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Short Order: Explorers Club Jerk Chicken Tacos

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Short Order: Explorers Club Jerk Chicken Tacos
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While food trucks are pretty much year-round operations in Columbus these days, they’re much more visible now that warmer weather has arrived. Explorers Club is a mobile operation that used to be a beloved, Latin-influenced, Merion Village restaurant. The brick-and-mortar operation closed a while back, but its truck makes regular appearances at Zauber Brewing, as well as other guest appearances throughout the city, including in comparatively far-flung neighborhoods, Dublin and Worthington. The wheeled operation makes the project an Explorers Club in a more literal sense.

On the menu? Familiar funky fare; Explorers Club offers a lovable, eclectic mix that ranges from fried bologna sandwiches to plantains with yo yo sauce. Or there are tacos: the Jerk Chicken option is a menu fixture that lets diners combine two harmonious culinary archetypes, Caribbean and Tex-Mex. What’s not to love?

Served in a paper tray, the Jerk Chicken Tacos ($8 for two) are built larger than your average taco score, so the order provides more than a meal. Inside sturdy grilled tortillas, the kitchen builds a foundation with rice and black beans. On top of that goes a respectable supply of pulled chicken that boasts the savory, classically aromatic jerk seasoning with a little appealing brine. It’s crowned with some finely cut slaw that comes off as traditional at first, then a little stinging heat zips in as a bonus. It’s the perfect summer food.

As for other options, vegetable tacos are also a reliable feature at the food truck. As might be expected, they offer grilled vegetables instead of the chicken, along with rice, beans, cheese and red sauce. The menu does change a little, based on seasonal availability and creative insights. There’s something called “Gorilla Fries,” which are still very much on the to-do list: fries (sometimes, tater tots), topped with chorizo, sour cream, cheese and salsa. That’s for next time.

Track the food truck at explorersclubmv.com/food-truck.

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