Two Bell Review for CoZara

Photo by Kyle Born

Photo by Kyle Born

Craig LaBan reviews Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s CoZara in University City. LaBan finds some misses in the izakaya’s very large menu but he finds a bunch of hits as well.

CoZara excels in those simple Japanese comforts done right – a griddled rice ball lacquered in teriyaki, a hearty braised beef and potato Niku Jaga stew (which I’d return for – in winter), the thick chunks of velvety white salt-braised pork belly posed over dark ponzu. And there was something so soul-satisfying about the purity of the ochazuke, a chunk of broiled salmon over rice that almost turned to congee when the server poured dashi broth from a teapot overtop, that I could understand that taste of home Tanaka is going for here.

Two Bells – Very Good

At CoZara, chef puts sushi aside and turns up the heat [Philadelphia Inquirer]

CoZara [Foobooz]

Summer Happy Hour at coZara

Bar at CoZara | Photo by Kyle Born

Bar at CoZara | Photo by Kyle Born

After Trey Popp’s review of CoZara, where the happy hour garnered the most compliments,  we wanted to check it out for ourselves. And oh yes, it is happy.

Not only does CoZara offer up a wide range of beer, wine, cocktails and sake for just $2, you can get $2 deals on their Japanese small plates as well.

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Restaurant Review: CoZara

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Photos by Courtney Apple

We here at Philadelphia magazine decided last month to start debuting restaurant reviews early on Foobooz. We had reasons. And we discussed them here. Welcome to the new world.

If restaurants are like fishermen, constantly angling for customers, CoZara is that guy at the end of the pier who keeps changing his bait as fast as he can reel in the line.Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s sophomore effort (following his eponymous sushi den in Rittenhouse Square) opened with a 60-item menu patterned after a Japanese izakaya. Small plates were grouped into nine categories, with sushi notable for its absence. A few weeks later, CoZara added lunch: rice bowls, ramen, and gluey alt-burritos whose delicate soy-paper wrappers struggled to contain heavy cargoes of soggy rice entombing the likes of teriyaki salmon or BBQ eel. Then the dinner menu, which had already been tweaked, changed again, shrinking by about half in response to what chef de cuisine Chris Paulikas called the “deer-in-the-headlights look” of customers who found the original one “ominous.”

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Ramen Week at CoZara

CRISPY RAMEN MAKI

Thursday, June 26th is National Ramen Day and CoZara is celebrating all week. Every day this week, the University City izakaya is bringing you a new ramen  and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. a half-serving is $4.

And on Thursday, CoZara is debuting their new Crispy Ramen Maki, a dish that will be a play on two of the restaurants soups, the Shoyu and Paitan. The Shoyu Ramen Maki includes egg noodles, chicken thighs and scallions in a spring roll wrapper that is served with Shoyu soup.  The Paitan Ramen Maki includes tonkatsu noodles, pork belly and scallions wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and served with a Paitan soup.

The other dishes served will be Paitan ramen (Monday), Shoyu ramen (Tuesday), Cold ramen (Wednesday) and Mazemen (Friday).

But what’s for dessert, you ask? Well the restaurant will hold a Kujibiki, a Japanese-style lottery, on Thursday and the winner will receive a complimentary dessert.

Now go grab a fork and get ready to dive into Ramen Week.

coZara [Foobooz]

 

CoZara Is Now Open for Lunch

Photo by Kyle Born

Photo by Kyle Born

Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s recently opened coZara at 33rd and Chestnut Streets is now open for lunch. The 140-seat restaurant is offering Japanese izakaya dishes like:

  • Maki wraps – Burrito sized wraps of soy paper and rice filled with spicy shrimp and Eel, salmon teriyaki and a mushroom with soy butter
  • Ramen – Shoyu (chicken thigh, shoyu egg, bok choy) and Paitan (pork belly, shoyu egg, black garlic oil)
  • Plates - Complete meal with entree choice of miso glazed salmon, chicken yakitoriand more, all served with rice, house salad with ginger dressing, edamame, pickled vegetable and miso soup.
  • Rice Bowls - Una Don (barbecue eel), Hawaiian Poke Don (Dashi-soy braised chicken) and Katsu Don (Dashi-soy braised Panko crusted pork)

coZara Lunch Menu (PDF)

coZara [Foobooz]

coZara Officially Opens on Friday

Hamachi Kama cozaraThis Friday, Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka will officially open his University City izakaya, coZara. The Japanese pub is a bi-level space in the same Chestnut Square complex that includes Shake ShackJoe Coffee and Zavino. It’s a big space, with 140 seats including a 10-seat open kitchen bar, nine seat downstairs bar as well as “the geisha room,” an upstairs private room. A 30-seat outdoor terrace will open this summer.

One thing you won’t find in the space though, sushi. The extensive menu  at coZara, which means small plates, will include everything from gyoza to soba to ramen but no raw fish. There will also be Marugoto, a whole chicken yakitori that is served with coZara spicy sauce and Zama spicy mayo. Only a limited number will be available daily and the whole bird is $39, by far the priciest item on the menu.

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Early Details On CoZara

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So it looks like things are progressing with CoZara–the new operation being put together at 3200 Chestnut Street by Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka and his crew from Zama in Rittenhouse.

The name itself, CoZara, apparently means “small plates,” so it seems like the new operation will be a true izakaya–offering a bunch of snacks meant to go along with the booze being slung over the bar. Think of it like a very Japanese gastropub, only without the ubiquitous cheeseburgers and duck-fat fries.

The space will occupy two floors–bar on the bottom, dining room on top. And while it’s being called an “upscale dive bar,” that phrase is semantically null so I’m not going to ever mention it again. Suffice it to say that there’ll be both domestic and Japanese beers, lots of sake (including individual-serving one-cups), something called “Chu-hi can drinks” (no, I don’t know what they are either, but they’re apparently some kind of canned drink made from Sho-chu). And, from the kitchen, ramen, yakitori, dumplings and other stuff that pairs nicely with alcohol and the people who like to drink it.

The original opening had been proposed for some time in January. And as of right now, CoZara has no specific opening date.

CoZara [f8b8z]

CoZara Will Be an Izakaya

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The Daily Pennsylvanian has the latest on the upcoming CoZara project from Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka. The bi-level space at 3200 Chestnut will be an izakaya, focusing on Japanese pub food and drink. On the food side, expect to see dumplings, buckwheat noodles, ramen and yakitori. For drinks, CoZara will offer sake, sake cocktails plus local and Japanese beers.

The project has seen some delays and is now aiming to open in late January.

New Japanese restaurant will offer pub style atmosphere [Daily Pennsylvanian]
CoZara [Foobooz]

Back to School in University City

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The best part of going back to school is seeing your friends again and hearing about what they did this summer. And if you consider University City a friend, you’ll be excited to hear what happened over the summer to the neighborhood as new restaurants have opened and even more will swing open their doors this fall.

What, you didn’t know one University City campus is getting a Shake Shack put in right by the school cafeteria? And did you see that Irish bar take over space in the Left Bank? Did you hear about the anniversary discount happy hour at one of University City’s finest Mexican restaurants? No?

Catch up with look at what’s new, what’s opening soon and what events are coming up in the land of Penn and Drexel.

What’s new, what’s coming to University City » 

Zama Expanding to 3200 Chestnut Street

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Michael Klein is reporting that Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka will be opening a two-story Japanese restaurant focusing on yakitori, noodles and dumplings at Chestnut Square. Chestnut Square is intending to open this fall at 3200 Chestnut Street. The mixed-use complex on Drexel’s campus will also be the home of the city’s second Shake Shack.

Zama opening a second restaurant [The Insider]