County Manners Food Truck: www.countymanners.com; (240) 766-5583
This black, wood-paneled truck offers Southern Maryland cooking (and catering) in the D.C. metro area. When we went last week it was parked, as are most food trucks around Ballston, on N Stuart St off Fairfax Dr.
Our recent visit to a local truck-turned-restaurant, prompted by the below-freezing temperatures associated with global warming, inspired us to don warming-proof gloves and hoof it to the husk of a shopping mall that is Ballston Mall. The whole complex sits atop a metro stop and remains under renovation indefinitely.
The truck’s two-year birthday approaches, making it younger than the renovations of the brick-and-mortar centerpiece and adjacent neighborhood streets (and underground utilities) nearby. It’s been rolling around the metro area since late March, 2016. We’ve rarely noticed it here before — which is not surprising, it’s a truck — so took the opportunity to exercise some good country (with an “r”) manners and try the French Dip Smoked Brisket and Fried Chicken sandwiches. (What are “county manners,” anyway? Brooklyn is Kings County.)
That’s the fried chicken at right, jutting out from an outgunned buttery brioche bun. The sandwich is posed incongruously with the brisket’s dipping sauce. The chicken breast is thick, heavily breaded and spiced, and painted with a sauce that melts to the bun. The smoked brisket is less adorned, with whole-grain mustard and pepper-jack cheese — but that’s what the French sauce is for, and of course the ciabatta really absorbs it.
Both sandwiches provide a great mixture of textures and flavor, hot and cool, and mouthfeel: The chicken is crispy with a soft bun, the brisket tender with a thicker, crisp-crust bun. Being that all orders are necessarily “to go,” don’t forget to ask for utensils (if you want them) and napkins (you’ll need ’em, especially with au jus dripping off your face). Ask twice, and don’t miss this truck.
♦ Food Truck Fiesta
♦ County Manners on Twitter
♦ Southern Maryland Food & Drink. We’ll be on the lookout for soft-shell crabs at the food truck starting in late Spring.
♦ Maryland Soft-Shell Crabs