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A lavish dining area with a bright back wall that’s rose gold colored.

Inside Sushi Suite, the New Posh 17-Course Omakase in Fishtown

An exclusive first-look inside the extravagant sushi spot everyone’s been buzzing about

Sushi Suite.
| Ernest Owens.

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Ernest Owens is the Editor of Eater Philly, and the food expert to go to when you’re out of options.

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 Yanaga 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 Sinensky, 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, Sinensky 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,” Sinensky 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.”

A piece of sushi being picked up by a hand.
Zuke Akami at Sushi Suite.

The “under-utilized space” at the back of Izakaya Fishtown used to be the popular omakase site of Kevin Yanaga when the venue was previously named Omakase by Yanaga 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.

Here’s a short list of things to know about the incoming sushi hotspot the city is talking about:

A ceiling with large feathers and dim lights hanging.
Decor at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.

The Setting

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.

A decorated wall with mirrors and sequins.
The walls of Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.
A pair of golden chopsticks on the table on top of a black labeled napkin.
Golden chopsticks at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.

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.

Two chopsticks picking up a Japanese salad with seafood.
Sumomono salad at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.

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.

A selection of fresh seafood and fish in a wood basket being held by a person in a black shirt.
Catch of the day at Sushi Suite.
A chef is blow-torching a piece of sushi.
A blow torch being used at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.
A piece of sushi inside a smoke conception.
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.

A full service bar with multiple bottles of various liquor.
The bar at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.
A server holding a black tray with two decorated cocktails.
Cocktails at Sushi Suite.
Ernest Owens.

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 Soundtrack

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

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