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TRUCKIN’ FOR POUTINE: 2 Bros serves hits and misses from their mobile meals-on-wheels

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After a long evening of barside banter, 2 Bros’ poutine, drenched in dark gravy and melty cheese curds, will help drinkers go gentle into a good night.

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What’s better than fries? How about fries smothered in gravy, showered in cheese curds and sprinkled with “hell, yes”?

If we’re on the same page (pun intended), we’ll I’ve found the place: 2 Bros Coastal Cuisine. The mega-meals-on-wheels mobile rolls all over town. At the helm of the 31-foot beached-out food factory: culinary veterans Peter Day and Mike Bowers. As these experts know, they can take the food out of the bar, but they can’t take the bar out of the food truck. (Or something like that.) What I’m trying to say is: The one-stop grub shop often parks in the lots of local brew pourers near and far (Flytrap on NOFO, Broomtail in Ogden, Burnt Mill Creek near Forest Hills).

Before we dig in, let me say this: Diners who want a whimsical, modernized menu are barking up the wrong truck. There aren’t gooey pork-belly grilled cheeses or white truffled Brussels here. 2 Bros serves casual comfort-food favorites, like saucy wings, chargrilled burgers and—as their name implies—coastal cuisine classics, like shrimp and grits.

Instinct may guide the gut toward familiar flavors (I’m looking at you, Caesar wrap), but ask the 2 Bros behind the window for their 2 cents to be steered in the right direction. 2 Bros cooks up thin slices of roasted pork, griddled until crisp on the flat top. Garlicky pickles, salty ham and sharp, sticky Swiss are piled on top. A zesty horseradish mustard fused everything together. It didn’t offer the same zing as yellow mustard—the sandwich’s traditional condiment of choice—but this Dijon-esque smear still packed a punch.

@ChefCarlCasper: It’s a Cubano worth trucking for.

In the mood for making a mess, I moved along to the Buffalo wings. What can I say? I have a knack for dressing. This picky habit compels me to occasionally rate restaurants by dunking my finger into the nearest dip. One taste of the ranch, and I knew we weren’t in homemade anymore, Toto. With so many eateries whisking up vinaigrettes and spreads from scratch, a little more thought into this creamy sauce would have bumped up the app a notch. On the plus side, the wings were a bit more jumbo than average—more meat to go around. For those who like it hot, the buttery sauce—although well-seasoned with a mild sting—tasted somewhat tame.

The burger was truly well-done, and I don’t mean that as a compliment (apologies, 2 Bros). My journey toward the truck began enthusiastically, thanks to the futuristic feature of texting my to-go order in advance. However, when I popped the lid on the dish, I was face to face with my biggest burger fear: a righteously overdone patty. As diners, if we don’t specify how we want our meats cooked, it’s simply because we forgot. I trust the cooks to man my food, but for something temperature-sensitive, a little help here, please.

In looking back through my itemized receipt, I found my coastal burger was branded “medium-well to well-done.” It definitely was chargrilled, as promised. Though I didn’t indicate temperature preference in my text, I find it hard to believe that most folk’s first choice is far beyond medium. As a medium-rare meat eater, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of pre-burger questioning.

Next up: My go-to sandwich selection of all time, the turkey BLT. I was thrilled to find wavy, thick cut, expertly crisped Applewood smoked bacon—just as every club should have. The sandwich was piled high with crunchy, shredded lettuce and packed between two buttery, toasted slices of sourdough. One knock: with food television seeping so far into pop culture these days, even non-culinarians know that aioli means mayonnaise-like spread. But those who don’t own pro knives or know who Jacques Pepin is may not understand aioli implies “garlic.” The pungent ingredient stands front and center in 2 Bros’ aioli. They say you can’t have too much of a good thing. (If that’s the case, why do I feel so terrible after drinking eight beers?) All I’m sayin’ is, it doesn’t say “garlic” on the menu, so patrons expecting plain mayo will be in for a surprise, smack dab in the palate.

Seeing as we’re in the South, shrimp and grits felt a mandatory order. 2 Bros dubs theirs a “must-have.” Though slightly heavy on the smoke and salt (likely a result of not balancing the seasoning already in the bacon), the buttery, Cajun-scented sauce was a treat. Copious amounts of shrimp covered the creamy, crumbly grit cake, and oniony scallions offered a sharp bite and bright finish.

I also ordered their oysters, which 2 Bros batters, fries and stuffs into a N’awlins-inspired Po’ Boy. While the sandwich radiated perfection from the buns to the breading, something seemed a bit fishy in the first bite. The overly seafood-y flavor possibly could be blamed on the oyster’s regional roots. Some are radically sweet, while others on a coast far, far away are briny as can be. The sandwich’s other classic components—tangy remoulade, shredded lettuce, tomato, and soft, baguette-style French bread—all came out winners in my book.

One word: poutine. Tugging on the heart strings of Wilmington’s northern transplants, 2 Bros serves this hearty dish straight up, with a side of tradition. After a long evening of barside banter, this pile of fries, drenched in dark gravy and melty cheese curds, will help drinkers go gentle into a good night.

2 Bros Coastal Cuisine Food Truck
Various locations
(910) 279-4946 or (910) 297-0131
www.facebook com/2broscc?fref=ts

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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