Dinner on demand service Sprig will have its second "guest chef" night on Thursday with Bar Tartine chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla. The two chefs will have a menu of three dishes, all for $10 with a $2 delivery charge, that you can order via the company's app 5:30-9:30 p.m. The first time Sprig pulled this guest chef stunt, last month with Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions, things did not go very smoothly. The company claims that it sold 100 meals a minute at peak hours and had 10,000 requests for entrees, and it was obvious that the system was not built for that kind of heavy use.
I checked the site about 10 minutes into Brioza's service and the food had already sold out. An hour later they had gotten it together enough to have a second round of food available, and I requested the "Petaluma Farms chicken seasoned with crushed fennel, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper, roasted on a bed of caramelized onions, kale, and chickpeas with preserved lemon."
It took about an hour to arrive at my door (Sprig generally delivers food within 15 minutes of ordering) and it was ... not very good. The chicken was dry and overspiced to the point of unpleasantness; the chickpeas were undercooked and underseasoned, with no hint of lemon; the kale was fine, if too limp and cold. I have no doubt that Brioza's original recipe was good, but this was a seemingly harried attempt to recreate it.
But the idea for local chefs to provide recipes for healthy, fast dinners is a good one, and the company claims that it's learned lessons from the Brioza evening that it's applied to product improvements for this one. (What those product improvements are, the company refuses to disclose.) Good luck if you choose to go in on this round. Or you could, you know, just go to Bar Tartine.
Here's the full menu: