Friday, August 19, 2011

This Week's Dining Review: Riffs Fine Street Food

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Tacos from Riffs Fine Street Food
We talk a lot about food trucks here on Bites. And with reason. It's a trend that's added a boisterous new level of dining creativity in cities across the country, and it's finally gearing up in Nashville — a new truck seems to appear at least once a week.

But as Carrington Fox points out in this week's dining review, quality will determine which trucks remain here for the long haul:

In all the grandstanding over the questions surrounding Nashville's food trucks — Where should they park? Do they threaten restaurants? Who should oversee them? — one basic query seems to have been drowned out in the noise:

How's the food?

In the end, the answer to that fundamental question — more than permits, codes and regulations — will determine the fate of food trucks, albeit on a case-by-case basis. After all, if the meals coming out of these culinary caravans aren't worth eating, it's hardly worth haggling over parking permits. The dining public has an uncanny ability to dictate who gets to stick around, without the hassle of paperwork.

In the case of Riffs Fine Street Food, the answer to the $64,000 question is simply this: "The food is outstanding."

Carrington clearly had a blast sampling the fare created by Riffs' B.J. Lofback and Carlos Davis at a recent Food Truck Tuesday gathering at Second Harvest Food Bank at MetroCenter.

She was especially entranced by Riffs' panzanella with salmon:

Lofback and Davis' spin on Italian bread salad tossed cubes of fresh sweet cornbread — baked in the early morning at Riffs' commissary — with a medley of cucumbers, tomatoes, hunks of herbed cheese, roasted zucchini, summer squash and peppers, and fresh herbs. The marriage of smooth and crumbly textures and cool and warm temperatures, made a colorful and generous summer salad, which served as a gorgeous bed for the glazed salmon — all for $8.

But don't get too attached to a favorite dish, because you never know what might appear on Riffs' ever-changing roster. Some days it's fish tacos and grilled peaches, other days it's Korean barbecue. After all, the name refers to Lofback's interest in guitar and the fact that he and Davis are "just two guys jammin' in the kitchen." You never know what they might come up with.

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