Sea urchin, often referred to by its Japanese moniker uni, has become more and more popular with chefs this year. If you’ve never tried the delicacy before, don’t worry as its salty flavor and creamy texture offers a taste of the sea that should be sampled at least once. Here, five restaurants to try the tasty trend at.
Presented beautifully in a sleek, white bowl with a lion's head detail, this raw sea urchin is served with a mixture of warm scrambled eggs. The sweet taste and creamy texture of the dish are all thanks to a healthy dollop of yogurt that has been whipped into the soft eggs, while the briny tang comes from the shrimp butter that helped scramble them and the sliced sea urchin on top. 2031 Walnut St., 267.639.6644, vernickphilly.com/vfd
At this Center City hot spot, chef Michael Schulson’s intimate, basement level Japanese restaurant offers a traditional taste of uni in their dishes. Guests can expect a sashimi plate of uni paired with a side of fresh wasabi for a little extra kick. 120 S. 13th St., 215.631.3868, doubleknotphilly.com
This Old City restaurant is a treasured spot to find a mouth-watering and inventive Italian rendition of a hearty dish of sea urchin linguine that has been sprinkled with crab meat on top. The secret to the dish is the inclusion of black squid ink pasta that not only gives it a gorgeous black color but a rich, briny and salty flavor. 212 Walnut St., 215.238.0499, positanocoast.net
Indulge at Chef Hiroyuki “Zama” Tanaka’s Rittenhouse Square eatery for truffle eel daikon—a delicious fusion of sushi. Made with eel, the fish is wrapped in a thin sheet of daikon. Perched atop are thinly-sliced cucumber noodles that have been tossed in a sweet uni sauce. The daikon-bundled rolls are then dressed up with a drizzle of truffle eel, and a smear of uni sauce that has been brûléed on the plate. 128 S. 19th St., 215.568.1027, zamaphilly.com
Settle in for the night at this modern BYOB spot in Fairmont, and begin the evening with an appetizer of oyster shooters that’s combined with sea urchins and set in a citrus-soy sauce. On top, there's marinated salmon and quail egg bomber. Guests drop the bomber into the shot glass of oysters and sea urchin and then shoot it back for an exquisite umami flavor experience. For the entrée, patrons can also order uni a la carte. 553 N. 22nd St., 215.988.0707, umai-umai.com
Photography by: Vernick Food & Drink photo by Jason Varney; Double Knot photo by Neal Santos; PositanoCoast photo by Caviar; Zama photo by Jason Varney