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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Ryo Igarashi Is Back


For a brief moment Philadelphia’s food scene was all about Ryo Igarashi, Maru and his takoyaki balls. But a fire, a scary injury and a divorce later, Igarashi had faded from most people’s memories. But he’s back and Drew Lazor has the details on his quest for a restaurant and his upcoming experimental restaurant pop-up, Ronin Kitchen.

Roaming culinary samurai finds a home [Philadelphia Daily News]
Ronin Kitchen [Official]

Rare Hitachino Plum Wheat on Tap This Weekend

hitachino-nest-logo-400For the first time ever, Hitachino Anbai Plum Wheat Ale will be available on tap in Philadelphia. Zama will be one of just a handful of restaurants in the United States that will have the beer.

Hitachino Anbai Plum Wheat Ale is made from a base of Hitachino Nest White Ale that is then mixed with Japanese plums. After soaking for six months, Mo-shio (natural sea salt) is added, creating a salty and sour brew.

The 20 liter keg is on tap this weekend at Zama and will likely only last through the weeekend.

Zama [Foobooz]

New Menu Items at Nom Nom Ramen

nom-nom-ramen-bowlCenter City’s Nom Nom Ramen has recently expanded and rearranged its menu. New sides include spicy edamame, blistering shishito peppers and crispy shrimp wrapped in noodles.

And also on the menu as a special, a wasabi seaweed salad with pickled daikon and ginger dressing.

At lunch today, we were quite pleased with the crispy shrimp which delivered a satisfying crunch and an aioli with kick. It was also the first time we ordered the Special Toroniku Ramen which adds bean sprouts, a soft boiled egg and slices of pork cheek to the ramen experience. It made for one filling and satisfying meal.

The new menu » 

CoZara Will Be an Izakaya


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]

Two Bells for CHeU Noodle Bar

The Cheu mascot?

Craig LaBan visits CHeU Noodle Bar, the decidedly untraditional Asian restaurant by Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh.

The barbecue pig tails may be my favorite new bar food of the year, the sublimely tender shreds of meat, spiced with togarashi and hickory smoked, slip right off their wing-nut-shaped bones in a finger-licking Korean barbecue glaze. Paired with kimchi-cured ramps, fermented far longer than the standard cabbage, a plate of these tails should automatically trigger a round from the former BYOB’s new list of craft canned beer. (The $3 Bud and Pabst are for Puchowitz and Darragh, respectively.)

Also a must is the gingery broccoli sauteed with house-made Vietnamese sausage crumbles, fish sauce, and lime. The paku ribs, cut from an oversize piranha relative, are roasted with crispy tamarind-glazed skin over charred corn salad, and were uncannily like tender white pork ribs.

Two Bells – Very Good

CHeU Noodle Bar: Intriguing, tasty ramen [Philadelphia Inquirer]
CHeU Noodle Bar [Official Site]

Japanese Craft Beer Returns to Zama


Philadelphia was mainly spared the wrath of Hurricane Sandy last year but New York City wasn’t so lucky. One casualty was an importer of Japanese craft beer. So missing for just about a year from Zama’s menu in Philadelphia has been Japanese craft beer.

Now the Rittenhouse Square Japanese restaurant is offering beer from several Japanese craft brewers including:

  • Ishikawa Brewery
  • Echigo Brewery
  • Koshihikari Brewery
  • Orion Breweries

Zama [Official Site]

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