Pop Up Alert: Chef Andrew Le’s five-course dinner will spirit you away

Left: braised daikon, cured egg yolk and kimchee streusel; right: a soup noodle dish topped with fried baby crabs. Photos by Alex Le.

On March 10, Andrew Le brought down the house—the Drafthouse, that is—in Austin. During SXSW. How did the The Pig and the Lady chef wind up a culinary heartthrob (women were asking him to sign their menus after the one-night-only dinner) in Texas?

Turns out Andrew’s big brother Anderson Le (HIFF’s director of programming) is besties with Tim League, owner of the famed Drafthouse chain of film-fan theaters, where you watch and eat. One of his regular events is a Food + Film series, and he invited Andrew to headline along with Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (great pairing).

Using the animated film as inspiration, Andrew came up with this enticing menu: his take on oden (braised daikon, cured egg yolk, kim chee streusel and mustard oil); a soup noodle dish topped with fried baby crabs; short ribs with cabbage, pear and parsnip; miso soup; and a caramelized green-tea cake with kaya, lychee ice and Thai basil.
Did he have to take any ingredients with him? “I had to bring daikon with me!,” reveals Andrew with a laugh. “I have to bring daikon? Really? There’s no daikon in Austin at all?” (He also took a crew of three with him, which included San Francisco chef Nick Erker.)

Andrew Le with Ginger Gohier

The five-course dinner sold out in what seemed like seconds, with disgruntled gourmand cinephiles complaining on Twitter. But those who did get a ticket had only good things to say. “They loved it,” says Andrew. “It was kind of weird—I had to talk at the end, and there were a lot of people just waiting around. ‘Can you sign my menu?’”
When asked if he had fun, Andrew responds: “Oh my god, it was crazy, it was awesome! We’d do it again in a heartbeat. Tim League is super generous and crazy—in a good way. He said if I come again that we’d take a helicopter and look for wild boars and shoot ‘em and cook ‘em.”

Now here’s the exciting news: Andrew will recreate his Austin menu for Honolulu diners this weekend.

Buy tickets here: www.eventbrite.com/event/5998464569/eorg
$69, Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, 8 p.m. at R&D, 691 Auahi St., between Coral and Keawe streets