Friday, February 25, 2011

Koo-Zee-Doo

Wade's Take:
We either eat out a lot, or Philadelphia doesn't have a lot of restaurant realty. This month found us at yet another location we've been to before that's now under a different moniker. Koo-Zee-Doo, formerly Copper Bistro, is a Portugese BYO in Northern Liberties. 
Koo-Zee-Doo maintains the comfortable atmosphere of Copper Bistro. Exposed brick walls, an intimate, warm table layout and a rustic bar that doubles as the kitchen make Koo-Zee-Doo welcoming. This atmosphere serves as an automatic encouragement to eat a little bit more slowly, let conversation saunter and have another glass of wine. Even Sophie picked up on this as she leaned back relaxingly in her high-chair to eavesdrop on our neighboring tables.
The similarities to Copper Bistro end there. Koo-Zee-Doo is a straight-up Portugese style dining experience. The menu is marked with large, shareable portions, exotic land and sea combinations and dishes you won't find often out in Philly's gastronome culture.
We had several rounds of food and I'll highlight my favorites. The rest of the items I leave to my co-bloggers.
A pile of clams came to the table as one of our appetizers. It was Amêijoas à Bulhão de Pato... white wine steamed clams. Amidst the rocky outcroppings of clam shells were triangular croutons, baked until dense. A drop of these croutons in the light, herbed broth turned them into fragrant, soft morsels. The clams swimming in the broth fared just as well. Jess, always wise and precognitive, saved her table bread to dip in the broth. We were jealous of her calculated brilliance.

The Bacalhau do Dia that day was a salt cod with roasted potatoes and onions. Our server's description of the salt cod's sodium intensity was spot on. It was strong. The roasted potatoes were excellent. Whole fingerling potatoes were roasted until crisp-skinned and then ever so slightly pressed to crack open. This allowed the potato to absorb some of the plate's citrus olive oil base. I loved it. The aromatic liquid was just right to help the dish's potatoes, broccoli (albeit small pieces) and salt cod balance a bit more. The final act on the seesaw was the sweet pickled onion slivers. The sweetness nearly made you forget about the bitter saltiness of the fish.

Koo-Zee-Doo is a good place to take other food adventurers when you are looking for something beyond typical BYO or fusion fare.
3 out of 4 koo-zee-doozies.

Jess' TakeI loved this little spot! An (amazingly small) open kitchen, great smell and warm atmosphere make it just lovely to walk into.
In addition to the clams, for an appetizer we also picked the sweet potato fritters. The arrived in a big fried mass and my mouth started to water. They were fritters all right. Cheese was a big part of the filling and I think, though I can't be sure, that there was some sweet potato in there too. If it were not for the name of the dish I might not have picked up on it though.
Our second entree was Fricassé de Polvo, or octapus gravy. It was the Friday special and I highly recommend if you plan on going to Koo Zee Doo, do it on a Friday for this dish. If you're a regular reader of this blog (all 2 of you), you know my love of octapus and this dish lived up to all expectations. It was served in a rich, buttery, artery clogging sauce that you couldn't help but smile when you ate. There was a pile of mashpotatoes to accompany the dish, but I don't think they were necessary. The dish was decadent enough.
 
We ended with an organge chocolate cake that was served with granola and liquor soaked cherries. The description was amazing, the dish was only so so. The orange flavor was strong and overpowered all else. I don't think it was even finished (which tells you something).

 
If I'm back at Koo Zee Doo, it'll be on a Friday for the octapus. Certainly worth the trip to Northern Liberties. 2.5 tenticles out of 4.

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