Food Truck Bite of the Week: Porchetta Sandwich at Roli Roti
Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
The Truck: Roli Roti
The Cuisine: Rotisserie cooked meats
Specialty Items: Porchetta sandwich
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 15 minutes from the end of the line, at that point just to the fenced off picnic area at Gott's, to food in hand.
I had hesitated doing a write up on the porchetta sandwich from Roli Roti for some time, mostly because saying it's good is like saying puppies are cute or soda has bubbles. The sandwich, made since 2006, is responsible for those snaking lines at the Ferry Building stretching past Gott's outdoor seating, has ascended past the subjective analysis and into objective. If you like pork, the Porchetta Sandwich ($9.50, rotisserie cooked porchetta, caramelized onions, cress) is delicious. Fact.
The secret here is the skin and the truck. The skin acts as a barrier, sealing in all the fat and juices as it turns on the spit, resulting in meat that comes out tender in an almost braised way. This is a feat almost impossible to accomplish in an oven, where there's a high danger of overcooking the leaner meat yet not properly rendering the fat or crisping the skin. This is where the truck comes in: high BTUs blazing large spits yield something exceptionally porky. In the process, the skin gets crisped to a luscious dark caramel color, denser and richer than chicharrones, with a snap more like brittle than potato chips. The mahogany, fat glistened crisp skin gets distributed liberally, adding wonderfully salty pops of texture.
It's an accomplishment that owner Thomas Odermatt seems to maintain better than anyone else, crisp skin with juicy meat in the 500 or so sandwiches the staff told me they sell during lunch.
Don't let the line scare you or get there early and make it brunch. Either way, make your way to hog heaven.