Totally Pretentious Food Truck Review: Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

One of the forefathers of the food cart revolution here in DC, the Fojol Brothers began serving their unique travelling culinary carnival to hungry masses during the Obama inauguration. Pure genius. I don’t know if you remember the inauguration, but it was freezing cold. And crowded. And people needed to eat. So good on the Brothers for being innovators.

Also: The Fojol Brothers and they’re truck are fun. Delightful even. They wear bright and colorful costumes, fake mustaches. They play music and put quilts out in the park on which they invite patrons to sit and eat their lunch.

I partook of the Fojol Brothers repast once last summer. I remembered two things: the service was pitifully slow and the food was quite messy. They improved on one area, but alas, not the other.

On the service, I’m relieved to see they’ve gotten their act together. I got there at 12:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. It was a fine, if sunny day, and I picked Fojol’s because the line was in the shade. There. I said it. It wasn’t because I wanted to give them another chance at impressing me. It was because my comfort had beaten out my stomach.

Despite the presence of a fairly substantial line, Fojol’s was fast. Harkening back to my previous messy experience, I bound back to the office with my food in hand 10 minutes after my arrival.

On to the menu: Fojol offers entrees in 3 sizes – an amuse bouche size that they call, “dingo” ($2), a plate with two choices ($7) and a plate with three choices ($9).

They offer two meat dishes – this day, it was butter chicken and curry chicken, and three vegetables – the mysterious “mix,” pumpkin and lentils. They also have lassipops for $2 but the only flavor left when I got there this time was ginger.

I picked the three choice option, and was served multiple dishes that evocatively showcased the culinary expertise of said Brothers. All of this bounty was resting on a bed of fragrant basmati rice. An awful lot of rice – too much, actually.

My first impression when my food was handed to me was that this biodegradable hippie container is not equipped to handle this saucy food. It felt quite unstable.

Upon opening said container, I was presented with a large mound of food that looked rather the same. I could hardly distinguish between the lentils and the pumpkin.

Let’s start with our meat course, in my case, the butter chicken. Butter chicken is Indian dish where chicken that is marinated in a yogurt based marinade filled with aromatic spices is served in a buttery and creamy tomato based sauce. Fojol’s butter chicken was a full flavored dish that was uncompromisingly meaty with more than a hint of creamy spiciness.

The lunch went a bit downhill from there. The lentils (green) were swimming unabashedly in liquid. They were overcooked and mushy, making each mouthful a painful exercise in mastication. Maybe the choice of a different, more complexly textured lentil would have provided the saving grace.

And what of the pumpkin, you ask? The overall texture of the pumpkin side dish was a bit off-putting. I felt like I was partaking of some fine foods from the Gerber collection. The pumpkin was very baby-food-ish. Only a couple chunks of recognizable pumpkin in this sad little dish.

Overall, I was not impressed with my two visits to the Brothers Fojol. Despite their illustrative history and their joie de vivre, their dishes remain chaotic and uneven.

Coupled with the fact that they offer no naan (my favorite part of an Indian meal) and no drink options (No fine wines or delicate sparkling waters to cleanse the palate!), I’m afraid I can only muster two wheels out of four.

3 thoughts on “Totally Pretentious Food Truck Review: Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

  1. I just happened on this review and you should know that they probably don’t serve naan because their specialty is Southern Indian cuisine. Naan is really a phenomenon of North India. The reason you see it so much here is because so many Northern Indians (especially from Punjab) have immigrated to the US.

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