There’s no lack of charm in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Once home to a port centre for the fishing industry, the industrial neighbourhood has since become a mecca for creative and culinary institutions such as La Colombe coffee flagship and the memorable Wm Mulherin’s Sons restaurant and hotel.
The latter is responsible for the neighbourhood’s newest entrant – a sophisticated Japanese restaurant, helmed by chef Hiroki Fujiyama, who spent over ten years under the wing of Masahuru Morimoto.
For his own enterprise, Hiroki has placed authenticity at the core of the dining experience. The restaurant’s austere design is in fact, inspired by a period of living in the Gion district of Kyoto. Designed by Method Co. and Stokes Architecture, the intimate, 26-seat space mixes regional timber with Southeast Asian teak flooring and raw board-formed concrete. A lattice screen stemming out from the building’s façade serves as the restaurant’s understated entrance, and has been locally made using ancient Japanese technique of preserving wood, Yakisugi. Other examples of Japanese craftsmanship also abound, from the woven ceiling above the entrance vestibule to the custom-designed Japanese furnishings that are all hallmarks of a traditional Machiya (wooden townhouse). Rather than be a paean to the past, Hiroki also exhibits contemporary features such as the Quatersawn white oak sushi bar, weather clay plaster walls and bronze accents.
Its menu is just as much an equal blend of past and present – the 20-course opening omakase menu is harmoniously composed of locally sourced dishes, grilled fish and meat, a 12-piece nigari sushi tasting as well as other delights. §