I’m always an advocate of trying new things at the food trucks. And Riff’s Fine Street Food does not disappoint. Chefs BJ and Carlos have created a food truck that takes advantage of their knowledge, experience, and culinary creativity with an ever changing and evolving menu. While their popular items such as their Korean BBQ Tacos or their Shrimp and Grits pop up regularly on their menu, Riff’s is constantly bringing the new and creative and very tasty to the streets of Nashville. And they proved as much by winning the Best of the Best at the recent Nashville Street Food Awards by winning the Best Vegetarian, Best Taco, and Best Hot Nashville categories.
The first time I ever visited Riff’s, I was leaving a Predators game. I ordered the Jerk Chicken Wrap. As I was trying to avoid traffic, I got my order to go. When I got home, I pretty much inhaled it. The tender chicken. The tang from the cheese. The Caribbean Jerk was pretty much an explosion in my mouth. It left me wanting to stalk the truck. Luckily, not much later, the Nashville Farmer’s Market had their night market and Jim and I went there for the trucks. While the wrap was no longer on their menu, they did feature their ever popular Shrimp and Grits. Jim and I ordered these and were a bit surprised at how soupy they were. Truck chef and co-owner, BJ Lofback bumped into us a time later and let us know that there was a little snafu with the grits. All the flavors were right on, just the grits did not want to thicken. Even so, we ate every last bit of those grits. The flavors were seriously on point. I will say that I have since had their Shrimp and Grits twice since this time and both times the grits were normal grit consistency. And they tasted just as amazing!!!
As I’ve said, the Riff’s menu is ever changing. And I absolutely love that. It means that every time I go to their truck, I will ALWAYS have a new option. I’ve had Sticky Wings, Ginger (Bread) Pudding, Super Gourmet hot dogs (which I’ll get to in a moment), Korean BBQ Tacos, Vegetarian Banh Mi, Porter Road BLT, 3 different kinds of Baos (my first taste of Ox Tail), Grits with Andouille sausage, Shrimp and Grits, and Kare pan (Japanese for “Curry Bread”). I sometimes wish I could eat more food because typically I want to get everything off of their menu since I know I may not see that same menu again. Unfortunately, I cannot.
Riff’s is constantly keeping my taste buds on high alert. Their Porter Road BLT featuring the creative bacon pate with greens and sweet tomatoes. I couldn’t believe what my mouth was tasting. We know by now how much I love bacon, but even this blew my mind. And this picture does not do it justice. This sandwich was MAMMOTH. Although I was sad to have to split this with Jim, there was no way I could have eaten the whole sandwich by myself.
Meet, The Guido Dog. If you are asking yourself, is that grilled sausage on top of the hot dog? Why yes…it is! If you are also asking yourself, is that Cheese Whiz on top of that hot dog? Why yes, you would be correct again! Meet the nearly foot long hot dog topped with grilled sausage, onions, and peppers and then topped with cheese whiz. Fuhgettaboutit!!! How does one create such a monster…such a…delight to one’s comfort food mania? Kudos Riffs. Total Kudos.
While I was wide eyed and nearly crying over the wonderfulness of the Guido Dog, Jim was having the same reaction in regards to his “Angry Dog” which featured kimchi and srirachi mayo among many other asian flavors not normally meant for a hot dog. While I’m not a big fan of kimchi (for the same flavor reason as pickled “anything”), when I took a bite of this hot dog, I actually liked the bite that I took. I’m not saying I would be able to eat an entire Angry Dog, but I can appreciate all of its flavors. And for folks that love kimchi, there is definitely no reason you should pass this up if it’s on the menu! It’s amazing how Carl and BJ can take kimchi and asian flavors and put them on a hot dog and make them work. It’s really mind boggling.
I can continue about everything that I’ve eaten at their truck and how flavorful it all is. But the truth of the matter is, these are menu items that aren’t mainstays on their menu. They are examples of the quality that Carlos and BJ are putting forth. They are examples of the culinary creativeness and gourmet greatness that they are bringing to Nashville. You will want to try them over and over again never having the same item twice (if you are lucky!).
I’ve been talking food trucks to all my friends. And one of my hockey friends (@BigBenPreds) recently had their first food truck experience ever and it was with Riffs. I received a tweet from him saying, “Had my first food truck experience from Riffs today. I totally get it now.” The minute you eat something from this truck, you are going to instantly create an internal passion for all things food trucks. Just expect it to happen.
All I’m going to leave you with is that if you want Fine Street Food, you need look no further than Riff’s Fine Street Food. After all, it’s in the name!