Named Philadelphia's Best Sushi 2010 by CityVoters, Misora Express simultaneously quells desires for delicate flavors and elegant eye candy. Chaperone taste buds on a tour across the expansive menu of Japanese cuisine while exploring the elusive umami receptors. Break in your appetite with an starter of shumai, steamed shrimp dumplings ($3.95), or dive straight into a deep bento box of broiled salmon teriyaki, served with a flavorful miso soup, salad, and rice ($7.95). Novitiate sushi enthusiasts can prep their palates with a beginner sushi entree, featuring one smoked-salmon roll, one california roll, two pieces of shrimp sushi, and two pieces of tamago ($10.95), while those with a black belt in chopstick command can roundhouse kick through Misora Express' specialty-roll selection ($4.50–$10.50), face the scar-faced evil master, and make it safely home.
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.
With roots firmly planted in the tradition of the izakaya—Japanese pubs designed for unwinding and socializing with friends over a modest sake and street-food selection—Yakitori Boy focuses its culinary philosophy on interaction above all else. In this spirit, the menu brims with modestly priced tapas-style dishes meant for sharing—sushi comes in miniature four-piece rolls, tempura plates bear only a half-dozen or so of the crispy morsels, and diners order the eatery's signature creation, yakitori, by the single skewer. Of course, guests can still splurge on a full entrée, as head sushi chef Tasaka Yasuhiko calls on his 40 years of experience to craft full 12-piece helpings of specialty caviar- and tempura-topped maki, while chefs in the bustling kitchen whip up traditional don, or creative meat preparations served over a bowl of rice. A floor above the dining room's geometric lines and romantic lighting, a karaoke lounge urges diners to keep the celebration rolling with a public stage and eight private rooms ideal for parties of up to 20 or solo performances of "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" on repeat.
Blue lighting spills out from beneath the sleek black counter where Machi Sushi Bar's chefs deftly wrap maki rolls. They fill each lobster roll with an entire lobster tail as well as crabmeat, avocado, cucumber, and a sprinkling of roe. Other specialties burst with ingredients such as tempura shrimp and spicy scallop. In addition to sushi, the eatery prepares Japanese appetizers such as gyoza dumplings, available steamed, fried, or roasted over a bonfire of surplus chopsticks. After meals, diners can enjoy desserts such as mochi flavored with red bean or green tea.
Contemporary design meets tradition at Fuji Mountain Japanese Restaurant, where four floors of dining space transition between laid-back lounge areas and softly lit tables set against beautifully scripted Japanese scrolls. Under the soft glow of the main dining room’s lanterns, elegantly plated katsu cutlets bear grill marks that are conspicuously absent from neighboring sashimi and delicately rolled sushi. Traveling upwards through the eatery, the aroma of bubbling udon bowls collides with pulsing sound waves, as guests belt out top 40 hits or their home state’s anthem in a private karaoke room that seats up to 30.