At 5 N 2 Tokyo, sushi chefs design avant-garde fish dishes, assemble maki, and craft upscale Japanese cuisine. Classic appetizers, such as seaweed salad and tempura, whet appetites before diners dig into red-snapper sashimi, a crispy tuna roll, or an uni shot made with sriracha. 5 N 2 Tokyo’s chefs arrange each dish carefully, creating edible art unparalleled since the brief period when Renaissance court painters decided to etch their portraits onto french toast.
Chef Sam Ho has earned every word of praise his food has garnered. After working his way through the ranks of a fast-food sushi franchise, Ho decided to pursue a formal culinary education. He became an intern at the renowned Morimoto restaurant—the creation of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto—where he learned to fuse French-style cooking with Japanese cuisine, and advanced from line cook to sous chef in only a year. The combination of his lightning-quick knife skills, time-management abilities, and administrative experience allowed Chef Ho to finally realize his dream and open his own restaurant—Zento Contemporary Japanese Cuisine.
Ho's signature square sushi or peking-duck hand roll pairs well with selections from the sake bar, and his whimsically flavorful preparations have earned nominations for Best Sushi from CityVoter. The restaurant has also garnered a Zagat rating of 26/30 for its breadth of flavors, which diners can explore as they rest in a space rife with colorful history: the warm walnut accents and handmade leather banquettes are reminiscent of its time as a turn-of-the-century wholesale teahouse, and towering brick walls and love notes written on kites remain from the building’s origin as the house of Benjamin Franklin’s mistress. As eyes ascend toward the ceiling 40 feet overhead, they alight upon a custom-designed, three-tiered chandelier and a two-story feature wall boasting panels whose tooled leather recalls vintage wallpaper designs.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Raw: Sushi & Sake Lounge owner and Philadelphia restaurateur Tony Rim picked up his work ethic from his father, who has owned a deli for more than 30 years, remaining doggedly dedicated to overseeing operations himself. Rim follows suit at each of his own eateries, and Raw is no exception. Inside a mood-lit dining area, dark-hued benches and sleek, circular tables host guests who chat near a 15-foot glass bar. Outside, an expansive patio enclosed by brick walls offers plentiful tables for planting glasses of exotic sake, digging into house-designed sushi rolls, or arm-wrestling fresh lobster.
At Tokyo Hibachi & Sushi, every meal is a production. Surrounded by seated guests, the hibachi chefs put on a performance behind the tabletop grills and wow diners with dexterous knife skills and the controlled bursts of flame that bloom from the grills' surfaces. This isn't purely entertainment, though. It's a way for the chefs to engage with their patrons as they cook everything from chicken and vegetables to filet mignon and lobster within full view of the crowd.
In contrast, the sushi chefs opt for a bit less showmanship as they meticulously assemble rolls behind the sushi bar. They create an assortment of familiar sushi-house staples, but they also treat taste buds with specialty maki, including ingredients such as pepper-crusted tuna, fried asparagus, or homemade chili sauce.
Befitting their main-stage status, the hibachi stations dominate almost an entire room of the dining area. Japanese-style lanterns, artwork, and mementos mirror the menu's dedication to Pacific culture, and the bar's selection of sakes and imported water complements the restaurant's commitment to Japanese flavors.