Joyland X Kisser bbq a rousing success

Joyland pop-up brings new flavors to East Nashville.

Written by Aaron Falck
Joyland X Kisser bbq a rousing success
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 10: Chef Sean Brock participates in a cooking demonstration onstage during day one of KAABOO Texas at AT&T Stadium on May 10, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

If I had to guess what Sean Brock did on Saturdays, I would tell you that he was walking through cornfields admiring heritage crops or taking artistic photos of junkyard cars in East Nashville. The last place I would expect to see Sean Brock on a Saturday morning would be perched over a grill, intensely monitoring the grilling of shokupan.

The Kisser BBQ pop-up was a definite success. Seats were immediately filled as soon as they were vacated despite the minimal advertising of the event. I managed to nab a seat and anxiously awaited my sandwich and fries. The sandwich was a thing of beauty: perfectly toasted milk bread that was delicate and light, yet somehow withstood the fried chicken and curry without falling apart. The fried chicken was closer to a southern style than katsu, excellent quality chicken that was probably brined for it to retain the moisture that well, with a perfect texture and crust that was not at all oily. The chicken’s slight heat was perfectly balanced by a spread of what tasted like Kewpie mayo and a light, yellow curry. The curry the traditional Japanese kind often served with katsu pork, although I didn’t detect any note of pork in this rendition. It was not too sweet or watery which can be an issue with Japanese curries. The pickled ginger atop the sandwich cut through the richness of the fried chicken. I also managed to score the loaded, Asian inspired fries. Potato fries smother with a spicy cod roe mayo sauce, green onions, seaweed, and bonito flakes. It was incredibly unique and unlike anything I’ve ever had. The toppings were reminiscent of okonomiyaki, but still distinctly its own creation. I would highly recommend hitting any other renditions of this pop-up. For the price point, it was an excellent value and novel marriage of two cuisines.