Making Tasty Balls is Serious Business

Chef Ryo Igarashi realized his lifelong dream of bringing Japanese street food to the United States last year when he opened Maru Global. The signature dish coming out of the 10th Street eatery is the Takoyaki, which is a ping-pong ball made of batter that is grilled and filled with scallions, ginger, dried shrimp, and diced octopus.

"We thought it would be a great concept to open here, and have added many more varieties than just the traditional octopus," said Igarashi. "Customers can also get chicken, beef, and shrimp-filled takoyaki. We also cater to vegetarians and vegans."

The takoyaki come in groups of eight, and are made to order. Even after the balls have been plated, the heat from the filling makes the crown of delicate bonito flakes look alive.

We love this place so much, we thought Ryo and his wife Nicole deserved a shot at being America's Next Great Restaurant, as opposed to the contrived concepts they picked for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But, with the support of the Philly food-obsessed, Chef Igarashi and the Maru Global team can succeed and flourish without the help of Bobby Flay and his mom jeans. [The Feast]

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