Dining in Philadelphia- Part 2

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | September 7th, 2022 | Restaurant Reviews

Although it will be a multi-month stay in Philly, it seems that it could be difficult to visit every restaurant that catches my eye. Focusing on healthy eating during the week leaves weekends for trying new restaurants. However, we have not had a disappointing meal yet, which sometimes inclines me to want to do a repeat visit to a restaurant. Decisions, decisions.

New place vs. already visited place

This is not a complaint but a reality of our weekend thinking. We have found numerous places where we enjoy the bar staff (as we almost always sit at the bar), appreciate the wine and beverage list, and adore the food. Over the past three weekends we have tried new places and returned to already visited ones, albeit ordering different dishes.

Two weekends ago, we made our first trip to Zama, a sushi restaurant, which conveniently is only a block and a half from our apartment. Although we have not made a second visit, it definitely had good sushi and should earn another visit during our stay.

Sitting at the bar

Like I mentioned, we prefer to sit at the bar when it is just the two of us dining. Of course, if we are at a sushi restaurant, then it is the sushi bar for our seats! Between getting a firsthand view of the sushi chefs and lots of attention from the waitstaff, we had prime accommodations.

We started our meal with lychee fizz for me and a carafe of Drunken Zama sake for my husband. We paired these drinks with tofu lettuce wraps and Zama fried chicken. I love lettuce wraps because you get to customize each one that you eat. Yes, you do end up with sauce-covered fingers, but it’s worth it. The fried chicken was quite tasty as well.

Sushi time

I am not a shrinking flower, but I typically let my husband order the sushi. Sushi is one of his favorite foods, and he knows what I like. However, letting him order generally means more than we actually need. With that in mind, I should have gone lighter on appetizers, but there we were.

A run-down of our sushi

  • Big eye tuna usuzukuri- This was highly recommended by the staff, but it was our least favorite dish. There was nothing wrong with it, except lacking the wow factor the combination of tuna, truffle ponzu, and soy marinated wasabi leaves sounded like it would have.
  • Yellowtail jalapeno mango- Filled exactly as it is titled, this was a lovely combination of delicious fish, spicy jalapeno, and sweet mango. Plus, it had nice textural differences, making for a great bite.
  • Spicy super crunchy tuna- I am at a loss as to what made the super crunchy coating, but it definitely was as described. The crunch added an extra layer of fun to the spicy tuna.
  • Kamasu- Also known as barracuda, this was the fish special of the night. We ordered it as nigiri and enjoyed this fish.
  • Barbecue eel- We also ordered this as nigiri, and it did not disappoint.
  • Philly style- The most unique dish of the night was this “sushi”. Much like it sounds, it is a spin on a cheesesteak. Washugyu, provolone, spicy mayo, and bibb lettuce are wrapped in red pepper flaked soy paper, and it’s served with horseradish aioli. It is presented wrapped in newspaper. It’s, unshockingly, a hearty roll, but it’s also clever and tasty

One more round

With all of the food ordered, we definitely needed a second round of beverages. My husband chose a simple carafe of hot sake, while I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Both were fine companions for our meal.

The service was attentive without being overbearing. We were alerted to the fact that food comes out as it is ready, which is typical of a good sushi restaurant. Conveniently, ours were well paced, with food not arriving too soon nor us waiting too long. Zama definitely was a great dining experience.

To read about our previous Philly dining experience, please click here.

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