University City is home to one of our favorite Starr Restaurants. Pod is the scene for contemporary high-end Pan Asian cuisine. Not only is the presentation of the array of dishes equivalent to modern art, the ever-changing colored space is like that of a blast into a cutting edge and stylish dining future.
Pod first opened in 2000, when the University of Pennsylvania took an interest in what Starr Restaurants had up their sleeve, and wanted to offer a new dining experience to students and faculty. And boy, did Starr deliver. From the three exclusive color changing pods for small gatherings and events, to the sushi conveyer belt, Pod is a hip destination for foodies beyond the university realm.
The inspiration for this restaurant was highly influenced by films such as “Sleeper” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”as well as the famed Manhattan designer David Rockwell. The space was meant to present itself as a “star ship”, with its sleek, white design in each pod and built in booths, and with pops of changing neon color through out the space. The mood is set by the diner, as they have control of the changing lights within their own private pod with just the press of a button.
We stopped by for dinner at Pod, and let us tell you- it is truly out of this world.
Starting with the cocktails, Pod offers a variety of signature cocktails, flights of sake, imported Japanese bottled beers, wines by the bottle and glass. The list is endless. Some of our favorite cocktails were the Melonballer, which is the most refreshing blend of Tanqueray, honeydew, Calico, and Absinthe, Lemon Lotus, Miso Soup, and Yokaichi Box. Other popular libations include the Akita Senorita, Wagyu Old Fashioned, and Polynesian Pearl. For your tasting pleasure, happy hour is Monday-Friday 5-7pm. You can try some of these cocktails as well as wine and beer at discounted price as well as a separate food items, including the Tuna Poke and Dynamite Hand Roll.
Pod’s dynamic menu makes the indecisive persons jaw drop. With that said, let’s begin with their sushi selection. We had the Spider Roll, Pod Lobster, Unagi Roll, and the ever so rockin’ Rockin Spicy Tuna. The rolls were fresh and incorporated some dynamic flavors that you may not find anywhere else in the city. If you have an interest in making your own after diving into some of these delicious rolls, Pod offers Sushi Classes at $50 per person. This class includes Miso soup, a side salad, a glass of wine, a California Roll, a Tuna Hand Roll, Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice, Dessert, and a Take-Home Sushi Kit. This class is conducted and personalized by the head sushi chef.
For dinner, some of the most popular dishes are the Macadamia Chicken Stir Fry, Crab Fried Rice, and Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice. We decided to sink our taste buds into the Lobster and Peking Duck Fried Rice (new to the menu), Shrimp Pad Thai, and New York Strip (a new edition to the menu replacing the Wasabi Crusted Filet Mignon).
We even had our own personal table side show with the Wagyu Beef cooked on a hot Japanese river rock. Your server will quickly sear this tender piece of meat before your eyes, its definitely a sight to see. Pod’s menu is divided into small plates ideal for sharing within your party and it in larger groups, and its all incredibly delicious.
With that said, yes indeed, we somehow had room for dessert. Room for 3 out of the 4 desserts on their current menu… You would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not try atleast one… or two of these delightful endings. We had the Fluffernutter Spring Rolls, Raspberry Doughnuts, and the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake. We definitely want to head on back to try the fourth dessert, which is the popular Mochi Ice Cream.
Pod has four private dining spaces that can accommodate parties of multiple sizes from anywhere up to 65 guests. And they conveniently offer lunch for those students and professors that may need a quick bite of the Berkshire Pork Belly, as well as 3rd party delivery services such as Grub Hub and UberEats. Reservations can easily be made via OpenTable, so what are you waiting for? Go experience another world at Pod.