I was invited to a pop up restaurant and just couldn’t pass on the opportunity. I hadn’t ever really heard of one up close and was psyched.
It wasn’t what I expected but it was a great night. I had fun meeting some new folks and I was so glad Ms. M came with me. She’s such a good sport and we were both happy to be fed.
The chef Wheeler del Torro hosts a few of these occasionally. This was all I knew before joining, Wheeler’s email said: “I am hosting an intimate group of invited guests for a sneak peek at Pharmacie’s new fall menu celebrating classic Southern dishes with an Asian flair. Pharmacie is my latest food venture: an experimental fusion test kitchen to explore flavors, textures, and sensations.”
I left to meet Ms. M with a warning from Mr. J not to enter if this was in some guy’s basement. I was thinking the whole time what happens when you mix Asian and Southern? General Tzo’s Chicken & Waffles?
The pop up was held in an ice cream shoppe in my old ‘hood. The name of the hosting venue would have been helpful. We showed up for the third sitting and they were running late. We squeezed in and were served promptly. Introductions got us going at communal tables as we began munching.
The first dish was watermelon with blue cheese. I was expecting feta and honestly thought the freshness of the watermelon didn’t pair well with the moldy cheese.
We had a salad too.
Next was a tomato bruschetta. I loved the tomatoes but wasn’t into the caviar.
Our next dish was pumpkin ravioli with tomato sauce. Again, I think the flavors didn’t mix. I would have liked brown butter, or really good olive oil, or a light cream. The tomato sauce was super acidic to me.
Then they served lasagna. I couldn’t eat it because it was beef. I was asked dietary restrictions before the meal (where I emailed) then I was asked again before we sat down. They were super sweet to offer me a sundae instead of the ice cream cup served afterwards, but I declined. It kind of annoyed me. Don’t ask if you’re not going to do anything. I felt like an imposition. I might have passed on the dinner if I knew what I’d be eating. I would have been happy with a double serving of raviolis instead.
We got a cup of ice cream which was good, but the meal was so long that I had one foot out of the door.
The food was fine and I’m sure some people enjoyed it more than me. I thought it should wow me. I thought I should be shouting from the rooftops. I thought this meal would rock my world and make me their unofficial spokesperson when a restaurant opened. I was underwhelmed.
I wasn’t impressed with the how the event was run since I showed an email chain to get us in, they didn’t include the venue name, there wasn’t any explanation about what they were serving, and the dietary restrictions info wasn’t passed along. I also think they should have done 2 sittings if the food was going to be reheated and if they weren’t going to be able to accommodate the overlapping crowd three times that day.
Did you notice this has absolutely nothing to reference Asian or Southern? Yeah, me too.
Sometimes I’m brutally honest and I feel badly, but I owe you the good, the bad, and the ugly. This was a disappointing dinner. Maybe I was too hyped about it. It makes me glad we hadn’t bought a ticket to it. My invitation with a guest was complimentary but if I liked it I would have raved about it so it only seemed appropriate to be so harshly honest.
Full 3 Bite Rule Disclosure: My invitation for myself and a guest was completely complimentary but my thoughts, opinions, and words are entirely my own.
Wait… this is supposed to be Asian meets Southern?? Am I missing something??
Seriously! Way to entice me, fake us out, and then give us run of the mill Italian!
I totally want General Tsao’s Chicken and Waffles now…and definitely NOT watermelon with bleu cheese!