Shiroi Hana’s narrow downstairs with two and four-top tables and a small sushi bar was filled when we arrived, but we snagged a table after a brief fifteen minute wait. Three years of Japanese classes began to kick in. Hana means flower. Shiroi? Shiroi? White! Yes, White Flower!
Given the choice of miso soup or salad at a Japanese restaurant, I always choose salad. It’s not the lettuce I’m after, but the carrot-ginger dressing. Shiroi Hana’s dressing was grainy and muddy in flavor. I’d choose miso soup at Shiroi Hana, instead.
We all ordered sushi – how could you not order sushi at a Japanese restaurant? The others ordered sushi with fish. I, of course, ordered the vegetarian sushi sampler, which is always a crap shoot when trying out a new Japanese restaurant. More often than not, the assortment is cucumber, carrot, daikon, or asparagus maki. And the “fancy” roll is asparagus tempura maki.
I was visually impressed with the variety of Shiroi Hana’s vegetarian sampler. Yeah, they were, for the most part, the usual suspects – cucumber, avocado, daikon, and asparagus – but at least they were presented differently than the skimpy hosomaki you’re familiar with from grab-and-go plastic containers of sushi, and even some restaurants.
For dessert, I chose the green tea mochi. I don’t know why. I’m not fond of the vaguely sweet rice cakes filled with bean paste. I do like green tea, though, and these mochi hinted of green tea. The only explanation I have for ordering this dessert is that I like to test myself every once in a while, and revisit food’s I’m not fond of. I still am not fond of mochi, but that doesn’t mean Shiroi Hana’s mochi were bad. I ate them.
All in all, a generally pleasant meal of sushi, except…I felt rushed to finish our meal when, at on the nose, the sushi bar noisily cleaned up their station – and turned out the light! Not all the lights, just the lights over the sushi bar, but this was enough to get the message that they were closing.
The message was a little unfriendly, so we wrapped it up quickly and got out of there. Sayonara, Shiroi Hana.
Shiroi Hana, 222 S. 15th St., Philadelphia, PA, 19102
Lunch: Mon.-Fri., 12-2:15 p.m. Dinner: Mon.-Thurs, 5:30-10 p.m.; Fri., 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Sat., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sun., 5-9 p.m.