Good to Go: Sauca food truck in the District

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The food truck Sauca has been up and running for only a month. But the news has spread quickly on Twitter and by word of mouth. During a recent lunch stop at McPherson Square downtown, more than a dozen people had lined up for a taste of its global street food, including Indian-inspired butter chicken, Mexican fish tacos and Buffalo chicken sandwiches, all served on Sauca's signature grilled sourdough flat bread.

The key word is "inspired." None of Sauca's dishes, which change weekly, are faithful representations of the originals. (A fish taco on grilled flatbread?) But that's not a reason to avoid them. The food at Sauca (pronounced SOW-sa) is creative, well seasoned and a terrific change from the usual sandwiches and salads.

Take that Mumbai butter chicken ($7.50). The tender white meat is flavored with cardamom and curry and just the right amount of heat, with toasted cashews for crunch. We were also fans of the Mexicali fish taco ($7.50): griddled tilapia topped with a mango pico de gallo, crunchy cabbage, a generous amount of cilantro and Sauca's house-made chili sauce. Both choices, one taster noted, "were dangerously close to the size of someone's head."

The only misstep was the pork banh mi. We enjoyed the peanut and Thai coconut sauces that came on the side. (They are just two of 20 creative options -- Indian mint chili, sweet ginger soy -- that Sauca makes available on a self-service counter outside the truck.) But though the meat was flavorful, it was slightly undercooked.

Sadly, the already famous Toffles ($4.50), made-to-order Belgian waffles topped with Nutella, banana and a variety of other sweet toppings, were not available on our visit.

Sauca is, for now, a food destination. But owner Farhad Assari, a recovering global investment banker, has grander plans for the brand. In addition to a second truck that will hit the streets by summer, he plans to sell world music. (Currently, the truck plays and sells Putumayo CDs.) Soon, Sauca's Web site will sell art and crafts from around the world.

-- Jane Black

Hours: Weekdays, breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night at various locations around the District. Call 202-609-7207; go to, e-mail or follow the truck on Twitter @EatSauca.

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