It’s a weekday lunch hour. The stone bleachers at 2nd Avenue and 5th Street in downtown Minneapolis are lined with office workers in ones and twos, quietly competing for precious shade and balancing paper dishes on their knees. Food trucks are parked along 2nd Ave., and the line for Melch’s Meat Wagon is at least 30 deep.
But, next door, at The Moral Omnivore, I waltz right up to the window and place my order. Baffling. Even more so after I pick up my lunch: I would totally have waited in the usual food truck line for this.
Is it the name? Does the down-home decadence of “meat wagon” beat out the slightly ascetic, slightly high-falutin’ “moral”? Were the ladies of the Moral Omnivore just moving their line along a little faster than the average truck? Or had I just lucked into an unusual lull?
The mystery remains. The lunch was lovely.
The Moral Omnivore serves up a rotating menu of sliders and salads. The sliders are served in pairs, and mixing and matching is not mentioned on the menu, but I asked nicely and got a Fried Tomato BLT and a Beet Slider ($8). The two sweet little sandwiches have lots of little surprises going on, from the lightly spiced crunchy breading on the tomatoes to the generous scoop of sweet slaw playing up the smoky bacon; from the beet itself to the positively inspired accompaniment of smoked gouda. Look out, goat cheese, there’s a new beet pairing in town!
And another surprise on the side: a pile of thickly sliced portobellos, breaded and mildly spiced. Still firm enough to pick up, but miraculously creamy in the middle when they could have been rubbery and tough. The garlicky bits of the breading had fallen off into a soft pile in the paper dish, so they were missing a little bite, but the mustard-mayo sauce made up for that.
Here’s what was not awesome: the bread. The soft rolls were bland and gluey and totally unworthy of the filling. That’s an important part of a sandwich, yes, but a simple fix — and one that will make these sliders totally worthy of a line.