(Update: As of March 2016, Rickshaw Stop has Closed, nominally to “pursue another opportunity. They will be missed.)
Like Austin to the Northeast, San Antonio has a growing food truck scene. While nothing like Austin at present, it has a few up and coming areas, like the Boardwalk on Bulverde food court, a rather substantial cluster of food trucks, for some food truck action… (located adjacent to, and run by, a company that makes food trucks, btw). The Boardwalk is a Thursday-Sunday operation, with about a dozen food trucks all located at this one spot in Northern San Antonio. It’s a rather nice little outside area, with the obligatory random selection of seating, a mechanical bulls, and a few other oddments. And, as I mentioned in my review of Erick’s Tacos, it’s only open Thursday-Sunday, so we had to make a separate trip back here to try it out. But on Friday, we finally made it to the Boardwalk, where Stop #1 was Rickshaw Stop, a well-known San Antonio Food Truck serving up delicious Pakistani kebab.
First of all, Rickshaw Stop gets some decent credit just for being a Pakistani place; there just aren’t a lot of those around, particularly in San Antonio. I’m no stranger to Pakistani food (I’m thinking of a particularly nice Pakistani place I went to in Minneapolis on work a few years ago, Pak Zam Zam), and it’s the sort of cuisine I really like: kebabs, naans, bold spices, and the like. In fact, most of the places I’ve been I’d consider to be a nice combination of the flavors I enjoy from Persian and Indian cuisine. In any case, Rickshaw’s stated goal is to bring you “flavors unique from anything you have ever tasted”.
Rickshaw Stop’s approach to this is one of simplicity—they follow one of my tenets of a good food truck, which is “find something you are good at, and focus on that”. The menu at Rickshaw Stop is basically three items: kebabs, samosas, and dessert. So it’s pretty much a matter of picking which kebabs and samosas you want, and getting a combo.
We opted for a pair of kebabs (one chicken, one beef) and some veggie samosas as an $8 combo. A few minutes later, they brought out our plate of food, and it was actually quite good looking. The kebabs were served up on nice, hefty, and perfectly crisped circles of naan, alongside a few nicely fried samosas. Starting with the samosas, they were nice little packets of nicely spiced chicken with a bit of pea and potato notes, with particularly good cumin and cilantro notes .
The kebab were excellent as well, with a nice sear on the meat, a rich marinade that really penetrated through the meat (and somehow, with the chicken they managed to avoid the spongy texture that often accompanies too-long marination), and a good sauce, the chicken was served up with a decent spicy sauce, while the beef was served up with a rich green sauce that was primarily mint, with some coriander and cumin notes as well. Combined with a really nice naan, these made for nice little kebab meal, in fact, one of the better kebabs I’ve ever had.
Coming back later, we decided to also try a desert, getting a nice serving of baklava. I’m not used to seeing this at Pakistani places, but as one reader mentions below, it’s actually a common item. Like a lot of my favorite baklava places (oh, how I miss Emily’s Lebanese Delicatessen in Minneapolis…), this was actually a subtle baklava: most baklavas hit you over the head with spice and honey, but here the primary focus was on the nuts (almond) and the pastry. And they did a really good job with it.
Overall, one of the more pleasant meals I’ve had from a food truck in recent history, from friendly owners in a nice environment. I wouldn’t hesitate to come back next time I’m in San Antonio.