Chef Kevin Martinez of Fort Worth’s Tokyo Cafe has staged pop-up dinners before, but this one was different.
On Saturday, Martinez hosted a one-night-only pop-up at a Tokyo takoyaki counter. The evening was billed as “Tokyo comes to Tokyo.”
The restaurant, Uenomaru, was sold out for Martinez’s dinner of cheese takoyaki (a street food specialty like a fritter), chicken-pork meatballs with pickles and a beef bao bun.
Cafe Modern chef Denise Shavandy and Magdalena’s chef Juan Rodriguez tagged along to see Tokyo and meet Uenomaru chef Kazuaki Yohida, who befriended Martinez on an earlier visit.
“I was already coming to Japan and Denise and Juan thought it sounded fun,” he wrote in an online message.
On the restaurant page, Uenomaru promoted a “special plate” by “Kevin from America.”
“It’s so juicy!” Yohida wrote on Facebook, announcing the price as 800 yen (about $7.20).
Later, Yohida wrote, “All right. Kevin event sold out!”
In Fort Worth. Martinez is known for helping Tokyo Cafe, 5121 Pershing Ave., reopen after a 2014 fire nearly destroyed the building, a former Pizza Hut built in 1971.. It was formerly a Mediterranean restaurant for several years until Tokyo Cafe opened in 1997.
Martinez is also the owner of Yatai Food Kart, a mobile ramen stand.
Martinez and Tokyo Cafe owners Jarry and Mary Ho also plan a sushi stand in the forthcoming Food Hall at Crockett Row.