I know this is an incredibly unpopular opinion, but I'm not really in favor of food trucks. Whenever I see one of those boxy panel vans parked on the sidewalk with one of its aluminum walls propped open at an angle, I expect it to be a mobile soup kitchen delivering turkey sandwiches to the homeless. Instead, the people waiting to be fed are usually yuppies who call their daughters "Princess" unironically, with not a single homeless guy in sight.
Where Ya At Matt is definitely better than this silly portrait of Immanuel Kant. Probably tastier, too.
It's just as well, though: In real life, the homeless just aren't very cool. They don't dress as well as they do on old Warner Brothers cartoons. Unless a guy has a ragged, mismatched three- piece suit, complete with a broken pocket watch which comically ejects springs when he opens it, and an Abraham Lincoln hat with the very top of it popped open as though it were a partially opened can of tomato sauce, and wears spats, and has a stick slung over his shoulder with a polka-dotted bandana tied up like a satchel to hold his meager possessions, then he doesn't really look like a bum to me.
Luckily Where Ya At Matt avoids all of these problems because it's great. My colleague and fellow poboy aficionado Leslie Kelly agrees, which is why she's fawning all over him in this week's Grillaxin'. Where Ya At Matt is to other food trucks as a monster truck is to regular trucks. And that's pretty trucking awesome.
I found Where Ya At Matt parked in the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, on the dismal gravel shoulder of an abandoned railroad. I went there for only one thing: a shrimp poboy. I've looked all over this fucking city for a decent shrimp poboy, and have never been able to find it. Some places try to fancy them up by dressing the poboy with red leaf lettuce, or sprinkling it with sunflower seeds, or trying to shoehorn it into being a banh-mi by strewing julienned shit all over it, but that doesn't work.
Other places are seemingly OBSESSED with dousing their poboys in remoulade sauce. News flash: No one in Louisiana slathers gooey sauce on poboys. You assholes should never treat a poboy the way I treat your mom's face. But the biggest, unforgivable offense is when they don't put enough shrimp on the poboy. I've had so-called "poboys" in Seattle that literally had TWO shrimp on the entire thing. More than two shrimp should ROLL OFF THE BUN and onto the floor in a properly constructed poboy.
I could discuss this topic for days, filibustering just like Huey P. Long on the floor of the Senate, but I suppose I'll stay on task here. The long and short of it is that I've finally found the MOST AUTHENTIC SHRIMP POBOY IN SEATTLE. The shrimp poboy at Where Ya At Matt was an affordable $8, and was a veritable clone of the ones I used to buy from the convenience store next door to my apartment in Baton Rouge. The bread was a simple hoagie-style roll, toasted a bit on the outside. I would also have accepted one of those football-shaped Vietnamese rolls you can buy in Chinatown.
The poboy was dressed with shredded romaine lettuce, corrugated slices of pickle, and thin Roma tomato rounds. Best of all, there was A LOT OF SHRIMP; the entire surface of the bottom bun was covered in juicy fried shrimp. And they weren't those pussy midget popcorn shrimp, either--Matt is clearly using 16-20 count shrimp in his poboys. They were fried to a golden bronze in a flavorful cornmeal batter, and I'm going to have to say these shrimp can stand on their own, sans bun, as the best fried shrimp in the city. And there was no remoulade! Instead, Matt sauced his sandwich with the ONLY two condiments allowed on a poboy: mustard and mayonnaise.
Everything else on the menu is good too. A muffaletta ($8), while about half the size of those you'd find in NOLA, was also cheaper by half too. Like the shrimp poboy, the fidelity to the original is uncanny. Matt's version of the classic Italian meat and cheese sandwich contained coppa, mortadella, and salami, with provolone and swiss cheese, spread with an unapologetically garlicky olive salad. Best of all, he managed to get REAL muffaletta bread, studded with an almost excessive amount of sesame seeds, and a somewhat dry and leathery texture that's designed to stand up to being completely soaked in olive oil.
Chicken and andouille gumbo (also $8) came in a plastic container big enough for two bowls. It was thick and smoky. The tomato-based roux was rich, with a little tang to it, and swimming with bay leaves, onion, celery, and green bell pepper. It was also very meaty: I couldn't get a spoonful without getting either a shred of chicken meat or a disc of sliced andouille.
Finally, $3 got us three beignets. These are real fucking beignets: puffy fried pillows of dough with a honey-colored crust and a steamy, gauzy interior, served up in a white paper bag, and perched atop a huge fucking Mount Everest of confectioner's sugar. If you don't eat them within 15 minutes they taste like a fried mattress, so either hurry up and chow the fuck down, or eat these motherfuckers first.
This, my friends, is it. If you want to know where to find the best poboy in Seattle, I'm telling you to go to Where Ya At Matt. I must be dreaming; I've found my El Dorado. Jesus Christ, I can't believe that this promised land actually exists. Like Emmanuel Kant, if Matt didn't exist, we'd have had to invent him. Luckily for me he exists. His sole purpose in life, to stuff shrimp poboys into my face for all eternity, has been fulfilled.
Rating: 10 completely perfect examples of perfection out of 10
Where Ya At Matt can be found here.