What’s a great way to earn popularity points? Show up at your husband’s work with a bag of treats from Bistro Box. We’re talking Crab Cake Sliders, Tuna Melts, Hand Cut Belgian Fries and a French Dip that’s to-die-for.
Rain or shine, this bistro on wheels serves up a hearty dose of delicious street food. On a drizzly Friday, a steady crowd of intrepid foodies and nearby Boeing office workers gathered on Park Avenue N. (aka Kenny's Auto Body) underneath a tarp for goodness sake.
“It’s worth the few extra dollars, and so much better than fast food,” one regular volunteered. I didn’t get his name, but owner Barb Pagarigan knew the name of almost every person whose order she took—the sign of a business woman genuinely passionate about what she does. A little drizzle did not hinder her infectious smile in the least, and the promise of her food keeps the lunch crowd in good spirits.
I’d heard a lot about the sliders, and knew I had to get a couple of Alaskan Crab Cake Sliders (2 for $6.50, Slider Duo with Hand Cut Belgian Fries $7.95). These tender patties come seasoned with chives, lemon, Dijon mustard, tartar sauce, arugula served on brioche buns.
Speaking of sauces (dipping that is), the Belgian fries come with a choice of roasted garlic aioli, classic fry sauce, chipotle barbecue, tartar, parmesan caesar or green goddess. The very definition of Belgian fries requires them to be hand cut and twice-fried—and if you have a hankering for a snack of golden pomme frites, they go for $2.50. They should be enjoyed fresh from the frier, as they are not industrial potato sticks and are prone to get limp during transport. With the finger-licking sauces, they were enjoyed regardless.
My favorite Bistro Box offering was the estimable French Dip ($8.50 or $8.95 with cheese). Did I mention that their bread comes from Macrina Bakery? You just earned serious foodie points, BB. We’re talking thinly shaven and piled all-natural roast beef on a soft Macrina potato roll, topped with creamy horseradish sauce and thick homestyle au jus gravy.
“This isn’t the thin, bouillon-cube-type,” one of the experienced diners guided me. Right you are. This is the sandwich I will be dreaming about sinking my teeth into again, with napkin in hand.
The coconut chicken sliders (2 for $6.50) have a near-cult following—quite the tropical-tasting dish for a rainy day. Chicken breast is dipped in a coconut flourished Polynesian batter, topped with sweet chili orange sauce, bistro slaw, and served on a Hawaiian brioche bun. I know I’ll get some flack as this is a customer favorite, but my group of eaters found them a little sweet for our taste, with one taster remarking that they reminded him of a doughnut. I wished I had ordered the Kobe Beef Sliders in their place.Next time!
The menu is one of the most extensive I’ve seen at any food truck. No wonder why they have a crew of two to three chefs on duty, some coming from Le Cordon Bleu.
The tuna melt special ($7.95) with Tillamook sharp cheddar, roasted tomato on Pane Francase got high praise. I found myself returning for more bites of crisp Tuscan panini ($4.50 Petite, $7.95 Full) with fire-roasted cured pork loin, Genoa salame, sweet coppa, provolone, roasted red peppers, and “basil crush.” And in-line diners offered testimony that the healthy chicken panini ($4.50 Petite, $7.95 Full) tastes anything but, while working in favor of their waist-lines. I didn’t even get to try one of the four flat-bread Pizzettas ($5.95).
When I inquired about the soup options, Barb was very honest and told me their chowder was Ivar’s, not homemade. Darn it, today's featured soup is Italian vegetable with sausage and tortellini (tip: Hit BB early in the week!). So for waist-line and variety's sake, instead of fries, I chose a side Caesar salad for $4, a solid side—although the seasonal salad of arugula, strawberries, ricotta salata, and balsamic vinaigrette sounded intriguing.
I think the only major complaint I hear about Bistro Box is that it’s not open on the weekends which is why it took me so long to try it! The service, the prices, and the quality of food insure my return.
618 Park Ave N.
Renton, Wa 98056
Imports-and-Sorts (aka Kenny's Auto Body)
Monday through Friday
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Check out their Facebook page for daily specials and weekend locations!