Keep on Truckin: The Modular

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The "Tin Can."
I woke up Sunday morning with a hankering for the comfort of some food truck sustenance -- it had been a long Saturday night. I drove by the one spot I can always count on for just such an occasion, next door to Agora, the former semi-permanent home of Eatsie Boys.

Instead of the colorful truck, in it's place was far humbler trailer, referred to as the "Tin Can." The Modular Trailer is about a month and a half old and just started setting up shop next to Agora at the beginning of July. Owner, Josh Martinez, formerly of Kata Robata, is at the helm and chef Lyle Bento, former sous chef of Feast was cooking up the goods.

The short menu seemed very Asian; specifically, Japanese influenced. Along side the menu a taped up sign displayed that they proudly served local products.

I decided to sample all four items on the menu and the special, which I had eyed greedily as the patron beside me was eating, but was told they had just run out of grouper cheeks but still had salmon collars left.

The Crispy Tuna Poke Tacos ($6) came out first. The sashimi grade tuna was hand chopped and simply garnished with sesame seeds, daikon sprouts and a wasabi mayo. The "taco" shell was a deep fried wonton skin. The fish was well seasoned with soy and sesame oil. Garnishing it with the mellow daikon sprouts made for a more delicate flavor and the wasabi mayo was not overpowering. The "taco" shell was a tad bland and I kept thinking how great this would be on a shrimp chip.

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Pork Belly Up.
The Pork Belly Up ($6) consisted of two large slabs of pork belly shining with a glaze atop a bed of nori-seasoned rice. Pickled red onions and thin slices of green apples accompanied it. The pork belly is sou vide for 48 hours rendering it extremely tender. Eating a little bit of each ingredient together formed a union of sweet, sour, spicy and tangy that exploded in my mouth. The only complaint about not just this dish but all the dishes that came with it, was the rice, which was slighty dry and gritty. These dishes could have been over the top served with Korean or Japanese sticky rice.

That Chicken Got Thighs ($5) was the next dish. Like the pork belly, the thigh meat was cooked sou vide and then glazed with a yakitori sauce. It was served with the same nori seasoned rice and whole peanuts were sprinkled on top. Pickled radish cucumbers added some zest to the dish.

The fresh Gulf Shrimp and Grits ($7), made from Way Back When Dairy products, would do any Southerner proud. The grits were perfectly cooked -- they were creamy but still had a wonderful texture and slight crunch to them. I enjoyed that the shrimp were cooked and served head on; I ate them whole and they were flavorful and juicy.

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Copper River salmon collars.
Finally, the special, Copper River Salmon Collars ($7) were a sight to behold. The collars gleamed with a glaze of soy and mirin. They were served with fresh Animal Farm oyster mushrooms and baby bok choy. The collar meat was fatty and unctous and the skin was crisp and caramelized. I couldn't stop eating the mushrooms. The mild flavored mushrooms soaked up the sauce, making the each bite better than the last.

This is going to be one of the most exciting food trucks to follow, as Josh rounds up different chefs and finds new local ingredients, to bring their "food from the restaurant to a parking lot near you."

Find them at Agora on Sundays or follow them on twitter @themodular for other locations.



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Location Info

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Feast - CLOSED

219 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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11 comments
Evan
Evan

I had the chicken, and it was OK. But those tacos are fantastic. 

Debjgee
Debjgee

Great review! I love everything on The Modular's menu but my favorite dish is definitely the poke tacos. I don't think they should change a thing--the fried wonton is the perfect compliment to the tasty tuna, which is the star of the dish.

trisch
trisch

I had the Pork Belly Up this past weekend.  That was heaven in my mouth.  Can't wait to try everything else on the menu!

the modular trailer
the modular trailer

thank you for the kind words, we were just talking about the rice last night and are testing out a few new ones tonight. The rice will be better we promise. our weekly schedule is still in flux but this is what we are doing at the moment.monday closedtuesday grand prize 6-late like 2 am latewednesday agora lunch 11-3 then grand prize 6- til latethursday  agora lunch 11-3 then sherlocks on gray 11-2 amthis friday food truck friday food crawl at boneyard on washington saturday agora all day sunday agora 11-4  farmers market bounty brunch

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Pork Belly Up. A calling if I ever heard one.

Minh T Truong
Minh T Truong

I've been following them like a mad woman since Sunday to see where they'll be and if I can make it there lol...I hear they've had duck wings on the menu.....must try!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Crispy tuna poke tacos: These were the things that I thought about for the rest of the week after the recent benefit at Haven. So good.

Ruthie J M
Ruthie J M

Great write-up! I dream about the shrimp-n-grits there. 

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

I'm going to Boneyard on Friday. Can't wait!

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