I was at Morimoto about a week or two ago, when we had a cold snap, and the chefs did up a fun omakase. I requested no nigiri this time, as I don't like my fish w/ rice plated all at the same time and they were too busy (seeming) to request something else. (Morimoto is not known for nigiri, so no need to push the envelope.)
The youngish Japanese chef added some great dishes, and took advantage of some new items in season.
1) Morimoto salad and edamame - since I'm banal at heart, I had to start with some staples. The Morimoto salad is a light salad of mixed greens, mostly of the dark variety, with shaved bonito and flakes tossed in a light vinaigrette. For some reason, I love Morimoto's edamame. It's not fried or oily, and obviously fresh, so none of that freezer-burn taste I detect at other locales. Shaved sea salt is fun and adds more texture, too (no pic of this)
Here's where the real omakase started:
2) Shirako - Japanese red snapper semen sacs. Unbelievably creamy, delicate, and the touch of pepper and yuzu broth brought this to a whole other level. Typically milt is from cod, but the red snapper is richer and more sophisticated. I was delighted with this preparation. A light (delicate) but interesting way to begin
3) Fish-cake stew - I didn't catch the Japanese term for this, may be Oden, but essentially you have fish, tofu, and veggies in a rich, savory broth. There was some fresh pepper relish on the side that ratcheted up the heat quotient appreciably. I really enjoyed this on an unseasonably cold night. I'm really interested in fish cakes with their hallow centers
4) The next series of tastes were served on one artful plate with edible flowers and such. I snapped some separate pics for better close ups:
- Baby eels with quail egg - Very short season for baby eels. They're so delicate and the quail egg adds a more savory touch to the dish. I was hoping for this, as I had heard they're good now
- King crab with guts - The Japanese always take things up a notch, and the guts brought the ordinarily stellar King Crab to sublime
- Hokkaido scallop - buttery sweet and contrasted nicely with the relish
- Firefly squid - in season now, extremely fresh, and the miso glaze is the traditional means of serving, although the micro greens garnishment added an artistic touch. I find firefly squid too commonly exotic, if that makes sense
5) Sashimi platter - all expertly cut and well presented. I really appreciate this, as I'm tired of chunky, brutal cuts of frozen fish:
- Kinmadai - lightly seared, so the skin added an interesting contrast to the flesh
- Abalone - relatively rare on the east coast, a nice crunchy texture but marinated so soft and oh so tasty
- Toro - consistently excellent quality, sliced very thin
- Maguro - premium quality, but not quite as interesting right after the toro
- Hamachi belly - very good, this is the end of the season, but those big Buri are great
- Ocean trout - sliced long, held its own to the other red fish
- Hokkaido uni - delicate, a little nuttier than the Santa Barbara variety
- Sayori - needlefish was presented very well, and light despite being a "silver" fish. This fish looks more interesting than it tastes
- Japanese pickles and chile - palette cleaners were interesting; they have this mini wooden barrel where they're marinating cucumbers right now. I have a soft spot for pickles (or is it salt?)
6) Grilled Japanese Barracuda - this was the last item, and was a marinated barracuda which was lightly grilled and served with a yuzu sauce and a touch of lemon. Deboned, so a pleasure to eat, and was a perfect balance of salty (cured barracuda) and sweet (yuzu). I was relieved that it was not grilled sayori, which is more common, but also a little messy with the guts and not as rare
7) I had some complimentary sorbets to wrap up, including coconut (the butter makes it so rich), raspberry (good refresher after the fish), and chocolate. This was a refreshing way to end, considering the large taste of the barracuda
by Jen Wheeler | With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we're embracing...
by Pamela Vachon | With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we're embracing...
by Paige Feldman | With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we're embracing...