The Poached Egg’s Moment In The Sun

Poached eggs are having kind of a moment these days, which is fine with me, although Bookdwarf isn’t as much of a fan. I like the way a poached or sunny-side-up egg can be both a protein and a sauce in a dish. But sometimes they don’t quite work out.

One of my friends has been recommending the Double Awesome sandwich at the Mei Mei Street Kitchen truck, so when I saw on the Boston Food Truck Schedule that it would be near my work, I stopped by. It’s a scallion pancake wrapped around two poached eggs, cheese, an herb pesto, and spicy ketchup.

That’s an ambitious project, especially for a food truck: It’s a lot of ingredients, a lot of last-minute assembly, and a completely absurd declaration of love for poached eggs. I can think of few things quite so ill-suited to being folded into a sandwich and served in a little box with no utensils. I guess it helps that you can eat this thing standing up, because you can bend forward at the waist to avoid dripping eggs all over your clothes. It’s messy and rich and soft and fun.

But it wasn’t great. The cheddar cheese overwhelmed the scallion pancake. The pesto was runny and under-salted and, if I can be pedantic, not technically pesto. The ketchup didn’t make sense with the pesto or the scallion pancake. Good, perhaps, but not up to the level that you’d expect from a revolutionary hipster food truck, not quite double awesome.

In contrast, Strip-T’s out in Watertown has a way with runny eggs and with everything else. You may have heard of this place, but if you haven’t, expect it to be everywhere shortly. It’s a great story as well as a great restaurant: Tim Maslow returns to his father’s old-school neighborhood joint after a stint with David Chang at Momofuku, and starts changing a menu that had been the same for 20 years. Cue the buzz on Chowhound, strong reviews from the Boston Globe, and coronation from Bon Appetit, and it rapidly becomes hard to get a table on a weekend.

It’s not just buzz. Grilled romaine with oxtail and poached egg – amazing. Chicken wings with a sweet/savory sauce made from Moxie – amazing. Homemade whole-wheat orichette with bottarga and tomatillos – amazing. A hamburger with a fried egg (yeah, there’s that runny egg again, and you can dip your fries in it) – amazing. Tripe with grilled cabbage – amazing. A donut – amazing. Panna cotta with raspberries and coconut pound-cake croutons and sea salt – amazing.

It all comes together: Concepts, execution, reasonable prices that come with a location on a side street near the Arsenal Mall. And those runny eggs.

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