>> Kingston Food Truck | Eat the World NYC

24 May 2019

Kingston Food Truck


If you are not already on a long walk through the Bronx, the southern reaches of Castle Hill require at least one transfer to a bus from the 6 train up on Westchester Avenue. And getting over to Zerega Avenue to find the home of the Kingston Food Truck requires a bit of extra walking after that anyways. Located just before a bend in the road that follows Westchester Creek getting read to dump into the Atlantic, the area is dominated with large-scale light industrial facilities and can seem like the end of the world.

The truck's primary clientele are Caribbeans who work at the FedEx Ground location it parks in front of, but some others walk over from the Castle Hill Houses, which are not far away. On the day of this visit, the sun was bright, a pleasant breeze filled the air, and walking out to the truck was not a problem at all.

The only obstacle for those without a house, office, or car to take their food back to is a lack of seating in the area to enjoy your meal in any fashion but on your feet. A walk down to Castle Hill Point and the Bronx YMCA will take around 10-15 minutes but rewards you with a couple benches and views out to the Whitestone Bridge. After the industrial portion of the neighborhood, this more southern section feels very quiet and is full of single family homes and apartments on tree-lined streets. Besides the flights taking off from LaGuardia and flying overhead, it can be downright tranquil and feel like a reprieve from city life.

But open up that to go bag and the city in focus immediately shifts down to the Caribbean and the capital of Jamaica, the namesake of the truck. Tourists to the nation normally do not spend much time here, but Kingston is home to around a quarter of the island's inhabitants and is a big, vibrant city worth exploring for many reasons not least of which is the excellent food.

While owner and chef Paul Smooth (I think he prefers "Chef Smooth" based on his social media presence) has been cooking in New York City for a while, the truck is relatively new, hitting the street around the beginning of November of last year. It can be found here in Castle Hill every weekday for lunch and dinner, with a rotating menu that is usually posted on Instagram in the morning.

Two sizes are available, either a $10 or $15 portion. The jerk chicken with rasta pasta (above and below) is the smaller of the two unbelievably, a heaping container stuffed almost too full to close. Besides this bird, you can usually find some style of shrimp, possibly a salmon, jerk pork, a stew or two, and oxtail amongst others. Pair this with the side of your choice and you are good to go for at least two meals.

When I jokingly asked him why he only charges $10 for such a massive portion of food, he relayed some instances of customers actually being mad at him for not serving enough! After sitting down and eating everything, it was obvious that the food here was a substantial upgrade from the common steam table Jamaican restaurants around town, so even if the portion is small for someone, the quality would demand an appropriate price.

In the mood for rasta pasta, this order incorporated that rather than rice and peas to go along with the meat. A healthy squirt of jerk sauce to cover the whole thing meant that by the end the concoction at the bottom was quite lovely with everything mixing.

Noticing that Chef Smooth seems to make a big deal of his mac n' cheese ($6, above) on Instagram whenever he has it available, an extra side was also procured knowing that much of the meal would have to be repacked and taken home to eat later. This dish is well worth the order, small elbows and multiple cheeses perfumed by herbs and black pepper. As seen above, he does not skimp on a healthy piece of the baked crust top.

If exploring Castle Hill is not in the cards for you on weekdays, Chef Smooth and his truck can also be found parked on Fordham Road and Valentine Avenue on Saturdays just one block east of Grand Concourse. In this busy shopping district, the feeling is much different and the lines can get quite long when the weather is nice. Either way, bring your appetite, and be prepared to take home some leftovers.

Kingston Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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