First Look

Green House Truck: Roving Wonder is Blooming in University Park

There are few food-truck options in Dallas, aside from the work-site roach coaches shilling prepared pablum. That's not to say I don't have affection for them. It's worth risking life, limb and stomach lining for something potentially amazing. Dubious attention to health codes be damned.

But the tide is turning. Just over a week ago, Green House truck became one of the first to bring roving health-conscious eats to city dwellers, à la Austin's booming truck and trailer bonanza. Why should the capital city, and other Texas cities, get all the edible fun?

Green House is helmed by chef Ben Hutchinson, formerly of catering company Fast Company, and owner Michael Siegel. The pair is focusing on healthy, seasonal fare as locally sourced as possible. The wild sockeye salmon sandwich, a special the day I visited, is one such dish. This stand-out was elevated by the bread, from Empire Baking, on which it was served. The ciabatta didn't morph into mush under the pressure of the walnut pesto and grilled peppers and greens.

Other entrée options included miso flank steak and lemon herb chicken.

The chili that preceded the sandwich was warming with hints of peppers but light enough for me to move on to the alternative soup option -- a piquant vegan potato-leek soup the color of grass with jalapeño notes that were velvet-gloved punches to the back of my throat. I washed down everything with a cooling root-beer-flavored Steaz sparkling green tea.

The only clunker was the flourless brownie made with ancho, giving it Mexican chocolate doppleganger status. Rich and gooey in the mouth, it was also gooey on the fingers, requiring a fork and knife. Brownies ought not require utensils.

Nevertheless, it shouldn't be surprising that Green House already has regulars. Some order lunch and dinner to take home to their families. The company's Facebook fan page is littered with location requests. Obviously, there is a demand for such mobile food vendors. So, why hasn't Dallas readdressed its complex food regulations that hinder such ventures? As one of the country's major cities, the proliferation of prepared-on-site trucks would be a boon for coffers and customers alike.

Like its menu, Green House's Web site is a work in progress. The way to keep track of its location as well as the breakfast and lunch menu is via Twitter and Facebook, easily accessed through their site. Already, Green House has parked in Goar, Coffee and Curtis parks, but can usually be found on Preston Road in the parking lot of deBoulle in University Park. This mirrors Green House's price point and business model. It's not cheap (lunch put me back $17.50) but geared toward families -- the upwardly mobile kind. It should be noted that Siegel originally wanted to park downtown, but city regulations nipped that plan in the bud. The corporate hoards would have flocked to the truck. The budding Green House truck deserves the attention and following it has cultivated and will certainly continue to do.

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José Ralat Maldonado