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Dinner at Morimoto

For her first night in town, the only requirements that Lauren had for dinner on Friday were: Japanese cuisine served in a grand, modern and theatrical space. Having never been to Morimoto before, I assumed that this restaurant would fit all of her specifications (with the added bonus being that Morimoto is the brainchild of the Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto).

Lauren and I arrived at Morimoto 30 minutes prior to our 8:45pm reservation. We were told that we could grab a cocktail in the bar downstairs, and a hostess would come find us when our table was ready. The restaurant/bar is a large, bi-level space with an interior that emphasizes how attractive and serene that the use of concrete, Lucite and creamy whimsical shears can be.
As the clock struck 8:45pm, Lauren and I were whisked to our table. We began our meal with Morimoto’s signature drink, the White Lily, made with vodka and a Japanese lemon soda. Instead of ordering entrees or the omakase, we chose to share an assortment of small plates:

  • Kobe beef Carpaccio
  • Spicy king crab broiled on the half shell
  • Hamachi sashimi (yellowtail)
  • Pork gyoza
  • Beef curry bread

I rarely order beef over tuna Carpaccio, but Lauren insisted that we must. The Kobe beef was thinly sliced and arrived in a shallow pool of yuzu soy, hot oil and finely chopped mitsuba leaf. Every ingredient intertwined perfectly together, creating a symphony of flavor in my mouth.

When the spicy king crab arrived, I was surprised by its physically enormous size and Morimoto’s generous portion. I was also pleased to find that the kitchen had, in fact, taken the dirty work out of a potentially disastrous chore: Indeed, the crustacean was served on the half shell, thus making crab meat removal a breeze. The exposed flesh was painted with a spicy mayonnaise, broiled to perfection, and finished with tiny caviar pearls.

While the hamachi (yellowtail) was fresh and of high quality, I found that it served more as a palate cleanser between more flavorful dishes.

When the pork gyoza arrived, I had to ask our server if he had made a mistake and served us the wrong dish. I was mystified by the paper-thin, golden crust that enveloped the top of the entire serving of dumplings. Upon “crust” removal, I was even more shocked to find that the gyozas were floating atop a bed of marinara sauce. Honestly, if this combination is considered haute fusion, I’m not a fan. While the dumplings were OK, I just couldn’t get past the pool of bright red spaghetti sauce.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we ordered the beef curry bread. Perhaps it was a curried meatball inside of a Chinese bun. Or maybe curried beef was served atop sliced baguette. Wrong and wrong. A plate arrived with 2 golden panko-crusted spheres that were the size of mini Nerf footballs. “How in the hell are we supposed to eat this?” Lauren asked. We decided to delicately halve each piece and split the dish in to four manageable servings. The beef curry bread reminded me of an empanada, only with much more filling and a less doughy, crispier exterior.

Upon realization that we had each dropped $100 on our meal, our playful cocktail buzz immediately wore off. The couple seated next to us had chosen the chef’s omakase which, for $120 per person, seemed to be the best deal in the house. All in all, Lauren and I enjoyed a nice meal, excellent cocktails and an outstanding atmosphere.

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Reader Comments (1)

Sounds like a lovely meal though! I'd love to head there, good review!

January 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFarrah

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