Not What You Might Expect – Japanese Sandwiches in Troy Hill?
Gari Shoyu Sando Co. offers traditional Japanese tastes in a pop-up at Scratch & Co. in Troy Hill.
Chef Gary Marshall immerses himself in Japanese culture one bite (and tat) at a time.
The heavily inked foodie fell in love with the body art form, which led him to explore the country’s cuisine and hone his skills at Umami, Roger Li’s izakaya, or Japanese pub, in Lawrenceville.
Now Marshall has his own pop-up at Troy Hill’s Scratch & Co. on Wednesdays from 5 to 9 p.m. And the food might not be what you expect.
Gari Shoyu Sando Co. specializes in Japanese-style sandwiches made with house-baked sweet, spongy milk bread called shokupan, along modern Japanese street foods and cocktail pairings.
“The most important thing to me is respect; that’s where my heart’s at,” Marshall says, who spent years perfecting his shokupan recipe and plans to visit Japan this year. “I’m doing this in a way that pays homage. I’m trying to make the food that I really love.”
Marshall says sandos give you a hug from the inside. He has about 10 varieties that rotate each week, from an egg salad sando made with jidori eggs and a fried nitamago egg to a fried chicken katsu with red koji-cabbage, spicy cucumber and sweet soy. He plans to add fish sandos to the menu soon.
In addition to being Marshall’s nickname, “gari shoyu” refers to a common ginger-soy dipping sauce.
The chef, who grew up in Brookline, developed a love of cooking from his Argentine grandmother, who opened up a world of flavors to him.
His friend and fellow chef, Simon Chough, owner of Korean restaurant Soju, encouraged him to launch the sando pop-up last October. Marshall will be stationed at Chough’s Garfield eatery on Feb. 6 and is making the rounds to various breweries throughout the month. Keep tabs on his whereabouts through his Instagram page.
Marshall is excited to be a part of Pittsburgh’s booming — and eclectic — food scene. He hopes to open his own Japanese-style deli and restaurant in the near future.
“Diversity is always good,” he says. “It inspires healthy competition.”