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…
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.”
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:
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]
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.
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.
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.
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)
This 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 Shack, Joe 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.
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.