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]

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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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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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]

Zama Now Offers a Sbraga Roll

Sbraga Roll at Zama

Today, Global Philly 2013 kicked off with a special event at ZamaHiroyuki ‘Zama’ Tanaka and Kevin Sbraga were on hand to unleash the “Sbraga Roll.” The sushi roll is the latest collaboration from Tanaka who has conspired with many of Philadelphia’s best chefs and top celebrities to create a series of unusual rolls. Chef Sbraga suggested some of his favorite ingredients for the roll that will be served at Zama over the course of Global Philly 2013, from September 15 to November 1. The Sbraga Roll is a sushi roll with dill, jalapeno, avocado and crispy shallot topped with a Panko-crusted bite of dorado.

Global Philly is an international exposition, presented by the Global Philadelphia Association. Sbraga, who is leading the culinary part of the initiative, has rounded up some of his chef contemporaries to participate in the month-and-a-half long event to offer “Global Philadelphia” appetizer specials.

Starting at $12, the appetizers will be found at Sbraga’s eponymous modern American restaurant as well as at restaurants like Tashan, Bistro La Minette and Zinc , La Calaca Feliz, Zama and Han Dynasty.

  •  Sbraga will feature a steak tartar with French onion dip and a pea tendril salad.
  •  Tim Spinner (La Calaca Feliz) will spotlight the Al Pastor Pork Taco.
  • Bistro La Minette’s Peter Woolsey created a salmon tartare with lentils and a blood orange vinaigrette.
  • Han Chiang of Han Dynasty will offer a lamb dumpling with garlic sauce vinegar sauce.
  • And of course Zama will feature the Sbraga roll.

GlobalPhilly 2013 [Official Site]

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]