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2 Catt. 3: In re AZNeats

2011 October 19

CATTLEYA, J., delivered the opinion of the Cart. JEREMY, C.J., filed a separate concurrence.

AZNeats, as its name indicates, offers up Asian eats. The menu is simple. You have four meat options:

1. Kalbi (beef short ribs “marinated in . . . AZN Kalbi sauce then char-grilled to perfection”);

2. Bulgogi (“thinly sliced rib eye beef marinated in . . . special AZN sauce, cooked on a grill”);

3. Spicy pork bulgogi (“American Kurobuta Pork marinated in . . . special spicy gochu-jang (red pepper paste) sauce”); or

4. Teriyaki chicken (“[b]oneless, skinless chicken marinated and char-grilled in . . . special sauce”).

Each choice is served over white rice and with a mix of vegetables. We opted for AZN Kalbi™. Although, at $8, it is more expensive than the other $7 meats, the kalbi is billed as AZNeats’s “favorite” dish. (And, honestly, who would eat anything else when kalbi is on the menu? See In re Red Hook Lobster Pound, 2 Catt. 1 (2011) (“[N]o one in their right mind orders shrimp over lobster.”); In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011) (“[N]o one in their right mind orders [tempeh] over [pork].” (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Red Hook, 2 Catt. 1)). As is often done in Cart opinions, I will address each element separately.

AZN Kalbi

AZN Kalbi

Kalbi. Authentic. This is good, not just for off a truck, but by Annandale’s Korean restaurant standards. The hands in this truck’s kitchen know Korean cuisine. Of course, nothing beats kalbi off the bone and hot off the grill. But this is a good option when it’s just not practical to drive out to Annandale (or to enlist a licensed driver, who has a car and the actual ability to drive) to satisfy your Korean BBQ cravings. As an added bonus, you can satisfy your cravings without having to smell like a Korean BBQ restaurant when you return to work. (Korean marinade has the special ability to seep into the fabric of your clothing. But it’s a very small price to pay for the deliciousness that is called kalbi.)

Rice. Almost perfect. AZNeats’s white rice reminded me of the slightly sticky Kokuho Rose rice on which I was raised. It would have been perfect had it been a bit less soft; it verged dangerously close to the consistency of rice porridge. (Ok, admittedly, I’m exaggerating a bit. But I prefer that my sticky rice still have some chew to it.) The best part of the rice, for me, was the drizzle of sweet sauce that accompanied it. Given my childhood preference for sticky rice paired with certain condiments, I’m sure you’ll understand why.

Vegetables. Good enough. A collection of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, and yellow pickled radish. Obviously, these were supporting players to the kalbi’s starring role, but they were decent. Not overcooked and still had some bite. Plus, they made me feel a bit healthier.

Side of sliced pickles. Surprisingly important. Initially, the pickles appeared out of place. For one thing, they were the kind of pickle slices that you would expect to see on your McDonald’s hamburger. Which is to say that they were very American and not very Asian (or AZN). However, the pickles had a purpose. They provided an enjoyable source of acidity with which to balance the sweetness of the so-named AZN Kalbi sauce.

In the end, AZN Kalbi™ did not disappoint. It was a well-executed dish. Moreover, it was a great deal. For $8, you get top-quality meat and a very generous serving of rice, plus fresh veggies. You even get it all in a reusable plastic container a la Chinese takeout. (At least this Justice plans to use it again for tomorrow’s packed lunch.) If this Cart were in the business of handing out awards, AZN Kalbi™ would get Best Bang for Your Buck (of the foods sampled thus far).

On a side note, it is beyond my understanding why AZNeats does not have the same following of another truck that offers up Korean cuisine, albeit Korean fusion.* Is it because AZNeats’s truck is red instead of blue? Is it because its name does not roll off the tongue as easily? (By the way, is the name pronounced as “Asian eats” or “A-Z-N eats”?) In any case, I hope these are not the reasons. Food should speak for itself. See El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (“Mediocre food can easily hide behind hype and slick graphics.”). If you let the food speak here, you’ll hear it saying great things.


Finally, I will address my brother’s unfounded remarks regarding my mental state by saying this: Sir, I am no Henry Baldwin.

*This Cart recognizes that perhaps it is less than fair to compare traditional Asian fare with Asian fusion. It might be more appropriate to use Yellow Vendor as a comparison here. We’ll leave that for another day.


JEREMY, C.J., concurring.

I concur generally in the opinion of the Cart, with only two minor quibbles. Firstly, not having myself been raised on Kokuho Rice, I do not possess the requisite knowledge to pass judgment upon its comparative virtue. Secondly, and more seriously, in the final sentence of the opinion of the Cart, my sister writes: “If you let the food speak here, you’ll hear it saying great things.” Outside the veritable œuvre of The Mothers of Invention, foodstuffs have only rarely and infrequently been known to speak up, much less to “say[] great things.” If my sister’s mental state yet degenerates, such that she continues communing with comestibles, I may insist upon her recusal, as she so insisted of me in an earlier opinion of this Cart, see Metro Halal Food v. Tasty Kabob, 1 Catt. 2 (2011), despite the fact that I find the rest of her opinion eminently (dare I say, surprisingly) cogent.

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