Aaron Confessori and Richard Wiles are busy men. They own Westport Cafe and Bar, the recently opened Boot, and they are operating the Westport Street Fare, a food truck parked at the corner of Westport and Pennsylvania in the parking lot just to the west of Harry’s Bar and Tables.
The truck serves up mostly Mexican fare with a bit of a global flair. The menu is very straight forward. There are five fillings–spicy pork, chicken confit, Korean short rib meat, seared mahi-mahi and crispy tofu, and four vessels for enjoying them–in a burrito (with rice), as a quesadilla (with cheese), as a torta (with avocado, mayo, Pico de Gallo, lettuce and chipotle crema), or in a corn tortilla to make a taco.
The mahi is marinated in soy and pineapple, and topped with sliced cabbage, avocado, pico de gallo and chipotle crema. The short ribs are crispy chunks of meat, marinated with Korean seasonings, including sake and pear. The pork is marinated with three types of dried chiles including chipotle, guajillo and pasilla. The chicken filling combines confit chicken (which they use for their hash at brunch at the Westport Cafe) with hash browns and roasted tomato vinaigrette.
I have sampled all of the offerings and loved everything I ate, in every format. However, I am especially partial to the pork torta; it has to be one of the best sandwiches in town. The rolls as well as the tortillas are made at Carniceria y Tortilleria San Antonio and are still warm when delivered. The Korean short rib tacos are special, too, and the flavors will really grab you.
There’s typically a ramen special with housemade noodles, pork belly and short rib. You’ll need the chopsticks they give you to pick up the big pieces of pork belly and short rib that are floating in the soup. It’s all very soothing on a chilly night, but it might not stay on the menu in the heat of the summer.
Richard and Aaron wanted to keep the menu simple and it works beautifully. The one addition I would make is to add chips and salsa. The fiery red salsa and smooth avocado tomatillo salsa that accompany each item are homemade and, while the offerings don’t need embellishment, I really wanted some chips to dip into those little containers. It was really hard to throw out even one drop, because the heat and texture of both have me thinking the salsas are as fine as you’ll find in Kansas City.
The little courtyard is strung with lights that make the area festive, and there’s a ledge that goes around the fence so after you pick up your food there’s a place to land while you eat it. Rich said that at some point they may add stools for outdoor dining. At the moment, no beer is served, but they make their own sodas. I sampled the lemon lime and it was perfect for putting out the fire in my mouth from the salsas.
The Westport Street Fare is open Thursdays-Saturday nights, from 7 pm to 3 am. Yes, you read that right. Aaron says a big wave of customers come in the wee hours of the morning, undoubtedly after rolling out of one of the nearby bars. But those of us who aren’t up that late can grab a bite during its more civilized hours of operation. It really doesn’t matter when you go…just go.