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Clustertruck – Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series

Now open in Downtown Columbus and Dublin.

Clustertruck recently opened a location in Dublin, continuing their expansion across the great city of Columbus and cementing themselves as one of the best group ordering options for company lunches, get-togethers, and any event in-between. With their low contact delivery option and now a pickup option as well, Clustertruck had another surprise with their Dublin opening.

We’d been watching the latest season of Top Chef which featured Avishar Barua, the Executive Chef at Service Bar in the Short North and noticed with the Dublin opening he was collaborating on a few dishes. Intrigued we decided to give it a shot and got the Sesame Broccoli Salad with Bacon and the Sichuan Hot Chicken Sandwich.

I’d gotten Clustertruck in the past when I was working downtown and will likely do another post in the future around the Hot Chicken Sandwich, but can definitely say it’s worth trying, especially if you’re in a work setting and want to put together a group order. Enough promo, onto the Broccoli Salad.

This is one of the three collab dishes and was super interesting. Broccoli cooked three ways (pickled, roasted, and flash-fried) with an intense but flavorful roasted sesame dressing. I’m a big fan of any dish that slaps bacon on top, but the differences of cook for the broccoli give it a unique flavor and pairing while still being the same vegetable.

A reminder that these dishes are only available through the Dublin location for an unknown amount of time.

The Sichuan Hot Chicken Sandwich was a difficult dish to rate. On one hand, it’s got extreme numbing power thanks to the Sichuan peppercorns, but on the other, there’s not much heat to go along with the numbing. At first blush, the sandwich looks burnt and ultra crispy, but it’s largely due to the dark sauce that coats the chicken (though the menu photo is much lighter). Beneath the sandwich is standard crispiness, so the sawce is the cause of the darkness.

First bite was like biting into a friendly nettle sandwich, with the numbing activating almost immediately. Following behind the numbing was the thick sauce with hints of soy, Chinese five spice, and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on (unconfirmed). Poking its head out very briefly was the heat, riding behind the peppercorn wave. A lemony zip from the peppercorn and more numbing moved the heat along, leaving little to no linger between bites.

Suddenly a searing pain hit my front teeth. Eyes wide wondering if I was dying, I fished around and found a piece of peppercorn stuck to my upper gum, sending shockwaves through the nerves in the front of my face. Once dislodged the pain subsided, but the consistent numbness of the sauce had me tiptoeing through the rest of the sandwich.

Again, it’s a weird one to rate on our list because it’s low in spiciness, but the numbing power is strong enough to tranquilize a small elephant. The peppercorns will definitely scare a few folks off, but our list is focused on spiciness only. As such, we are placing the Sichuan Hot Chicken Sandwich from Clustertruck at #94 on our list, just before Chile Verde Cafe’s Green Chili Stew and right after So Gong Dong’s Spicy Pork Bulgogi.

You can find Clustruck online in multiple states, but within Columbus it’s downtown and in Dublin.

Recently featured in the Spiciest Dish in Columbus Series:

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