Smile Politely

Betsy’s Bistro brings the burgers

Betsy’s Bistro is the renamed Hendrick House food truck, back for the summer with a new menu. The Hendrick House truck offered formidable fare such as Jalapeño Candied Bacon and the Cubano, which was my favorite cuban sandwich in C-U. I was disappointed that neither of these items made the new menu, so I set out to see if the new, simpler menu could stack up to my former favorites.

The truck itself is painted in the style of its menu: simple, clean, and fresh. It’s a basic white truck with the Betsy’s Bistro logo painted in green on the side. The menu has about 6 to 8 sandwiches and wraps, all served with housemade potato chips. The chips are the only side option, but they are solid. They are hearty but not tough, and liberally seasoned without being too salty or oily. Betsy’s Bistro has a small menu which allows them to focus on making sure those few items are quality. The result is a really polished menu of well thought-out meals with little room for disappointment.

My new favorite menu item is the Bwakacado sandwich ($7). It’s a grilled chicken breast topped with melty provolone cheese and spicy guacamole (which you will be informed is not spicy at all) on a toasted bun, served with lettuce, tomato, and onion. It’s simple, yet delicious. The chicken is grilled just right — tender, flavorful, and juicy. The lettuce, tomato, and onion play together to provide a really nice contrast between crunchy and soft. The “spicy” guacamole is a fresh, summery addition. It has a light, fresh flavor, but isn’t actually very spicy. All buns are toasted, so you get a subtle crispy bite around the edges. This is a quality summer sandwich and perfect food truck fare.

There are two different types of hamburgers on the menu: The standard cheeseburger ($6) and the bacon burger ($7). The cheeseburger stands out for its simplicity. It’s cooked to just barely well done. The burger patty is juicy, balanced, and soft. The lettuce, tomato, and onion provides a bit of that crudité crunch. You get the saltiness of the grilled beef, the smoothness of the cheese, the bite of the onion, and the toastiness of the bun. It’s exactly what a burger should be.

The bacon burger may not be what you expect. Instead of topping the burger with bacon, it’s ground into the beef. The hamburger patty is 75% beef and 25% bacon. This produces a burger that’s very similar to the standard cheeseburger, but has a more complex flavor. You get more smoky, saltiness from the bacon, and the edges of the patty get a little crispier. It also comes with lettuce, tomato, and onion on a toasty bun to round out the burger experience.

While I’ve tried both of the wraps on the menu; the Chicken Parm Wrap ($6) is my favorite. It consists of cold chopped chicken, shredded parmesan, lettuce, and zucchini in a veggie wrap. Yes, I said zucchini. I’m not a fan of zucchini and I seriously hesitated before agreeing to it on the wrap. But I was told it adds crunch and I love a good crunch so I went with it, for the sake of accurate reporting. I was surprised — it was really quite nice. It’s a very summery bite, particularly when mixed with the creamy, zingy Ceasar dressing.

And finally, for you vegetarians out there, there’s a a burger option for you, and it’s a doozy. The most striking thing about this (meatless) burger? It’s beautiful. It’s colorful. It’s bright green, because it’s made fresh from real edamame that’s been ground up and shaped into a burger patty ($7). Served on the signature toasted bun with asian slaw and dressing, this burger really puts the black-bean-burger market to shame. The slaw provides texture and crunch, while the patty itself is soft but won’t disintegrate. There’s a bit of a zing to the flavors, but I couldn’t pinpoint whether it came from the slaw or the burger itself. It’s somewhat of a gingery bite that provides a bit of heat. I bribed my coworker, who is vegetarian, into giving her honest opinion on this option. She noted that it’s a nice twist on the veggie burger, and a welcome alternative for vegetarians.

Betsy’s Bistro met and exceeded my expectations. All items come with a side of chips and cost between $6 and $9. While I am still (and maybe always will be) disappointed that they no longer serve a Cuban sandwich, or the delicious yet wholly unhealthy candied bacon, I am very pleased with their new offerings. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m hungry for a Bwakacado and need to track Betsy down.

Betsy’s Bistro 
Locations vary; check Facebook for details

All photos by Sarah Meilike

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