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Dec 28, 2009 08:33 AM

Koo Zee Doo- Portuguese in Northern Liberties

Koo Zee Doo (phonetically spelled for Cozido, a traditional dish) is a charming BYOB Portuguese restaurant in theNorthern Liberties neighborhood in Philadelphia. Formerly Copper, the restaurant is now owned by the husband and wife team of David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves. The latter was born in Portugal, and visits her hometown with Gilberg, where he developed an interest in authentic Portuguese food.
The restaurant resides in a cozy former store-front, with an open kitchen front and center. The menu has a selection of about 5 apps, a couple soups including Caldo Verde, several entrees and about 4 desserts.
The food is generous, and served family-style. Mr. MV and I decided to give several dishes a try, since dining on authentic Portuguese cuisine is not an opportunity we get around home. We had a fridge at our hotel, so we ordered 2 apps, 2 entrees and dessert. The entrees could easily serve two, and the apps were generous.
Shrimp with piri piri brought 4 large, head-on-shrimp in a sauce that was mildly spicy.
Chicken gizzards were...a revelation. I'm not that adventurous when it comes to offal, but after reading online about the gizzards at Koo Dee Zoo, I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone to see if I've been missing something good.
I have.
Whereas I was expecting to masticate squeaky stomachs, the gizzards were meaty, deeply flavored and delicious in a rich sauce. I was really surprised! I'd describe the flavor as the richest, moist dark meat chicken thighs I'd ever tasted. They had the "essence" of chicken. We enjoyed them with slices of grilled bread.
Arroz de Pato is a traditional dish of Duck Rice. A smoky chicken breast sat atop rice containing dark duck meat and pork (sausage). The duck breast came cooked to medium, as ordered. I'm on the fence about duck usually. Mr. MV orders it and I enjoy having a taste, but never order it as an entree for myself. I have to say, this duck was amazing.
Feijoada de Marisco was served in a semi-cylindrical terra cotta ceramic vessal. The traditional dish had calamari, head-on shrimp, tiny clams, lobster, cod, and another fish which I can not recall right now. Of course there were delicious beans and rice, and a tasty broth. This dish was generous (again, family-style) and delicious.
Coconut tart with chocolate covered figs sat upon a chocolate sauce and was topped with a cinnamon creme anglaise.
Decaf coffee.
With tip, our dinner (including taking away half of our entrees) came to $101.
No. Libs is a short cab ride from Center City. If you drive, expect to find parking a bit challenging, since this is a residential neighborhood where most folks park thier cars on the street.
If you go, ask for a table by the front window. There, you'll be able to watch life go by outside, and overlook the cooking in the open kitchen. And when I say open, I mean, totally open.

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  1. Ate there last night and can only echo the raves I've been hearing about this place. Everything about it was lovely. Good service, nice atmosphere, terrific food. One of our party must eat a gluten free diet, and I had called ahead to make sure there were menu items that would work. When we arrived, they had marked a menu with items that were off limits, and items that could be modified. It turned out, though, that everything we ordered would have been fine anyway. They had also planned to make a special dessert, since none of the dessert items were GF. For four of us, we ordered the chopped vegetable salad (best salad I've had in ages), bacalao salad (very good, but probably my least favorite in a stellar meal), chicken gizzards (my first time and I'd have them again in a heartbeat), sweet potato turnovers (amazing, light and delicious), pork and clams (amazing!), and duck rice (amazing!). Each thing was better than the last. We also all had dessert and coffee. Total, with tax and tip was $150. Fantastic food, great atmosphere, great price, I can't wait to go back!

    1. Sounds fabulous, can't wait to try it!!!!

      3 Replies
      1. re: AmblerGirl

        Definitely try the gizzards, especially if you've never eaten them before. I'm going to source some and make them at home, hopefully soon.
        I NEVER thought I'd say that!

        1. re: monavano

          i love that place. i went there a month after it opened and it was already perfect. i completely agree about the gizzards, they were perfectly cooked. and to be honest, there are way weirder things to eat from an animal, i think gizzards get a bad rep because the word gizzard sounds so funky.

          i went there with three other people and we had the following (and since i am lazy, this is my yelp review of it. :D ):

          Bf and I split the caldo verde which was excellent, texture was very good and the chorico topper was delicious. We also had the grilled sardines (perfect) and the chicken gizzards (outstanding. spicier than i expected, but excellent). We didn't know what to expect with the cozido, but it was delicious. It was a mixed braise of meats, I remember a piece of pork shoulder and chicken thigh with some braised cabbage and root veg. Definitely a meal to share and we definitely had to take some home after everything else. Our friends ordered the salt cod salad (I would go back for that alone), the mushroom turnovers (delicious, but i could only manage one bite since my stomach + fried foods = uh-uh), the caldo verde as well anddd.....some dish with sauteed or grilled shrimp. I would recommend everything we tried. My boyfriend and I very rarely agree on favorite restaurants and we both loved everything here and we are both eager to return (him to try the steak with crispy potatoes, me to work my way through all of their baccala dishes)....

          and now that all of this has been said, i think i will have to go there again right now. i forgot how good the rest of their food looked.....mmmm. i sent friends there a week later and one freaked out over how good the duck rice was, need to try that asap too....

          1. re: mazza3

            Went there last night with another couple and it was fabulous! We were very tempted by the appetizers (or, 'Entradas') and ordered the goat's milk cheese, chicken gizzards, and shrimp with hot sauce. The goat cheese was very mild and great with the two bread selections served after arrival, shortly after we opened our first bottle of wine. We tried the chicken gizzards because I have been reading that they are the go-to dish - the sauce was rich and delicious and I was surprised how much I, and everyone else at our table, enjoyed! The shrimp were huge and meaty. We ordered the vegetable salad and then two 'Carne' - the pork and clams, and the Picanha steak with fried egg, potatoes, and broccoli rabe. The pork and clams was my favorite dish of the entire night! Plenty for everyone to share (they are served family style). We had the honey cake (rum soaked raisins!) and chocolate-hazelnut crepe for dessert which were a nice way to end the night. The ambience is very homey and service was very hospitable and knowledgeable (although they tried to clear our plates a few times too soon). They also have a bar you can eat at as well - hope to go again very soon! Great dinner in the blizzard.