Silk Road BBQ, Belmont (& Surrondings)
My wife saw a flyer for this food cart posted in the library the other day, and we were intriguide enough to stop by for dinner. This is a mobile roadside stand that serves "Central Asian BBQ", but really seems to be larger in scope than that, with Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Korean street food dishes on the menu. The owner/operator said that they are still experimenting with the menu, which is mainly kabobs right now. He mentioned adding a smoker to the rig soon, for ribs. At any rate, we had two kabobs (chicken and kofte-style lamb) , with shepard's salad, tzatziki, and stewed tomatoes. The meat was well marinated and nicely grilled over hardwood coals. Pretty tasty, could have been a little more liberally seasoned. I thought the prices were slightly on the high side (especially since you have to to stand outside in the dead of winter to get it). Anyway, I applaud the effort and look forward to trying more dishes there.
See website link for where they're going to be. The owner mentioned that they're closing for next week in order to deploy "Version 2" of the cart.
Silk Road BBQ
Rowes Wharf Plaza, Boston, MA 02110
In BELMONT? Awesome. Whenever I hear about something like this, I always think it'll be in the city. Hooray for street food in the 'burbs! But too bad they're closed for the next week.
Can you be more specific about the prices? How does it compare to the local middle eastern options like Jasmine and Shiraz in Watertown, which have kabob entrees for around $13?
About the same entree price (this is dinner, I don't know if their prices differ at lunch time. Personally, I would prefer a lower-priced pita wrap option for lunch) You can also get a kabob without the sides for somewhat less, but I don't remember the price. I think the keys to their success are:
A) Taking advantage of the mobility to serve underserved areas during the weekday lunch hour. I suggested to the owner the Prospect Hill area of Waltham because there are several thousand people working there with very few lunch options that are easily accessible.
B) If they are set up in the middle of town, not duplicating the efforts of well-established restaurants like Demos, Jasmine, Fordees.
I stopped last night at around 7:30pm with a friend and got:
beef kabob dinner w/korean carrot salad
kofte kabob dinner w/tzatziki salad and stewed tomato
They both had a good texture, tender and were well grilled, perhaps another minute to get some more char though for both. Also as Ruprecht indicated, they could have been more liberal with the seasoning. I would expect the seasoning out of Central Asia to be much heavier handed. The tzatziki had a really nice tang and bite to it. According to my friend, the carrot slaw was nice for the first 10 or so bites but the spice did not really complement the beef and ended up dominating the palate. The pilaf was decent, slightly buttery, cooked just right, not mushy or underdone. The stewed tomato was OK, not really sure if the acidity of the tomato worked with either the kofte or the
That being said, they are not aiming for authenticity, or at least, it is not their primary goal as I understand it after chatting with the man behind the grill, Ed. What they are trying to accomplish is perhaps best left for Ed to describe in person.
I will definitely go back to sample the chicken which looked excellent, will likely ask for a lot more seasoning as well and look forward to trying the desserts. You can park in the lot that they are camping in so no need to worry about that. Also, they are about to get their license for Waltham and will be pursuing Watertown and Cambridge quickly after that. Finally, the smoke from the charcoal was wonderful, brought me back to the street markets in China in a flash.
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Made another trip tonight with a friend at around 7:30pm again coincidentally. The rig now has a canopy and Ed has some tunes blasting quietly. We chatted up Ed while we waited for the food to grill and take in the awesome smell of the charcoal.
Since my last visit, there have a been a few changes:
-Carrot slaw now uses chili powder instead of cayenne according to Ed and you can tell the difference, perhaps needing a bit more heat. I wonder if a finer julienne like you would get as a Chinese cold appetizer would be a better texture?
-Beef is now in a different marinade, or in a marinade for the first time.
-They've dropped prices $2 for the dinner plates from $12 to $10 which to my wallet is much more agreeable.
I ordered a chicken skewer plate with Mediterranean salad. Salad and pilaf together, were the right foils for the protein. The chicken was juicy, tender and Ed left it on the grill long enough to develop a nice char around the outside. It was finished with a squeeze of lemon juice. Sadly, because we were having a lively conversation with Ed about the food and their plans, no seasoning made it onto the skewer. The chicken was tasty but could have used some a sprinkle of salt and pepper at minimum and I'm sure if some of their homemade seasoning had made it on their, it would have done an admirable job. I wish they would serve the chicken with skin. I suppose that would be moving into yakitori territory but crispy skin would just kick ass.
The beef was excellent without additional seasoning and like the chicken, Ed left it on the grill longer so it was char a bit more. The (new) marinade was a bit sweet, a bit savory, nothing extreme. It was also topped off with a squeeze of lemon juice, it added an acidity that balanced the other flavors.
Ed had the smoker sitting nearby and is going to fire it up for ribs for Saturday dinner making it very tempting to go back again. In summary, very tasty, still a few rough edges perhaps but so much promise. Only if they could serve beer, I would just hang around, order skewers and drink beers. Who needs pilaf and salad!
Oops on the seasonings for the skewers! (so many great conversations, just forgot) -- We're using chili pepper instead of coriander for the Korean carrots, so less authentic, may sneak a little coriander back in, still using a frightening amount of cayenne -- In general, moving slowly but surely towards avial's heat zone (good thing we just got approved to sell gelato) -- Big <sighs> on the piva (Russian for beer) -- A skewer in one hand, and a Baltika in the other hand, is definitely a peak experience -- Not likely to get approval for that in Belmont.