State Fare: Marfa, Texas and the Food Shark
Out in the Texas Badlands, this art-fueled town has become a place with exceptional culinary value. Although restaurants there in the high desert town aren’t what you’d call numerous, it’s all about the proverbial quality, not quantity.
Yes, Maiya’s remains the lovely restaurant that would be at home in San Fran or Gotham. Blue Javelina and Cochineal turn out dishes that make us weak in the knees. But it’s the funky food trailer called Food Shark that everyone makes a point to visit at least once a day during a visit to Marfa. A prize pick among scribes reporting for the New York Times, Bon Appetit and CNN, Food Shark is taking a big bite out of the national food scene.
Last time I dropped by for lunch, I found the delightful Adam Bork keeping the crowds entertained from his truck window. Order-taker and co-owner, Bork might as well be mayor – at least of the farm stand pavilion where the Food Shark truck is parked and serving food Tuesday through Friday. His fiancé, the adorable and talented Krista Steinhauer, prepares the Mediterranean-West Texas fare that’s made Food Shark a smash hit.
Our group of four agonized over choices from the blackboard menu, ultimately deciding on the signature, the Marfalafel, which finds a large flour tortilla holding freshly made falafel balls over romaine with tomatoes, cukes, red onion, tahini, yogurt and hummus.
But we didn’t stop there. Specials we couldn’t resist included fried black bean-masa cakes topped with shredded chicken and sweet-hot slaw; and a ciabatta roll filled with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, zucchini, eggplant and proscuitto. With a few icy-cold bottles of Topochico, we feasted at the picnic tables sitting right next to the railroad tracks.
Trust me, our lunch was outstanding. I’d rank the flavors and satisfaction factor alongside those found any place in town. Were Adam and Krista willing to pick up and rush across the country, they’d be winning the Great Food Truck Race currently on the Food Network. The pair know plenty about hospitality and fine cuisine, Adam having worked in Austin at the fabulous Hotel San Jose, among other places, and Krista having cooked in Europe.
Just two tips if you’re heading to Marfa to eat: Don’t expect Food Shark to be open on Sunday or Monday (and it’s only open some Saturdays); and don’t wait until 2:45 p.m. for lunch – Food Shark closes at 3 p.m.
June Naylor is State Fare Editor of EscapeHatchDallas. A Fort Worth-based food writer, cookbook author and restaurant critic, June has been a journalist on the Texas food scene for more than 20 years. Join her on one of her culinary adventures: TexasToastCulinaryTours.com.