Food truck review: PerZoot

  • Photos by Tessa Berg
From the April 26, 2012 edition

PerZoot is a newish food truck with a whole heck of a lot going for it — including some of the best scratch-made “mobile sandwiches” in Columbus (created with house-roasted meats and homemade meatballs). On the looks front, PerZoot’s a stylish white short bus with red putti on it, and the vehicle bears the title of “Tigelleria.” In case you didn’t pick up on those tipoffs, this truck does Italian street food — and it does it pretty damn well (only it’s no longer a tigelleria — but more on this in a second).

Another asset of this smart startup is a good sense of humor. This is written on the truck (“It’s Ciao Time”) and evident from the friendly crew who assemble the excellent cart food, but it’s also contained in the very “PerZoot” name — which refers to a bastardized East Coast Italian-American slang for prosciutto.

OK, concerning PerZoot’s self-description — a tigelleria is a place where you’d get tigelle (think Italy’s answer to the English muffin). But since PerZoot’s tigelle proved to be too fragile and too troublesome to make, they’ve switched to using self-produced focaccia. This was a good decision, because PerZoot’s craggy, golden brown and sturdier focaccia — toasty yet kinda soft and graced with the perfect touches of rosemary and salt — is high-grade stuff. And it forms the basis for PerZoot’s menu — which is currently four sandwiches.

In general, these delicious focaccia-wiches ($6-$7) deliver honest, pure and classic Italian flavor combinations. They come with perky little salads (either arugula with salt and lemon or haricots verts in a tangy and creamy dressing), are snack-sized (two would constitute a hungry person’s complete meal) and will require the use of multiple napkins.

• Arista di Maiale: Sheets of lean roasted pork loin deftly flavored with garlic, chili flakes and fennel seeds and fennel pollen; the meat is smothered in almost jammy, deeply cooked onions.

• Tacchino: Lovely roasted free-range turkey meat slices fragrant with honey and rosemary are beautifully tricked out with fresh mozzarella and a tangy sun-dried tomato pesto.

• Polpette Panino: Beefy meatballs with an attractive sear are lavishly treated to melted and blistered mozzarella plus a dark, rich and thick tomato sauce.

• Melanzana: This all-veggie, salady sandwich has great flavors from salty Italian cheese, pickled veggies, crispy asparagus shards and lots of red onions, but doesn’t have enough of the namesake soft grilled eggplant on it (“melanzana” means eggplant in Italian).