Not sure exactly when Sushi Planet opened on 3rd St. just off South St., but it's been well over two years, maybe even close to three years. I gave this tiny sushi restaurant about six months before they closed, namely because of the cheesy name and the fickle South St. area.
Sushi Planet has proved me wrong each night I walk past and peer through the front windows to see the dining room full. Who eats here, I wondered? Never have I heard anyone mention Sushi Planet. Then a friend of the boy's mentioned that Sushi Planet was their favorite sushi place. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, so we decided to check out this tiny BYOB sushi restaurant.
With maybe 30 or so seats in the narrow, casual restaurant we were lucky to grab a two top on an early weekend evening without a reservation, as Sushi Planet were turning people away as prime dining time rolled around. Sushi Planet also was doing a brisk takeout business, no doubt encouraged by their website set up for online ordering.Complimentary housemade cucumber pickles brined in seasoned rice vinegar were crisp and refreshing, and certainly a nice touch. Sort of sorry I let our server whisk them away at the end of our meal, instead of asking to take them home.
All of the food we saw come out of the kitchen and from the sushi bar was beautifully plated, as was my fried tofu salad, which could have fed two easily. Mixed greens are topped with fried tofu strips, orange slices, thin strips of pears, and candied walnuts, then dressed with a citrus vinaigrette studded with little black hijiki seaweed. Other than being slightly overdressed for my tastes, this salad was awesome. Tried and true, and maybe cliche — at least the citrus, pear and candied walnuts — these salad toppings are just great together.The Japanese eggplant presented atop a sweet miso sauce is one of the best eggplant dishes I've ever had. I'm not sure how they did it, but these thick-cut eggplant coins were so soft, they simply melted in your mouth. Eggplant marshmallows!
The fish eater across from me was genuinely jealous of my veggie sushi sampler when our server, describing the dish as "the fun platter," dropped off the 8-piece sushi with cucumber avocado roll plate. Yes! Variety is how you impress a vegetarian sushi lover.
Starting from the left: avocado and cucumber maki-sushi; skinless, roasted yellow pepper nigiri -sushi; radish sprout nigiri-sushi; inari-sushi ; pickled daikon nigiri-sushi; seaweed salad chirashi-sushi; cubed tofu chirashi-sushi; pickled burdock nigiri-sushi, and carrot nigiri-sushi.
Each bite of sushi was flavorful and different from the next — from the sweet tofu skin inari, the peppery radish sprouts, to the soft and mellow yellow pepper. I was particularly fond of the cubed tofu chirashi-sushi which was topped with thinly sliced scallion and a little dab of flavor-packed, savory sauce (miso? soy? garlic? black pepper?).
I can't speak to the fish sushi, but the boy was also very pleased with his sushi, which he claimed to be fresh and generously portioned.
Who knew!!! And why didn't you tell me! Sushi Planet, you are officially our newfound neighborhood sushi bar. Sorry I doubted you.
624 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19147
delivery available 5-10pm