Web Original: Critic’s Notebook: Where We’re Eating: Izumi

East Passyunk Avenue has finally gotten some much-needed diversity in the red-gravy-dominated restaurant department. Lynn Rinaldi, chef-owner of Italian gem Paradiso, has opened Izumi, along with fiancée Corey Baver, just a few blocks north.

The new Japanese BYOB is surprisingly stylish for such a tiny place. It glows with red tile work and is centered by an active sushi bar. The hot fare — especially a crispy mixed vegetable tempura — seems off to a good start. Sushi rolls, like spicy tuna and yellowtail, are as good as any in Center City spot, though too-thick sashimi slices could be cut more skillfully. Reasonable prices and a conspicuous spot facing the beloved singing fountain are sure to make Izumi a busy new spot on the Ave.