Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka hopes Philadelphians will embrace the notion that there’s more to Japanese cuisine than sushi — because there’s none at his new "izakaya," a modern bi-level gastropub with an alfresco perch over Drexel University’s new Chestnut Square. Instead, the small-plate menu appeals to traditionalists and adventure diners with authentic bites (yellowtail collar; whole squid) and whimsies (whole chicken yakitori) that make for a fun sharing meal. There are missteps, but a good sake collection, earnest service, and reasonable prices give CoZara at least a shot for life in a sashimi-free zone.
A well-rounded but modest drink program with a focus on Japanese Hitachino Nest beers (excellent), sake and shochu cocktails (just OK), and an especially intriguing collection of sakes served in pre-portioned 6-ounce glass “cups,” including worthwhile selections such as Mutsu Otokoyama, Kitaro Jungin, and a triple vertical of the unpasteurized sakes from Kikusui in a can.
A reasonable 82 decibels, but it was rarely busy. (Ideal is 75 decibels or less.)
Lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, until 11 p.m. Sunday, until 9 p.m. Happy hour Monday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.