When a restaurant is as striking at Morimoto's is, you wonder if the food will be as spectacular. And for the most part it was. Surprisingly the only disappointment for me was the sushi. I am sure that the soft silky tuna and mackerel were the very best, but they kind of disappeared into the rice. The unagi was the sole exception. The rice was exceptionally well flavored but didn't hold together, which surprised me.
My husband's mushroom trio was exquisite and my cold udon noodles were delicious. [INANIWA UDON CHILLED WHEAT NOODLES WITH GRATED GINGER AND DASHI-SHOYU SAUCE FOR DIPPING] The Chocolate pot de creme was wicked enough to instill the thought that we needed to go to confession afterwards. The dishes and utensils were subdued, but perfect.
Perhaps the best part of the evening was how welcome we were made to feel. The servers and staff obviously love and adore Morimoto and they are more than willing to make sure you have a wonderful experience.
Favorite Dish: MORIMOTO TEMPURA with GORGONZOLA, ROASTED RED PEPPER AND DAIKON-SOY SAUCES. This was exceptional. It arrived in a teepee formation. The batter was exquisitely light and the vegetables and shrimp were top quality and cooked just right. The sauces were delicious, but it was the tempura themselves that stole the show.
My drink was aromatic and delicious. From the website: WHITE PEAR :: GREY GOOSE LE POIRE, MORIMOTO JUNMAI SAKE, ST. GERMAIN ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR
The interior design of the restaurant is by an artist who wanted to give the impression of being under water. The wooden ceiling rolls like waves, with sculpted walls that create a motion effect. The glass tables are separated by glowing partitions that slowly change color. The table lamps are strangely phallic.
The food is an experience. If you are in the mood to be taken by Morimoto himself through a gastonomic adventure, order the Omakase (tasting menu) - the chef will give you whatever he thinks up that night, along with some favorites from the menu. You can pay whatever you want ($80, $100, $120 and up) - for a higher price you will get rarer, more extravagant treats. I've never been disappointed!!
Hint: It is hard to get a reservation. If you're in town and they have no openings, just go to the bar upstairs!! on't bother - it is rarely busy, and they serve everything except the omakase. A large window overlooks the restaurant.
If your party is small you may also request to sit in the back, at the small sushi bar - here you will get to see the chefs at work.
Morimoto himself is usually there. He tends to wear an outfit that looks like pajamas.
Favorite Dish: Tuna pizza
Tofu, prepared tableside
Rock shrimp tempura!!! Yum!
This restaurant was designed by Stephen Starr, which is always a treat. The tables are set up inside big, translucent cubicles, that change colors every few minutes (from blue to purple, from red to green). From the moment I arrived, the service was impeccable. My dining partner and I were seated quickly, and then immediately greeted by our server. We later determined that we didn't really have one server, as we were constantly attended to by anyone who passed by, but the great thing was that they all seemed to know what was going on, so no one was stopping by to ask duplicate questions about putting in our order.
Every item that was brought to our table, from the drinks, all the way through to the coffee with dessert, was delicious. I started out with a Rasberry Bellini, which was quite good, albeit a little pricey ($12), while my dining partner had a Morimoto Martini (also $12). My first course was the Morimoto Tempura, which featured mozzarella cheese wrapped in bacon, along with vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots, each of these was on a skewer, which were then arranged as a tee-pee and standing in a plate covered in Gorgonzola cream sauce. I wanted to lick the plate! My dining partner had the Carbonara as a starter, which was noodles, scallops, and edamame. It had a delicious, smoky flavor, and was a generous portion even as an appetizer size. He also had the Spicy Tuna Roll, which despite being a very generic thing to order (like spaghetti in an Italian restaurant), it was so fresh, and the texture was wonderful, it made us question our favorite sushi spot.
For an entree, I had the Pan Roasted Chicken; I normally pass on chicken at restaurants, because it always seems so boring, but this came with baby bok choy, which I love. The chicken was cooked with a Japanese chili, and then served in it's own juices, it had a spicy flavor, but not too much heat. My dining partner went with the NY Strip Steak, which was melt-in-your-mouth tender, served with tempura fried peppers.
Favorite Dish: For dessert, I shared the Chocolate Pot de Creme with my dining partner. It was a decadent chocolate custard, served in a large bowl, then covered with a thick cream. The bowl was placed on a plate and served alongside it, were two small treats: a delicious cooked banana and a tiny cake-like chocolate cookie.
Choosing a favorite is tough, but if I only had one thing (along with dessert), I would choose the Morimoto tempura. It was beautifully presented, delicious, and satisfying.
Anyone who ever watched Iron Chef show on food channel nows the Iorn Chef Japanese Morimoto and his wild imagination in neo-Japanese cuisine.
After working in New York for years, now he has his own restaurant in Phila. Someday we will have to come over to try it!
Favorite Dish: Everything should be good.