As niches in the local food world go, the current demand for the Japanese street food takoyaki is as small as the takoyaki itself. It's a petite delicacy: a globe-shaped puff of pancake batter about the size of a golf ball. But Nicole Igarashi and her Tokyo-born husband-chef, Ryo, already knew the power of this treat before they opened their quirky Japanese street-food storefront dedicated to variations on the genre in February.
A great takoyaki - its crust a delicate crisp, its center a melty core of savory batter scented with dashi, mountain yam, pickled ginger, and a chewy morsel of your choice (octopus is traditional) - can quickly become an addictive snack. Perhaps it's taken a few weeks to get the dimpled cast-iron griddle perfectly seasoned. But judging from the six-pack I sampled, each bite a mouthful of textural contrasts brightened by piquant streaks of tonkatsu sauce and smoky bonito shavings, I think the local takoyaki market may be poised to grow.