Alan Harding’s long-awaited food truck parked itself outside Hot Bird on Atlantic Avenue at the corner of Clinton Avenue this past weekend. The bar, with its concrete courtyard, picnic-table-strewn, is already a popular neighborhood watering hole for its good craft beer, served in a pitcher if you so please. Not sure if it’s the wide-open indoor space or the fact that it’s located next to a car wash on a traffic-heavy thoroughfare, but Hot Bird feels like L.A., making the truck — like any food vendor who magically rolls up just outside your average Los Angeles drinking den — a welcome addition. And it will be even more so once the man in the truck gets settled.
It’s early days indeed and service is still a little temperamental as the man in the truck — Alan Harding — takes the orders, cooks the food, and calls out the names of customers when their orders are ready (if they’re lucky) all by himself. Sure, a couple orders got lost and the wait for two dogs was more than 20 minutes, but surely this won’t always be the case as Harding finds his groove. The hot dogs in question ($4 each) were not bad, if stuffed to the proverbial gills. The Snappy, a veal dog that doesn’t belie its moniker, is so mired in juniper kraut that you’ll be tempted to brush some off to get a better taste of the sausage. The chili dog is drowning in a tasty, spicy chili spotted with chopped red onion that you can go at with a fork until you can safely locate the wiener.
Outside the “doggery” section of the menu is a Lobster Summer Roll ($9) that comes with generous chunks of lump meat, but is sadly more summer than lobster roll. It’s bulky and cumbersome, nearly impossible to eat without tearing the rice paper skin and spilling its insides, the delicate flavor of which is overpowered by a super-spicy dipping sauce. Still, this one-man show is sure to have a loyal following at the neighborhood bar. On this desert stretch of Atlantic Avenue, with nothing but a McDonald’s across the way, it’s a California dream.
The Food Truck at Hot Bird
825 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 28, 2010