Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Apologies from the chef: Pop-up was a bust

You go out to a special dinner and it's a bust.

Apologies from the chef: Pop-up was a bust

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Madame Saito helped her old friend Ryo Igarashi by lending him her space at 122-124 Lombard St. for the pop-up.  SHUMITA BASU / Staff Photographer
Madame Saito helped her old friend Ryo Igarashi by lending him her space at 122-124 Lombard St. for the pop-up. SHUMITA BASU / Staff Photographer

You go out to a special dinner and it's a bust.

Rare is it for the chef to apologize.

Which is what Ryo Igarashi did in an email.

Last night, he hosted a pop-up izakaya before a packed house at HeadHouse/Le Champignon at 124 Lombard St. This was supposed to be Igarashi's road back. Last year, he and his wife split, he lost his restaurant, and he cracked his skull and underwent brain surgery.

Patrons expecting izakaya bites of live scallops seared with bonito hollandaise and quail egg and a salad of braised octopus and avocado with mixed greens, tossed with yuzu vinaigrette, were disappointed. (A friend was appalled at the fact that water was served in plastic bottles and that the first course was served to the dining room not with trays but off of sheet pans. I could not get a food report from him because he walked out.)

"The event didn't go well," Igarashi said, in a unfortunately rare display of chef humility. "I am disappointed and frustrated with myself. ...  We prepared awesome food and I just couldn't execute it." He went on to thank patrons.

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Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

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