It's all about the bling. Much like the other Stephen Starr restaurants, Pod creates a concept and delivers a theme. A theme that weds my love of Disneyworld with my love of feeling hip. Resembling the inside of a spaceship, Pod offers many interest decorational quirks. The "pods," for example, large round booths (all done, like the rest of the restaurant and its seating, in white sculpted plastic) can be set to different colors of light by the diners. Not surprising from the design firm that brought you Nobu and the W Hotel in New York.
Just as I settled in and was deciding whether the plastic dining chairs were, in fact, comfortable (I'm going with "yes"), Mark Wahlberg walks in. Marky Mark. With an entourage (pardon the pun) of behind-the-camera-looking folks. I know this not because I watched him walk in, but because rather suddenly, TPB lit up, smiling widely but conservatively, and giving a warm nod to people passing directly behind me. Soon after TPB whispered Wahlberg's name to me, followed by a reverent rejoinder, I'm not kidding. So began the refrain of stealing glances, commenting on his real-life versus screen appearance, and speculating on his guests.
Which is all just accoutrement to the scene that is Pod. Wahlberg fit in, as did cocktails named after the colors of the rainbow ("Blue," "Orange," etc.), and Tron, which was playing on a loop on the televisions behind us.
Could I describe the food? Sure, but I'm telling you, it's only part of the ensemble cast at work here. The miso soup was among the best I've had, thanks to generous portioning of tofu and fresh green onion. The dumplings were steamed with a tangy dipping sauce inside of them, a magical and satisfying trick. The "tuna three way" special, which featured tuna tartare, spicy tuna with mango roll, and a spicy tuna taco with large pieces of sashimi in a puffed noodle shell, succeeded for both the mouth and the eye. The bulk of our meal was sushi a la carte, including yellow tail and rainbow roll, among other selections. The sushi doesn't rival the freshness of Sagami or even Genji, but it was still very good.
With my second drink, a sake mojito that I highly recommend, I settled into my star-gazing and hipster posturing. Definitely a good time.
Pod is located at 3636 Sansom Street, http://www.podrestaurant.com/.