Rai Rai Ramen is now open on at 915 Race Street in Chinatown. The “House of Noodle” offers seven varieties of Japanese ramen plus another 21 specialty ramen that run from seafood to pork intestines. The location is open Sunday to Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The menu also lists the North Brunswick location that was closed do to fire and a location in Kailua, Hawaii.
Rai Rai Ramen was located in North Brunswick, New Jersey until it was damaged in a December fire. The ramen restaurant is now relocating to the 900 block of Race Street in Chinatown. In their North Brunswick location, Rai Rai had a four-star Yelp rating and 261 reviews.
Most reviews were impressed by the number of ramen varieties, 25 by our count and in particular, by the spicy seafood ramen.
Rai Rai Ramen [Foobooz]
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.
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:
The menu is the same as the 18th Street location and will compete with coZara and Ramen Bar for University City ramen dominance.
Nom Nom Ramen [Official]
Adam Erace plucks a nugget from an interview with Michael Schulson regarding his Independence Beer Garden. Schulson, who also owns Sampan and Atlantic City’s Izakaya is planning to open another Midtown Village restaurant. No name has been revealed but it will be a sushi and robata (grilled meats on sticks) concept and will have current Izakaya chef, Kevin Yanaga in the kitchen.
Schulson planning second Midtown Village restaurant [Meal Ticket]
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.