The Southern Comfort Kitchen food truck, which specializes in New Orleans cuisine, has only been out on Bay Area streets for 5 months, but the family business has been around for decades. When the Brill family moved from New Orleans to California in 1989, they started a catering business, vending at various county fairs and parties up and down the west coast, serving everything from shrimp and grits to jambalaya and po’ boys. The business has been passed down through the generations, and Southern Comfort Kitchen is now in the hands of the Brill brothers (Brett, Jason, and Jeremy), who have kept everything from the cornmeal batter to the housemade spicy aioli as family secrets. To make things even more authentic, they ship many of their ingredients directly from New Orleans, including the crawfish, shrimp, and catfish, despite the high cost.
On a recent visit to the truck, I was instantly drawn to the flashy purple color palette that gave off Mardi Gras vibes, and the traditional wooden signage that was draped down the side of the truck. As I stood in line to order, I could smell the aroma of fried southern Cajun goodness. They have quite an array of menu items for a food truck, so making a selection was a tough decision. Since I had only come with one friend, ordering one of everything wouldn’t have been the wisest move. Ultimately, we decided upon the fried catfish with cajun fries, the fried chicken sandwich, and a classic shrimp po’ boy we definitely could not pass up. Man oh man…these selections did not disappoint!
The fried catfish had a perfectly crispy layer of battered corn meal, along with a spicy aioli for dipping, and the cajun fries were perfectly seasoned. There wasn’t a soggy fry in the batch.
The southern fried chicken sandwich was epic–I mean EPIC. My favorite aspect of the sandwich was the tangy mayo-less slaw, of which I am major fan. They’re not skimpy on the chicken, either. The sandwich contained two thick slices of fried and battered, buttermilk-soaked, finger-licking good chicken breasts.
Of the three, however, the shrimp po’ boy was my favorite. The dish was definitely reminiscent of the traditional po’ boy sandwiches I enjoyed while living in the South; everything from the crispy battered shrimp to the vinegar-based slaw and the remoulade sauce were authentic to a tee.
After consuming what seemed like three days worth of food, I decided to introduce myself, and was fortunate enough to meet one of the three truck owners. Brett turned out to be a super personable guy, and was kind enough to share 15 minutes of his time to talk with me about his family business.
After only 5 months, Brett, Jason, and Jeremy are already getting ready to expand and start up a second food truck in order to meet the high demand they’re experiencing. The Southern Comfort Food Kitchen is currently in nine markets a week, and also operates via a tent setup at various events around the Bay Area. To make things even more exciting, Brett, Jason, and Jeremy are working together with their father on opening a brewery/restaurant from which they’ll be serving all of their famous dishes, paired with some amazing craft beers.
-Bay Area Contributor, Brian Chan