found Chef Dan's Southern Comfort food truck at the corner of Market Street and
Capitol Avenue, its nose staring straight at the Statehouse dome. Inside that
venerable building, Republican legislators were licking their chops over the
prospect of busting the unions with so-called Right to Work legislation.
out on the street, workers and legislators alike were having their appetites
tempted by the richly seasoned aroma wafting from Chef Dan's mobile kitchen.
the streets since November, Chef Dan Carter has been gradually building a
following for his take on Southern-style cookery. "I come from a family of
cooks," says Carter, who grew up in Greenville, Mississippi.
"My grandmother had a farm and she made everything from scratch."
got his first restaurant job at 13. By 17, he was a kitchen manager. After
attending culinary school in New Orleans, he set out to make a mark of his own.
"It was great to see all types of cooking techniques in New Orleans. It made me
want to do this more."
describes his menu as offering "a little bit of Southern with a little bit of
Cajun New Orleans cuisine."
lot of people think of Cajun as spicy," he says. "Cajun is just highly
seasoned. That's basically what I do. I highly season my food so you can have
that taste you will never find anywhere else."
the day NUVO visited, Chef Dan's Southern Comfort was offering a variety of hot
sandwiches, including a catfish/shrimp poboy ($6/$7),
BBQ pulled pork ($6), open face meatloaf with potatoes ($7) and Southern fried
chicken ($6). There were also Chef Dan's wings with fries ($6), mac 'n' cheese
($3) and peach cobbler ($2).
sampled the pulled pork and Chef Dan's wings, along with the mac 'n' cheese and
an order of the cobbler.
pork, served on a white bun, was juicy and tender with a dollop of sweet sauce,
sporting a smoky afterglow. The mac 'n' cheese practically defined comfort
food: a secret blend of several cheeses and, we guessed, paprika,
that made for a multi-layered flavor effect.
wings consisted of five plump fried chicken servings. The batter seemed to
emphasize butter over seasoning; I would have preferred a little more spice and
relied on a side of hot sauce for that extra kick. The wings were served with
fries, which were snazzily enhanced by a generous
sprinkling of Chef Dan's Mississippi BBQ rub (for sale on-site and at such
finished up with peach cobbler, a thick, rich and satisfyingly silky confection
that came close to being a bread pudding with a dash of cinnamon.
Dan's Southern Comfort truck is available for lunches and dinners and, in
addition to the Statehouse, can be found at such sites as the City Market, the
Avenue. You'll also find him parked on Monument Circle for Super Bowl week.