MAKING MOVES IN DTLA: TLT FOOD
Downtown dwellers and workerbees, rejoice! Tired of over-priced lunches and questionable B-rated-but-cost-efficient meals? Daniel Shemtob, of The Lime Truck fame, is here to cure your epicurean blues. If you haven’t heard of The Lime Truck, they’re SoCal’s self-proclaimed “best food truck,” and after a win on television’s The Great Food Truck Race, their brand of affordable fast-casual fare is now available at TLT Food brick-and-mortar locations in Westwood, and now here in DTLA. Thank God, ’cause there’s only so much Twitter-food-truck stalking we can take.
So what of their food? Does a brick-and-mortar location up the ante for TLT’s brand of California-Asian-Mexican fusion? Well, we can say that after our recent dining experience, we’re officially fans of TLT Food.
We start off with some pear and berry limeades (of course), which are just the right balance of sweet and tart. While contemplating what food to order, Chef Daniel Shemtob greets us and brazenly tells us he makes the world’s best brussels sprouts. Who are we not to investigate?
Perfectly caramelized sprouts served with prosciutto, garlic, pickled red onion, cotija cheese and drizzled with a creamy chipotle honey aioli, these brussels sprouts are a highlight of the night with their melding of nutty, savory and a hint of sweet. Our hunger suddenly increases tenfold and thankfully there’s a bevy of dishes awaiting. The blue crab (!) grilled cheese is delicious, and TLT sure doesn’t skimp on the crab. At $9, it’s a steal of a menu item and one of our other favorites.
We’re then steadily brought out a smorgasbord of items, including a short rib quesadilla and pork belly nachos. The quesadilla is chock full of tender short rib meat, and we’re pleased with the chunks of melt-in-your-mouth pork belly on our nachos. Our only request would be for even more pork chunks. Yum. We also receive a “Potato Patato” which wasn’t bad, but probably could’ve done without the arugula and a little more seasoning. But maybe we’re just a little carb-addicted here.
Lastly, TLT also offers a menu of lighter options, deemed the “Lime Lite” menu. We sampled the Asian Noodle Salad with steak, the Ahi Tuna Poke, and the Roasted Beet Salad. Of these, the Roasted Beet Salad stood out most. An interesting juxtaposition of flavors, the whipped goat cheese provided a creamy compliment to the spiced candied almonds, and the mix of roasted and pickled beets were tasty.
Although by then we were insanely full, what meal is complete without a sweet ending? Thankfully, Chef Daniel brought out lime panna cotta and a triple chocolate cake for us to try. Our favorite was the panna cotta, it was light with just a hint of acidity to balance the sweet.
Our meal complete, we finally bid adieu to Chef, who in true OC-bred style, skates home to his downtown abode.
text VI NGUYEN
photo RACHEL MANY