For those who don't want to read the loooooong review, here's a quick summary:
1) The front of the restaurant (the greet and seat folks) are HIGHLY disorganized and have no clue what they are doing
2) The food is VERY disappointing - Morimoto brand is on a dangerously slippery slope, if this new venture is indicative of things to come
3) The prices are high, especially when you consider how bad the food is. You can get better Chinese food at your neighborhood take-out joint. As for the Japanese side of the menu, let's just say that it doesn't taste, look or feel like a Japanese person had any say in the matter
4) The decor tries to be swanky, but ends up feeling chintzy.
5) The only positive thing about our experience was our server, who was professional, yet friendly.
Okay, onto the long review:
Went to Pauli Moto's last night with two other dining companions. As others have stated on this message board, the folks who "meet, greet and seat" have A LOT of kinks to work out. We were given a little buzzer and told that the wait would be about 35 minutes. After wandering around a bit, we headed back to the restaurant to check on the status of things and we found that they were seating people who had just gotten to the restaurant. I went up to ask about the status of our wait and without much explanation, we were seated immediately. Highly disorganized at the front of the restaurant.
BUT, I don't want that experience to detract from the real reason we were there - to experience the food. The menu was Pan Asian - mostly Japanese and Chinese inspired. If you think of a tri-fold menu, the first panel was dedicated to apps, the second panel had a "Chinatown" section as well as "chef's highlights" (dishes that Morimoto dreamed up especially for this restaurant). The third panel consisted of sushi.
We ordered 2 apps to start - the calamari and ceviche. Both were pretty good - but nothing out of the ordinary. The way the ceviche was described in the menu led us to believe that there would be 3 different types of ceviche (I think it was described as a "trio"), but the server warned us up front that it was one serving in a martini glass...my dining buddies concur that the ceviche was delicious.
From then on, it was downhill all the way. We ordered agedashi tofu, stir fried spinach, szechuan green beans...and from the chef's recommendations, the Ebi chilli stir fry (spicy shrimp stir fry). The batter of the agedashi tofu was thick and the sauce that the tofu sat in was gooey and almost lumpy. The stir fry spinach dish was heady with garlic, but not much else. The spinach itself was overcooked to the point where it didn't taste like spinach anymore. The szechuan green beans were coated with a sugary sauce - I GUARANTEE that no decent Szechuan restaurant would have served it that way. Most disappointing was the Ebi Chilli dish...it tasted like someone had used a bottled chilli sauce to fry up the shrimp. Oh...we also ordered a spicy tuna roll and it was good, but I want to point out that it was @ $1.50 more than other sushi places!
I sincerely hope that much of what I experienced at Pauli Motos last night will work itself out. Theyve only been open for 1.5 weeks. Having said that, it would take A LOT to get me to go back there.