So far, just a bricks-and-mortar; truck is still to come (photo: Steve Dolinsky)
I wish I wasn’t so hungry last night. If I had just taken a minute to put down my sandwich and grab a photo of what I was eating, you would have a better appreciation for how good my sandwiches were. You see, I was faced with one of those perplexing problems: what do I get when so many things on the menu sound so good. But I couldn’t stop chowing on my food, and by the time I realized I hadn’t taken any photos, it was too late.
The tiny space that is gaztro-wagon is supposed to be a warm-up, or more accurately, a headquarters, for what will eventually be a mobile food truck operation (assuming the city gets its shit together, and starts approving licenses). But for now, the wagon is just a dream. In the meantime, anyone can truck up to Edgewater and try one of the housemade “naanwiches,” featuring - you guessed it - slightly puffy naan instead of slices of bread.
The fillings are tempting: wild boar belly with sharp fennel and creamy yogurt; smoked salmon stuffed with crisp watercress, crème fraîche and shaved red onions; even a nod to Mexico, with some slow-roasted pork shoulder, tart radish, cilantro and crumbled queso fresco. All of these ingredients are wrapped up into the freshly-baked naan, making a great streetside snack, or just a hearty meal you can eat at one of the three or four tables. Most of the naanwiches cost seven or eight bucks and are great value for the money. They also had a “New England Lobster Roll” on the menu (priced a little higher, at $12), and I was curious to see if it lived up to the others I’ve had on the East Coast - or even from Shaw’s, which does a pretty good version. Not surprisingly, there was no lightly-griddled hot dog bun sliced vertically, but even tucked into the naan, the generous hunks of claw and tail meat were bound together with just a bit of mayo, some bright citrus and a thinly-sliced pickle; I could definitely see myself chowing on one of these naanwiches at 2 a.m. with a slight buzz near the corner of Damen and Milwaukee.
I also popped into the brand new Pork Shoppe afterward - which literally just opened up yesterday - and since it’s so new, I don’t think it’s really fair to talk about the brisket, ribs, pork belly pastrami, sliced steak, mac & cheese, fries and jalapeño cornbread I had, so I’ll reserve judgement for another time. Avondale residents have to be psyched though. With Hot Doug’s just up the street, the area near California and Belmont could become Protein Central.
First Day Dolinsky will wait until they get on their feet