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

MO-August-Cozara-Credit-Courtney-Apple940

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]

25 Years a Mom

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

We’re driving into the city, my husband Doug and I, the car filled with pickaxes and shovels and flats of marigolds and pots of tomatoes. It’s Mother’s Day, and we’re headed to our daughter’s house — well, to her apartment in West Philly. She and her husband Basil have a backyard, and she wants to put in a garden. Somehow, it seems like just the right task for Mother’s Day.

When she and her brother were little, I got to choose an excursion for Mother’s Day. We’d head for the Zoo, or Longwood Gardens; once we went to the Shore. It was windy and cold; we took photos of the kids bundled in blankets on the beach, and ate supper at a Jersey diner. I don’t remember how much fun it was at the time, but now when I look at the photos of that long-ago afternoon, it looks wonderful. Little kids, little problems — isn’t that what they say? Read more »

Morning Headlines: New Plan for Proposed Condo Complex on Clark Park

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue. Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

Rendering of 4224 Baltimore Avenue.
Photo credit: U3 Ventures.

A proposal for a mixed-use complex at 43rd and Baltimore on Clark Park presented during a recent Spruce Hill Community Association meeting was generally well-received, save for a few dissenting voices against its design. The project, which is set to include 132 units and 17,000 square feet of commercial space, is intended to attract young professionals.

The property’s owner, Clarkmore Group, has plans for a restaurant, owner-occupied condos going down 43rd, and taller apartment rentals further east on Baltimore, which would also house a 10,000-square-foot fitness center on the first floor. Underground parking (65 spaces) and indoor bike parking (50 spaces) would also be available.

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Is Architectural Consistency Overrated?

University City High School. Photo via Wikimedia.

University City High School. Photo via Wikimedia.

One of the big concerns many residents of neighborhoods undergoing major change have is preserving the character of their neighborhood. Usually, such discussions focus on the architecture of an area, especially an area where the homes are of a uniform style and have lasted long enough.

Many Philadelphia neighborhoods like Powelton Village are filled with distinctive 19th-century Victorian and neoclassical homes. Some residents of such neighborhoods want to make sure that 19th-century ambience survives intact.

Not everyone agrees with this view, however.

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Morning Headlines: Demolition of Queen Lane Apartments Coming Soon-ish

queen lane apartments

It’s been almost two years since the Philadelphia Housing Authority announced plans to demolish the long-vacant Queen Lane Apartments in West Philadelphia, and to replace it with a 55-unit development. What’s another few months?

As it is, the Department of Housing and Urban Development can finally give PHA the go-ahead.  The project had been put on pause following the discovery of a historic burial ground in the building’s backyard. The cemetery’s borders have since been asserted, and future construction will not disturb it.

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