Okay, so this is going to take a little bit of explaining.
You know how when you’re goofing around with something like Pandora and you put in, say, the Dropkick Murphys and the magical elves that live inside your iPhone build you an entire playlist of songs featuring bagpipes and lyrics about punching people in the face? FlavorPrint is like that. Kinda.
Or you know how when you’re filling out you 34th online dating profile and you explain to the computer how you’re looking for a good Christian girl, 18-34, who’s into sunsets, romantic comedies and hardcore BDSM? Yeah, FlavorPrint is like that, too.
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Fat Pig Ramen at coZara, $8 at dinner.
When Hiroyuki Tanaka opened coZara in University City a year ago, more than a few people raised an eyebrow at the omission of sushi bar. After all, Tanaka’s Rittenhouse Square restaurant, Zama is one of Philadelphia’s go-to spots for sushi.
But now that coZara has reopened after a short closure to tweak the space, the lack of a sushi bar has been addressed. Installed right in front of the new entrance is an eight-seat sushi bar. Upstairs sees changes as well, with geisha images on the stairwell, and several changes to make the space feel more intimate. Bamboo stalks and rice paper obscure the view to outside, while dark curtains hide the outdoor deck.
New food items as well »
A battle between two masters of Japanese flavors, our 29th Open Stove was an epic that, despite physical challenges designed to irritate and confound the competitors, left spectators impressed. William Lindsay, sous chef at Morimoto (assisted by fellow sous Doug Allen), went head to head with Phila Lorn, sous chef at CoZara (assisted by Angelo LaBate, also of CoZara). Each team led off aggressively, plating heavy-duty amuses that left nobody wondering whether or not they were were playing to win…
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Drunken Zama sake
Looks like Japan celebrates made up food and drink holidays too. Tomorrow, October 1st is National Sake Day in Japan, so if you needed any more of an excuse to indulge in sushi or sake, here’s the go-ahead.
CoZara is hosting a four-course, $35 dinner from 5 p.m. until close in honor of the Japanese holiday. The University City izakaya will welcome Nanbu Bijin Sake to pair with the dishes. Nanbu Bijin is the company that produces Zama private label sake, “Drunken Zama.”
Check out the special menu »
CoZara, located at 33rd and Chestnut Streets on Drexel University’s campus has added a sushi, maki and sashimi menu available for lunch and dinner. The additions are a concession to the izakayas original concept. When CoZara opened, the restaurant focused on small plates, kushi, rice and noodle dishes. Chef/owner Zama Tanaka admitted, “once people hear that we serve Japanese food, they have been coming to us looking for sushi.”
Check out the full new menu below. But first, here’s a pretty picture of said sushi:
Drexel Dragon Roll and the UPenn Roll.
Sushi menu »
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]
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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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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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.
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)