MIHO Gastrotruck

>> Sunday, April 29, 2012

Date of Dining: 3/23/2012 
Price: $8-10 per item
Location: Two trucks, various location - check website

The Quick Bit:

+ high quality restaurant food in a food truck
+ rotating selection of menu items
+ most items made fresh
Δ some items were unbalanced
Δ restaurant quality food is still at restaurant prices

I've quipped about MIHO in the past in relation to what I viewed as their shortcomings (namely the small portions), but I never really did give them a fair shake. The reality is that MIHO was San Diego's first Gourmet Food Truck in the real sense of the word, and they are who many of the other food truck operators look to as the "top dog" of San Diego food trucks. 
MIHO is the brainchild of former Linkery Chefs Juan Miron and David Ho. Leaving The Linkery, they sought to establish a mobile restaurant in the same spirit of the restaurant where they worked; fresh, local, organic ingredients are used and everything that can be made from scratch is made from scratch. 
When I decided to visit MIHO for the blog, I decided that I would remove any past preconceptions from my mind and approach the food truck like any other first timer would. I enlisted the help of a coworker to make sure that I remained unbiased.

The Food

shrimp tacos - chipotle aioli, slaw
The shrimp was cooked to perfection, and the aioli was flavorful. Unfortunately, I felt that the dish did not quite come together in spectacular fashion. I was hoping for the sweetness of the shrimp to contrast with the spice of the chipotle and sing in my mouth, and those flavors did combine in such a way, but the resulting chorus was more of a pianissimo sound than the fortissimo.
fried chicken biscuit - free range chicken, local slaw. house made buttermilk biscuit
As people are starting to get to know, my guilty pleasure is fried chicken. Coupled with the biscuit and I knew I had to order this. The biscuit was made to perfection as it was moist, crisp, and full-flavored. The chicken was fried perfectly to retain moistness and tenderness. This was the best dish of the visit, and not just because it was my guilty pleasure. While I normally never order chicken from a restaurant, I was happy to have this dish and would readily order it again.
Perhaps most importantly, the serving size of the sandwich was a full portion. Eating this alone is enough for a normal person to get full.
Lamburger - all natural lamb, harissa aioli, goat cheese, caramelized onion, local arugula, local ciabatta
We ordered the lamb cooked medium rare and the chef complied to cook it exactly as per specification. The lamb was super moist and the medium rare cooking caused all the juices to overflow throughout the ciabatta. The combination of flavors really worked well in the context of the sandwich and was satisfying. While I was ready to anoint the lamburger the best dish, my co-worker pointed out that he was really put off by the bread to meat ratio in that the flavors of the ciabatta really muted the flavor of the lamb. Instead of being the best dish, the lamburger will have to settle for a close second.
bacon chocolate chip cookie
We finished with a dessert item. Other than the bacon chip visible on the top of the cookie, we detected no other flavor of back throughout as the chocolate seemed to overpower the flavor. Further, thought the price of the cookie did not justify what we received. This was easily the worst dish, and we both recommend against anyone ordering it in the future unless the price is dropped.

Conclusion

Overall, there were some hits and misses at MIHO, but I came out of the experience with a much higher opinion of the truck than I held previously. Most importantly, MIHO is now offering true restaurant quality food out of the truck in the proper portion sizes to be full. While the price isn't any cheaper than a restaurant,  the location of the truck in certain certain culinarily desolate locations may trump the higher price point - the food out of the MIHO Gastrotruck is easily better than most restaurants.
For the high quality restaurant food out of a food truck, MIHO is awarded the bit award.

3 comments:

Rodzilla April 29, 2012 at 11:27 PM  

I don't know man, everything looks pretty damned tasty to me.

Were you with Ray? That dude is particular about his lamb haha.

So you seem a little upset about your cookie...lol, you act as if they are charging Levain bakery prices and driving the MIHO truck back to their mansions after the close up shop. It's house cured bacon - not mansion cured, both of those facts should calm you down :)

James April 30, 2012 at 8:12 AM  

Different coworker. This one is also picky, but in a different way so there were different particulars involved.

If they put an entire strip of bacon into each cookie, I might not be as disappointed, but I couldn't detect a trace of bacon other than the chip that they put on top. If you just take it as $1.75 for a small cookie with a tiny 1/30 of a slice of bacon, then it does seem a little expensive.

TWO FOODIES – ONE JOURNEY April 30, 2012 at 3:02 PM  

Just a small correction - Juan and David have never worked as chefs at the Linkery but worked both as servers at the old location (where we also met them the first time many years ago). Juan was also responsible for networking with the farm(er)s which led ultimately to MiHo.

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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
None of the reviews are meant to dissuade you from trying anything by yourself, but simply to provide information for you to make a more informed choice.
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