391 Old Post Rd, Bedford
(914) 234-8900; truckrestaurant.com
Hours: Lunch, Tues to Fri 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Dinner Tues to Thurs 5:30 – 9:30 pm; Fri and Sat 5:30 – 10:30 pm; Sun 11:30 – 8 pm.
Appetizers: $4-$15; entrées: $11-$19; desserts: $1.50-$4.50
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…—Outstanding â˜…â˜…â˜…—Very Good
There is a lot to like about Truck, the sleekly styled Mexican restaurant in Bedford. If anything, it is a good-looking, welcoming restaurant that ticks a lot of boxes for local residents. Truck’s tall space offers clean, modernist lines painted in the warm pastels of heritage-breed chicken eggs, plus, all around, you’ll find small gestures toward the dreamy rusticity that pleases the ex-urbanite, financial titans in town. Look for beautifully, oh-so-carefully rusted metal room dividers to spell “Bedford” in a Pepperidge Farm-ish font. The hostess’s podium is actually a counter on which sprout a bed of micro-greens, and while you’re waiting to be seated, expect to be tempted by domed cake stands bearing all-American layer cakes in adorable, 1/3 scale. Squee!
But here’s the strange part. While almost everything at Truck evokes the insanely perfect Americana of Planet Martha Stewart (though that famous Bedford resident is not involved in this venture), Truck’s menu offers primarily Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine. I’m glad that Truck skipped saguaro-and-sombrero kitsch, but I think this restaurant has; décor vs. menu disconnect; the two elements don’t seem to relate. Still, Truck is an attractive and completely family-friendly restaurant. With its welcoming energy, disguising hubbub, and sea-green Formica tables, this is a place where families with children can dine without fear.
Truck can be smart when it counts. Look for excellent Power-Wagon Margaritas—they’re made with Pueblo Viejo blanco tequila, lime juice, orange juice, all-natural Triple Sec, and organic sugar. Also good, the pretty, pink Texas Ruby Star (Pueblo Viejo blanco and organic Ruby Red Star grapefruit) offers the ideal balance of sour, salt, sweet, and alcoholic whammy. Look for trendy wine on tap—like the Gotham Project’s “Empire Builder” blend of Chardonnay and Riesling from the Finger Lakes—along with many beers. Of these, find Negro Modelo, Ommegang, and Captain Lawrence Pale Ale on tap, and Pacifico, Peak Organic, and Cisco Brewer’s Sankaty Light in bottles. Further, Truck offers a small but on-message roster of boutique spirits (Balcones “Baby Blue” Texas whiskey, Crop organic vodka from Minnesota). Non-alcoholic options are compelling, too, with Mexican Coke, Boylan’s ginger ale, homemade limeade, and local, organic milk on offer.
All great, but we encountered several rough patches at Truck, starting with the pronounced (and borderline acrid) flavor of garlic in its guacamole. What a heartbreak! On both tries, Truck’s house-made chips were beefy and crisp, and its avocados were perfectly ripe and creamy—if only we could discern the flavor of either over that ugly garlic. Better starters lie in the kid-friendly corn dogs whose delightfully gritty, corny jackets yield to a surprisingly honest beef-and-pork sausage. These are miles better than any nitrite-filled fairground fodder you might have come across in the past. A skillet of chorizo con queso makes an indulgent starter, with the orangey fat of the sausage melting with gooey Monterey Jack and mozzarella. On the lighter side, look for huge salads, including the Farm Salad with feta, beets, radish, cucumbers, and balsamic dressing. A single order might be happily shared with a group, though other servings can feel skimpy. The tempting (and delicious) starter of Captain Jeff Northrop’s fried Connecticut oysters yielded all of five bites for $15.
Aside from a remarkably tasty Truck burger served with guacamole, Monterey Jack, and confetti-like chile-crusted onion rings, most of Truck’s entrées fall into the taco/burrito/quesadilla/enchilada realm. In these, we were almost uniformly disappointed, spoiled, as we have become, by Mexican food geared for native Mexicans. For instance, though the beef burrito (with mild guajillo chile sauce and pico de gallo) was large, it was remarkably bland, and not even house-made habanero sauce could save it. One of the burrito’s sides, fluffy green rice only mildly scented with cilantro and scallion, had a beautiful texture, but not much beyond that. Black beans, which, along with the rice, come with most of the plates, were so mildly seasoned that they tasted unadorned. Better was a plate of “enchilacos” (one cheese enchilada, one chicken tinga taco) that offered, at least, textural contrasts.
But, here is the thing. Truck isn’t serving Mexican food for native Mexicans; it’s serving a bright, uptown twist on Mexican-American cuisine to Bedford. Unlike in many of the more “authentic” (though I hesitate to use that word) restaurants in Westchester, the oldsters and kids of Bedford can find many things on Truck’s menu to enjoy. To end, don’t miss those divine American layer cakes including a richly cocoa-filled devil’s food cake and a stunning white “Snowball cake” with coconut cream-cheese icing. There are also tiny cones of (sadly, grainy) house-made ice cream, just the right size for small hands.
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