A new food truck brings a taste of Morocco to 40th and Locust
40th and Locust St.
Don’t Miss: Home fries
Skip: The chicken — it’s dry
Big, bright and impressively–spotless, the new, mustard–colored food truck on 40th and Locust tempts a taste for presentation alone. But despite the swerving taxi cab painted on its side, Marrakesh Express doesn’t exactly recreate the flavors of its titular city (no tagine?). Just a block away from Hummus, it should satiate your wanderlust, with a few clever twists on Mediterranean standbys.
I played a safe route, going with one of the more popular dishes, as the owner suggested. Wrapped up not in pita, but in a thin bread, the chicken shawarma looks like a large burrito. And it’s large — for $5, you should have your fill for lunch, with some leftovers to spare. Stuffed with vegetables (including some deliciously tangy cornichon pickles) and yogurt, the shawarma certainly doesn’t disappoint in its trimmings. The vegetables were fresh and flavorful, as was the bland but satisfying yogurt. I found myself eating around the chicken, though, to get to these tastier components. The chicken was dry, and could have used some more seasoning. It felt like filler in an otherwise satisfying veggie sandwich.
The home fries, however, more than make up for whatever flavor the meat lacks. The mysterious seasoning that coats the fries is like nothing I’ve ever had before, and more than anything else, evokes the smells and flavors of the truck’s namesake city. Akin but not exactly similar to Old Bay seasoning, the spicy adornment merits a taste, if only to puzzle over what makes up this secret concoction. The sauce that accompanies the fries is a little less exciting, if necessary. A pinkish color, it tastes like the “fry sauce” popular in many areas — mayonnaise and ketchup blended together. But it’s more watery, and there’s certainly a dash of something else in the mix, complementing the spices of the home fries nicely. It’s a sweetish palette–cleanser that you will be reaching for, amidst stuffing your face with the home fries.
I finished with a cup of mint tea that came in a cute and perfectly–sized Greek cup. With a commendably–robust flavor, the tea may be a little overwhelming for anyone who is not a mint enthusiast. It was also a little sweet for my taste, but would no doubt please the sweet–tea enthusiasts out there. It’s an uncompromising beverage that takes all of its components to their extremes, and for fans of the drink, it might be the best you’ve ever had.
Closing around 6 p.m. and out of the way of classes, Marrakesh Express will require a small trek during the day, but for fans of Mediterranean staples, it’s worth a visit, if only for the remarkably reasonable prices and generous portions. It probably won’t change the way you think about shawarma and falafel, but it will satisfy your desire to go east.