One of the toughest seats to score in Fishtown/Northern Liberties is not Suraya or Wm. Mulherin’s Sons.
It’s the 16 seats in the claustrophobe’s nightmare called Da-Wa, Joe Kim’s sushi-ramen hole-in-the-wall on Front Street under the Market-Frankford El’s Girard station. It replaced a Venezuelan arepa shop around New Year’s.
Fancy, it is not. The room blows cold with the wind whipping in. If you’re more than two people, you’ll have to sit side by side on an uncomfortable stool at the too-high sushi bar.
The Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack, blaring at volume level 8, will rock you rock you. The service, while well-meaning, can fall apart at peak periods.
But Kim and brothers Jimmy and Steve dish simple displays of high-quality fish, some hard to find.
Despite the rustic digs, it’s not cheap, though the $59 omakase served by appointment happens to be a value.
Besides sashimi, try the ramen, especially the unami-filled vegan, as well as the meaty pork-belly bao buns, the poke bowl, the Korean dumplings, and the blueberry cheesecake for dessert. (Blueberry cheesecake? "We make what we like to eat," Jimmy Kim told me, grinning.)
Know that these cramped conditions are temporary. The Kims are expanding next door on the Girard Avenue side with triple the space.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Tip: Reserve your seats via 215-278-7671.