First Bite: Maru Global


There’s a lot going on at the menu at Maru Global, which is opening on 10th Street (between Locust and Spruce) on January 25th. But really, the takoyaki they’re serving couldn’t be simpler. A special cast-iron takoyaki pan, which has half-sphere indentations, is the key to cooking up this traditional Japanese street food. The batter — as delicate as a crêpe batter, but with Japanese flavors and baking powder for volume — is combined with your choice of fillings like sirloin, shrimp, and chicken, as well as scallions and red ginger. What you wind up with is delicate, savory puffs that chef Ryo Igarashi tops with bonito flakes, a finger-licking sweet sauce, and spicy mayo. Six are $3.25 and 12 are $6.50 — and trust me, these are so popable, you’ll want 12.

maru_panChef Ryo grew up in Japan, and has fond memories of waiting for takoyaki at food carts in Tokyo all year round. His wife, Nicole, was raised in the restaurant industry — her family owned Walt’s Crabs (you’ll find a version Walt’s crabcakes on the menu at Maru).

Besides the new-to-Philly concept, they are truly sticking to the street food vibe: There are tables for dining in, but it’s mostly meant for takeout and delivery; they’ll have super-quick bike delivery all over the city, and they’re planning to offer large party-worthy trays.

maru_chocolateOther menu items include some nontraditional takoyaki like cheesesteak, BBQ, and tofu; stir-fried noodles; wholesome salads; and a delish sweet batter that gets mixed in with chocolate chips, a favorite of the couple’s daughter (and me). See the full menu here.

255 South 10th Street, 267-273-0567;