsom Street and Seventh.

We ate the shrimp vol-au-vent fast—agreeing that we'd like a vat of it and a bunch of extra bread to sop the sauce up with—then tried out the asparagus with truffle emulsion. Small stems of asparagus were cut to fit one of those paper containers that's normally filled with fries at a roach coach. The asparagus were served cold and covered with creamy truffle sauce and some grated cheese.

"Escargot pops" seemed to be a slight misnomer since they weren't on a stick (though we've heard they usually are), but we didn't really care: The bite-size puff pastries filled with snails got to our mouths anyway. The pastry seemed a tad doughy, but the intensely flavorful parsley-based sauce dabbed on the puffs distracted us from really caring.

The truck attracted a mixed crowd: a guy with a baby carriage; a woman ordering a cupcake for a kid who couldn’t stop talking about how it "smelled funny," and a French-speaking guy (complete with boat-neck striped shirt) cruising over from Terroir, a wine bar directly across the street. After a very French "pardon?" at the truck's window, he went straight to bro'd-up American speak, apologizing for being late to pick up his lamb cheek sandwich. The guy manning the truck said it was OK, refused to give it to him cold, and made him a new one. Nice quality control.

The truck and wine bar have great symbiosis, and it's no coincidence: Dagan Ministero, one of Terroir's owners, worked with Laurent Katgely, the owner of Spencer on the Go!, at Katgely's brick-and-mortar restaurant Chez Spencer, before opening Terroir. Says Ministero: "When he concocted the idea for the truck, we were like, 'Please park in front of the bar!'"