I do not peg myself as the type to eat at a restaurant like Morimoto NYC. I typically try to go for delicious meals at mid-range prices, it’s generally higher value and more cost effective. I am allergic to trendy locations, dressing up, high prices, and style over substance dining. However, I was able to swallow my pride for a loved one’s birthday dinner at Morimoto and was extremely satisfied with a great dining experience.
As you may already know, Morimoto is named after and is the culinary playground of the Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto. The exterior of the restaurant (as can be seen below) sets the tone with a stylized entrance, burgundy curtains draped over the exterior sliding door entrance. Once inside the mood lighting and soft music draw you into an almost club like atmosphere. The restaurant has a distinct converted warehouse feel, exposed concrete everywhere, the ceiling is white cloth draped in such a way to both be decorative and conceal sprinkler and electrical piping. Immediately in front of you as you walk in is a big glowing wall made of water bottles stuck together. Adjacent to it is a stair leading down to a combination cocktail bar and waiting area, the bathrooms are also situated on the lower level. We were a group of 10 so we were seated at the long table right next to the wall of bottles. Directly in front of us, across a walkway there is a raised area with other seating. The patrons were, for the most part, pretty well dressed and it’s clearly a place to go to impress your significant other or
As expected at Japanese restaurants, the menu consisted of mostly seafood options. There were sushi and roll options to accompany the more traditional entrees and the hot/cold appetizers. This is, of course, where if you aren’t expecting the prices, your wallet will begin to tell you how not hungry you are. A normal chicken or fish entree clocks in at $30 and the smallest cut of steak will run you $60. The most eye popping price is the “Chef’s Choice” multi course tasting menu – the Morimoto Omakase set at $135 per person. Whatever, I don’t go to restaurants to count pennies.
I ordered the Octopus Carpaccio as an appetizer as I was feeling adventurous.The carpaccio was thin slices of octopus surrounding a bed of greens dressed with some sort of spiced oil based dressing, tasted like sesame oil. The dish was very good, so good I wiped the whole thing out before I even thought about offering some to the other guests. Absolutely no regrets on that, the octopus was tender and delicious, the spices left my mouth tingling in a way that I was ready to pounce on any other food set before me. An excellent starter and worth every penny, it was that mouth-wateringly good,
With such an adventurous menu I decided to play it safe and go with the Slow Cooked King Salmon as my main course. The waitress advised me that it is only dressed with garnish and doesn’t really come with any sides so I ordered something that was actually a special for the day and not on the menu – it was a corn dish with miso butter, onions, greens, and smoked bacon. The salmon itself was just an okay experience. I regret not going further outside of my comfort zone to be honest, salmon is salmon no matter how you dress it. The corn side dish was awesome. Another situation in which I damn near licked the plate clean.
Drinks and Dessert
To accompany dinner, I had a Sesame Blossom cocktail. It was flavorful but not overpowering, just fine to go along with dinner, It did a pretty good job of getting me to a nice place. I skipped on dessert again… I need to stop doing.
All told, when I let my guard down and was a bit more adventurous with my palette, I was very much rewarded with the delicious Octopus Carpaccio and the miso/corn/bacon side. The salmon was just okay and I feel I have gotten better elsewhere. While it was a great experience, I’m not really sold yet on coming back. We’ll see if the carpaccio craving returns.
Have you eaten at Morimoto? If so, do you agree or disagree with what I said? Let me know, leave a comment!
Morimoto Review reviewed by Well Fed on November 20, 2014 rated 4.0 of 5