Well, was to Morimoto's last night and am ready to give a report of the dinner.
First, let me say that I was uncertain exactly what to expect going to Morimoto's. I have never eaten at one of Stephen Starr's restaurants before. Nor, have I experienced neo-Japanese/Fusion like Nobu before. I am a loyal fan of Iron chef and the more I read about Morimoto, the more I become impressed with his ability to overcome hurdles and not be afraid to take steps into new territory. New to the good stuff.
Upon arriving at Morimoto's, me and my companion were completely floored by the look and atmosphere of the restaurant. Stephen's Starr's influence can be seen by the translucent booths that change color every few minutes and the neo-furniture is familiar with a Stephen Starr place. However, Morimoto definitely had input as well as I had the distinct feeling of being in a Japanese resturant. This because of the prescence of wood and stone. The atmosphere alone is worth the trip. Also, be certain to check out the restroom. This is a must, but be careful to choose the right entrance.
The Iron Chef was present and serving dishes. Strategically located behind the Sushi bar, Morimoto was creating numerous works of art to waiting patrons.
Now on to the menu. The menu to me seemed pretty consistant with what to expect. There was a great selection of tempuras and teriyakis. Fish and seafood were the majority, although "dry steak" was advertised for $28. Sushi, sashimi, and rawbar selections were also widely available along with a good selections of salads. Prices were very reasonable. A good mix whatever your palette desires. Cooked seafood, sushi and sashimi, and even a variety of vegetarian selections are available. Was told that all seafood is flown in from Japan. The waitress made it clear that Morimoto wants to establish a place as someplace that you could go every few weeks or months, not someplace like Le Bec Fin or Striped Bass where someone within my means is lucky enought to get there once every five years.
My companion ordered Rock Shrimp Tempura which was awesome. The batter coating on the4 shrimp was so light and fluffy. My companion also ordered a cold noodle dish that she didn't care for, but then again this was her first time experiencing true Japanese style cuisine.
Now concerning my choice, I wanted the full "Iron Chef" experience, so I had the "Omakase". For those not familiar with omakase, basically the chef chooses your entrees. The range of the Omakase starts at $70 for seven courses and rises quickly depending upon how hungry you are and how daring is your appetite. The waitress serving us informed us that for at least the next couple of weeks, Morimoto would be doing omakase with items from the menu until people become more acclimated to the restaurant, but that would get more daring as the restaurant becomes known. Upon ordering the omakase, the waitress first asked if I had any known food allergies, which I don't have. And also what I had for lunch so that Morimoto would duplicate any ingredients that I may have had earlier. SInce I had a reuben for lunch, I didn't think that would be an issue.
Course 1 started out with simple sashimi (I apologize if I'm hacking the spelling of these words). Tuna, salmon, another fish selection, and shrimp that was steamed in a sweet seasoning. Very delicious.
Course 2 was a salad of raw fish and sea kelp in a citrus dressing surrounded by hot falvored oil. Very good, the hot oil would start out as not hot, but slowly grow into a hot flavor experience. Again, really delicious.
Course 3 were three oysters on the half shell. This is where I made the big "faux pas" of the night by eating some of the salt pile under the oyster shell. This really caused me some stomach distress and I was nervous with four dishes yet to go.
Course 4 was seared Black Cod, served in a sweet mustard, peanut sauce and natto. While I'm not a big cod enthusiast, the salt fiasco kept me from really enjoying this delicacy.
Course 5 was raw salmon served in I believe sauce compsed of sake and other spices.
Course 6 was a standard sushi of shrimp, salmon, tuna, red snapper, and one other fish.
Course 7 was dessert. A pumpkin cake served with a buttercream frosting on the side, served with apple and cherries lightly spiced with a 9 spice secret which was very hot. Most of the spice was comosed of raw ginger and cinnamon that rivals any hot I've had before, but the dish was a fitful end to a perfect meal.
During the meal, I started with a "kabuki" which was a cocktail of orange, triple sec, among other liquors. I also had to have a glass of sake. The sake the waitress chose was Morimoto's own brand which was very smooth and wonderful. After the meal, I had a cappucino which was excellent. Water was also frequent and is needed because the dishes do lean toward the salty side.
To close, me and my companion had a wonderful time. I highly recommend this place, especially if you are an Iron Chef fan like myself. I hope you have as much fun as I did. I want to thank my waitress for answering all the baby questions that me and my companion had.
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