What's not to love about food trucks? They're generally parked in a cool spot with a couple friendly faces serving up some really unique, funky and often indulgent grub for you to eat with your hands. Many food trucks I've experienced are based around either a specific ethnic cuisine (think tacos, kebabs, etc.) or cheese (think mac&cheese, cheese curds, fried cheese, you get the picture). Cheese is always hot. Fortunately for us, there's a funky little spot over on Beekman that captures many of these endearing qualities in one singular dish- the spot is Kraverie and the dish is the kimchi cheese fries.
The lovechild of two separate food trucks from Jersey City, NJ, Kraverie serves a fusion of Korean BBQ and French crepes. Hmm, you might say. And that's ok. Unorthodox maybe but the flocks of people waiting for a table inside it's doors on Saturday night will assure you that something is definitely clicking here. The vibe inside is cool and casual with walls covered in photos and record covers paying tribute to the likes of Bowie, Lennon and Zeppelin; there's often some live music set up on the front of the space to complete the scene. The bar is lively and the beers are good. Although Kraverie doesn't offer liquor, they do have a large assortment of both bottled and draft beers that should hold you over and cool your mouth from the earthy spiciness of the dishes.
The menu at Kraverie is chock full of traditional as well as fusion Korean dishes with a whole section devoted to “Food Truck Classics”. Dishing out Korean tacos with kimchi puree as well as a Korean Burrito, a Kimchidilla and Seoul Cheesesteak, Kraverie draws heavily on the traditional kick courtesy of Korea's (arguably) most famous condiment- you guessed it, kimchi. Other prominent flavors in house include fish sauce, hoisin, gochujang, sesame and one of my personal favorites, bulgogi beef (insider tip: bulgogi is a classic Korean style of marinating beef in ginger, soy and sesame and grilling until tender and full of flavor). As you can gather from the names of these food truck staples, the menu thrives on fusion, giving the people the Korean BBQ they want in styles they don't expect.
Although I wish we could've had a mini sampler of most of the dishes on the menu, I chose wisely, going with two dishes the place is known for as well as a classic in no particular order: kimchi cheese fries, Korean wings and the bibimbap. The wings came out first in all their crispy, sticky glory garnished only with a few scallions and some sesame seeds; they have a thick, crunchy coating and are meaty, no skimping. The bold and layered flavor of the gochujang does all the talking here although the color of the deep brown glaze is something to behold. After we made a hefty dent in the wings, we put them aside to save room for the rest (note: the wings are still finger lickin' good as leftovers). While we waited for the entree, our table neighbors received their kimchi bacon fried rice bowls and proudly showed them off to us. There's a congenial atmosphere at Kraverie that supports this kind of thing it seems, everyone's excited about the food.
Our entree, the traditional Korean rice bowl known as bibimbap is an artful presentation of white sticky rice surrounded by sauteed zucchini, carrots, bean sprouts, shredded romaine and Korean sweet chili sauce topped with a fried egg. The bowl is satisfying and healthyish, the sticky rice perfect and the multiple textures of the ingredients complimenting each other. We added the bulgogi beef but you can choose from leaving the dish as vegetarian/ vegan or add short rib, spicy pork or sesame chicken. So many things to choose from and many of them, perfect for sharing... or taking home for later.
And save room, because there are crepes to be had... S'mores, Tiramisu, Nutella Madness, Dulce de Leche, Cheesecake- these are no joke. Perfectly thin and filled with varying combos of goodness, these can top of a meal or enjoyed on their own, giving you multiple reasons to get on over to the arts district to visit Kraverie to check out the fusion for yourself.