Sushi Suite. | Ernest Owens.
We got an exclusive first-look inside the extravagant sushi spot everyone’s been buzzing about
Sushi has been having a moment recently in Philly. From the grand rise of the James Beard award-nominated Royal Sushi & Izakaya in Queen Village to the surprise return of lead sushi chef Kevin Yanga at Pod in University City, it’s hard to deny the impact this beloved Japanese dish has been making on the city. Now with Sushi Suite, the luxurious new omakase located inside the back of Izakaya Fishtown (1832 Frankford Avenue), sushi maximalism in the region is undeniable.
“Being a lifelong New Yorker, we think Fishtown is comparable to the hip Williamsburg,” says Michael Sinesky, founder of SimpleVenue, the group that owns Sushi Suite. “While still growing, it’s definitely an area with some of the best foodie spots in all of Philly like Suraya, WM Mulherin’s Sons, Fette Sau, Middle Child Clubhouse, and the place to be for our first spot.”
Sushi Suite is one of three spots that SimpleVenue plans to open in Philly, with their more casual venture, Sushi by Bou, to open its doors at two locations in the coming months. For Sushi Suite, Sinsky is partnering with Glu Hospitality to expand the national brand (which has locations in New York, New Jersey, Chicago and more) in Philly for the first time.
“We have worked with Glu many years on one-off large scale events and festivals in the New York tri-state area so partnering them in their hometown was a no brainer for us,” Sinesky says. “We get each other and can skip any growing pains we would have with new partners. Glu has so many great concepts in Philly and real estate. With this, they too, of course, have lots of under-utilized space that we are pros at maximizing.”
Zuke Akami at Sushi Suite.
The “under-utilized space” at the back of Izakaya Fishtown used to be the popular omakase site of Kevin Yanga when the venue was previously named Omakase by Yanga before the chef’s departure in April. Now the concept has evolved into something more extravagant, decadent, and unapologetically ambitious. In an era where maximalism has taken new strides (the increase in omakases in Philly being one of them), Sushi Suite has arrived at a very promising time.
The venue’s intimate 8-seat sushi counter features some of the best sushi chefs in America. Head Philly Chef Mitsutaka Harada, who has previously worked at Morimoto and Zama, is one of them.
“I started out as a sushi chef at Morimoto in 2006,” says Harada, who grew up in Japan. “I learned about their presentation and the fusion between Japanese and Western dishes. I have a passion for creating new seasonal dishes using Japanese ingredients and like to see customers enjoying my dishes.”
Sushi Suite’s grand opening is this Thursday, with regular service on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 5 to 9:30 pm (Tuesday to Thursday) and at 5 to 11 pm (Friday and Saturday). Reservations are now open. Seating times vary based on days with three seatings offered Tuesday to Thursday (5, 6:30, 8 pm) and four seatings offered on Friday and Saturday (5, 6:30, 8, 9:30 pm). Only the 17-course omakase is served at $185 per person (cocktails are served separately). Please note that they can accommodate shellfish allergies and kosher-style dietary restrictions, but cannot provide options for vegans/vegetarians or those who may be pregnant.
Eater Philly got an exclusive inside look into Sushi Suite’s extensive omakase and cocktails. Here’s a short list of things to know about the incoming sushi hotspot the city is talking about:
Decor at Sushi Suite.
The ambiance is flashy, social, and showy. There’s a subtle Vegas nightlife aesthetic that’s cozy and enticing (large feathers hang from the ceilings, sequined framed mirrors on the walls, a dim demure background with splashes of rose gold lighting that make the golden chopsticks shimmer). The crowd was mostly young professionals in their 30s and early 40s who loved the fun and flirty cocktails.
The walls of Sushi Suite.
Golden chopsticks at Sushi Suite.
The 8-seat gathering is very communal, you’re encouraged to be social and mingle with others in this intimate space. You’re getting an up-close view as two sushi chefs prepare a very social media-friendly feast.
Sumomono salad at Sushi Suite.
The Food & Drink
The 17-course omakase is the showstopper here. For 90 minutes, these personable chefs take you on a culinary journey as various pieces of sushi are being served. Please note that each omakase experience is different every night given what the chef’s “catch of the day” might be. Translation: This is a chef’s sushi tasting where they have carte blanche on what you’re eating that evening. Diners should sit back, relax, and let the experts do their thing – and they sure do it.
Catch of the day at Sushi Suite.
A blow torch being used at Sushi Suite.
Smoked sawara at Sushi Suite.
Expect to see dishes come out with smoke, blow torches used at any given time, and an impromptu array of chopping, tossing, and searing that’s impressively done live.
The bar at Sushi Suite.
Cocktails at Sushi Suite.
The bar has a mood of its own, much more darker and seductive than the glamor of the main table. Their extensive line-up of cocktails are very spirit forward and bold. For those who want something light and fruity, try the “Boozy Yuzu” that’s made with haku vodka, lillet blanc, and yuzu lime soda or “Mienai” that includes tequila, clarified grapefruit juice, and club soda. For those looking for something stiffer and neater, resort to the “Nanhattan” that’s made with Japanese whisky, dry curacao, and orange bitters. They also have an impressive selection of sake that you can do either via flight, glass, or bottle.
The music is a pleasantly rambunctious mix of current hits, throwback R&B, alternative hip-hop, and contemporary adult vibes. For the high-energy of the dining dynamic, the music was a more calming reminder that all of this should be fun – and that’s exactly what Sushi Suite achieves in the end.
Here’s the playlist of some of the tracks that ran during the tasting:
Pink + White by Frank Ocean
C U Girl by Steve Lacy
Simple Things by Miguel
Fade Into You by Mazzy Star
Waterfalls by TLC
Special Affair by The Internet
VCR by Tyler, The Creator
lilac days by .clouds
Lies by Jaden Camstra
Tadow by Masego, FKJ