Over the past few months, there have been several pop-up restaurant events by Evolve Cuisine, headed by Executive Chef and Owner Daniel Barron.
For one reason or another, I wasn’t able to make the past events but really wanted to try them out after reading several great reviews. When I learned from Rodzilla Reviews that the “Explore Your Senses” would be the last pop-up for a while (at least until the Fall), I made sure to fit it into my schedule.
The event took place at Fixtures and Living, a large, spacious warehouse. We could see the staff and chef preparing the food. Patrons who sat at the bar had the best view. Various communal tables were set up and part of the dining experience was getting to sit with and meet new people. We were fortunate to be seated at a very friendly table where I got to meet some very interesting people. Also at my table were Rodzilla Reviews and gastro bits.
Unfortunately, we arrived a little late. Cocktail hour was scheduled for 6:30 and dinner at 7. We arrived before dinner was served, but we missed out on cocktail hour and most of the passed appetizers, which is too bad because they look and sounded delicious. You can look at Rodzilla Review’s post for the appetizers and cocktails I missed.
Smoked Duck Breast, Bing Cherry, Spicy Coconut Milk
This was the one appetizer left when we arrived. The idea is to pop the bite in your mouth and squeeze the sauce in. It was fun appetizer and I really liked the duck piece.
Smell – Crab Consomme, Sweet Pea, Truffle
Since the theme of the dinner was “explore our senses,” each course was meant to touch on a sense. The first one was smell. First, there was a plate with the vegetables and the crab consomme was in a solidified form. We were then asked to pour the hot broth into the bowl, which dissolved the crab consomme. Here it is before mixing:
After some mixing, it became a creamy crab soup. The aromas were definitely intoxicating, especially while we mixed the soup. This was a great way to start the meal.
Sight – Sculpin, Honeysuckle, Red Chile
This was my first experience with sculpin fish. It was slightly breaded. I liked the honeysuckle flower on top. The fish was tender and flaky. I do wish that it had arrived a little hotter. Mine was about room temperature.
Sound – Lavender, Pork Jowl, Mustard
The sound element was created by pop rocks sprinkled into the dish which petty much quietly crackled and popped the entire time we ate it. It’s the first time I’ve seen pop rocks used in a savory course.
Touch – Chicken Liver, Ahi, Pumpernickle, Peach
It was explained that this dish was one that “touched” Chef Barron’s heart as a result of a certain ingredient. This same ingredient caused some protesting outside the restaurant too. My favorite part of the dish was the “chicken liver.”
We took a brief intermission from solid foods for this cocktail course, prepared by Mixologist Mike Yen. This was a really fun drink. The cup contained cold rocks, a cotton candy rose, and a lemongrass straw. Once the liquid was poured inside, the drink there was volcanic-like bubbling between the rocks and a fog emanated from the dry ice. While I’ve seen the effect before, it never bores me. The drink was quite sweet and turned slightly pink from the dissolved cotton candy rose.
This was one of my favorites of the night, and the meal really started to pick up for me at this point.
Taste – Beef Cheek, Uni, Lima Beans
My favorite part of this dish was the uni sauce. The beef cheek sat on a creamy hominy grits which I also really enjoyed, especially when mixed with the uni sauce.
Sensory Overload – Duck Confit, Spot Prawn, Blackberry, Horseradish
This was one of my favorites of the night. Everything was very rich, as promised. The spot prawn was stuffed with duck. The “chicken liver” was barely cooked, just a light sear.
Dessert – Watermelon, Prosciutto, Basil, Love & Break Dancing
This was my absolute favorite of the night. Oftentimes, the weakest course in these multi-course meals is the dessert, but this was not the case here. The dessert was created by Pastry Chef Bonilla.
I’m not sure why there is break dancing in the description. Perhaps it’s because that is what you want to do once you eat it. I loved every aspect of this dish. The watermelon sorbet was light and refreshing. The corn cake was one of my favorite components of the dish and it paired surprisingly well with the bean paste.
We had a fun night here. I love pop up events because it gives the chef creative freedom. Not all pop-ups involve sitting with strangers, but this made the meal more fun too. Hopefully Evolve Cuisine will be back after their break.
To find out more about Evolve Cuisine, check out their website.