Philacatessen | Sushi Lands on Jewelers’ Row


Koto Sushi, a new BYO, has landed on Jewelers’ Row at 719 Sansom St., and the sparkling-clean, spanking-new restaurant offers top-notch Japanese food at moderate prices.

The husband-and-wife owners are friendly and professional, and the food is terrific. We dined there on a Saturday night and, while the dining room was not crowded, we saw a steady stream of take-out business.

We started our feast with the avocado salad; the perfectly ripe fruit sat atop a bed of crispy lettuce and was served with ginger dressing on the side.

Next, we enjoyed the tuna pizza — this crisp wafer was slathered generously with thinly sliced tuna, tomatoes, avocado, tempura flakes, jalapeno and spicy mayonnaise.

The Too Hot to Handle yellowtail sashimi was just hot enough. Perfectly fresh slices of snapper lay in a soy dressing, topped with a slice of jalapeno.

The owner, JJ, recognized my husband from a previous visit and recalled that he loved the whitefish salad, so he comped an order to allow me to try it. Delicious and very generous!

The rolls are fancifully named and artfully plated — the Sweetheart Roll, a winning combination of spicy tuna, avocado and spicy mayo — is presented in the shape of a heart. We also dove into the American Dream Sushi, a main course offering four pieces each of salmon, tuna, and yellowtail sushi. Each piece was better than the next, with the fish perfectly fresh and generously portioned.

In addition to our Sweetheart Roll, other tempting combinations include the Spicy Girl Roll (spicy tuna, yellow tail and salmon with crunch inside topped with red, green, black and orange roe) and the Godzilla Roll, with spicy tuna and avocado tempura. Rolls range from $3.50 for vegetarian cucumber rolls to $15 for the specialty rolls. Sushi and sashimi main courses are around $25, and other entrees fall in the mid to high teens. Overall, excellent value for excellent quality.

In addition to sushi, the menu offers an ambitious array of Japanese dishes: udon noodles, hibachi, katsu, yakitori, tempura and a solid selection of vegetarian options. The lunch specials are budget friendly, with sushi combos ranging from $7.95 to $10.95, bento boxes ranging from $9 to $17, and hibachi lunches priced from $8 to 12. The restaurant also offers “Poke your way,” allowing customers to design their own poke bowls.

While not kosher, there are plenty of menu options that do not violate kashruth, and the hosts are extremely hospitable and accommodating, so would likely be willing to work with diners’ dietary restrictions.

If you go:

Koto Sushi

719 Sansom St. Philadelphia


Open seven days a week: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.

All major credit cards accepted.


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