Just took my girlfriend to Morimoto's for her Birthday. We had been to the one in Philadelphia and found the food to be superb. Almost the way Nobu used to be a few years ago so we thought we would give this one a shot.
We asked to sit at the sushi bar so we could see the action. The bar seating has a lot of room and even with parties on either side of us, we felt we had plenty of room.
We decided to do the omakase and were dissapointed to hear that they have no wine/sake pairing option. Our very nice server explained that he could recommend some good options from the list but in order to offer a true pairing "We would have to hire a somelier." Seemed strange to me but we ordered off the interesting (but very expensive) sake menu
The first course was a toro tarare with five or so sauces. Some were very good (avocado paste and wasabi) while others, like sour cream, seemed out of place. Good fish though and really cool presentation.
The next course was a simple platter of sashimi. All fish very fresh but nothing better than one would get at a top tier sushi place in NYC. (In fact, I remember tasting the fish, noticing the elaborate presentation, and suddenly having a craving for the super simple, fresh fish at Shimizu!).
The next course was the highlight of the meal. An oyster covered with a sweet teryaki sauce, seared foi gras, and a tiny bit of sea urchin. All the flavors were clear, rich, and exciting. Delicious. Our server noticed how much we enjoyed the dish and told us that there is a version of the dish on the a la carte menu.
This was followed by a cooked salmon dish with an heirloom tomato sorbet. The sorbet was delicious but seemed slightly out of place with the mild fish. Again, gorgeous presentation.
There was a palate cleansing course here that I can't remember. Sorry!
This was followed by a strange course of roasted lobster with Indian spices. It was delicious in a Tabla sort of way but seemed out of place in this meal.
The next course was called "Kobe Rib Eye." For me, this was the biggest disappointment of the night. The flavors were like sweet Korean BBQ and the sauce was good. But the meat was sliced so thin that it would have been impossible not to cook the hell out of it. I like when places show off the quality of their meat by leaving it in larger chunks and cooking it just to medium rare. While the sauce was wonderful, the dish would have tasted much the same with good brisket or flank or something less extravagent than Kobe.
Dessert was good. A pistachio cake with some kind of yummy sorbet.
The meal moved very quickly. We were done in less than an hour and 45 minutes which to me is too fast. We weren't entirely aware of just how fast the meal was progressing until it was over. Also, the dishes did not seem to compliement one another. They certainly progressed from lighter choices to heavier, but the flavors of the night seemed scattered.
The sakes were good but just too expensive. We did get to try a 5 year aged sake though which tasted almost like scotch. But again, this was about $25 for 2 ounces. The carafes are no great bargains either (few under $35 for 10 oz) but they were quite good. I think there are plenty of affordable sakes out there. And if a restaurant absolutely must restrict its list to high end choices, they should hire a somelier to help customers make their choices.
I can't recommend this restaurant unless you are well off and interested in the restaurant scene as much as you are the food. The energy of the place is great as is the design. The service was friendly and quite competent (no service problems like those I read about in other postings). But I can't help thinking though how wonderful a meal we could have had at a place like Jewel Bako or Shimizu or even Yasuda for the same price if not a whole lot less.