Word on the street is that some of you don't know what a banh mi is, so let's cover that first. 1. It is amazing and delicious and you should eat one. 2. It is a French-Vietnamese sandwich, generally with meat, pickled vegetables and chilis, served on baguette type bread. 3. It is amazing and delicious and did I mention you should eat one? Ok, well now that we covered that, let's discuss Chief Brody's Banh Mi.
Owner Greg Martell first discovered the banh mi while working late nights in the kitchen in the '90s in New York's Lower East Side. A few years later, he and his now wife, Erica, had their first memorable food truck experience at The Ditch Witch in Montauk, which opened Greg up to the idea of pairing high end ingredients with the casual atmosphere of a food truck. He first bid on a truck in 2009, but unfortunately lost out to an anonymous bidder. Greg then took a cooking job at Caseus, where it was soon discovered that he had lost out on the truck to none other than his boss, owner of Caseus, Jason Sobocinski. Six years later, after Greg spent time working in the front and back of the house for Caseus and Barcelona, Jason offered to sell him the truck. So he bought it, named it after his favorite character in Jaws, and Chief Brody's, as we know it, opened in July 2015.
The truck is based out of the New Haven area, as Greg is inspired by New Haven's burgeoning food scene. But if you live elsewhere, I'm here to tell you it is definitely worth the drive. Chief Brody's prides itself on using as many high quality, local ingredients as possible. They source their eggs from a different local farm each week, and their cilantro and cucumbers are from Eddy Farm in Newington, CT. So when you buy a sandwich from them, you're not just supporting their small business, but a few farms as well.
Their banh mi sandwich, and I'm just going to say this frankly, is one of the best damn banh mi's I've ever had. There are a couple of different options to order, the pork banh mi, veggie banh mi with kimchi egg frittata, or a vegan banh mi with vegan sausage. All come with pickled daikon and carrots, pâté (not on the vegan, obv), cucumber, cilantro, funky aioli and sweet soy glaze. They also offer a really good option for our gluten-free friends, or for someone just looking for a lighter lunch, a banh mi bowl. Which is all of the amazing ingredients sans bread. And you won't have to worry about this food truck disappearing as the weather gets colder. According to Greg, as long as they can dig themselves a spot they'll be out on the streets. And they'll be introducing some great new menu items as well. You can expect rice bowls, bread pudding with shisho and bone broth in addition to the usual menu items.
Sidebar for a second- if you saw the word "pâté" and freaked out, it's totally ok, I don't blame you. I don't eat pâté, (it's a texture thing, sorry), but when Greg asked if I was alright with it, for some reason I said "yes!" super enthusiastically and it ended up on my sandwich. So I ate it...and I actually enjoyed it? It's his late mother-in-law's recipe and I honestly suggest going for it. It adds a rich, savory flavor that you wouldn't get on the sandwich otherwise. And if you love pâté and think I'm crazy for not liking it, then just ignore this paragraph and read on.
Chief Brody's also recently introduced a guest chef series in their truck. It launched with Craig Hutchinson of [oink], and today (10/15) features Jason Sobocinsky- owner of Caseus, Black Hog Brewery and Mystic Cheese Company. Event details here. Upcoming chefs for the series include Eric Stagl, Executive Chef of Barcelona West Hartford; Roy Riedl of Mercado Food Truck; Jason Welch of Turpin Meadow Ranch; and Adam Greenberg, Chopped champion, West Hartford Native and Executive Chef of Barcelona D.C. Dates are TBD for the upcoming chefs, but we will be announcing them and updating our events page as soon as information is available.
If you can't make one of their special chef dates, you can find the Chief Brody's Banh Mi Truck parked in various places in New Haven most days of the week as well as some guest appearances at Connecticut breweries. They update their location and schedule via social media, so be sure to follow them at the accounts below...and then go eat a banh mi.