Morimoto NYC

By grace.g.yang · April 11, 2007
Under: Chelsea,Japanese,Nightlife,Sushi


Last night, two coworkers from the San Jose office treated me and Vikkie to a meal at Morimoto, the restaurant opened by this guy:

Recognize him? He’s one of head honchos from the show Iron Chef, a show on food network. Needless to say, I was *very* excited! (an interesting side note – he used to be the executive chef at Nobu, the restaurant I’m going to tonight). Morimoto is located in Chelsea (next to the Chelsea Market) in an industrial-looking space. It was designed by Tadao Ando and has this awesome wall of 17,000 water bottles. Also, there are glass partitions that make the atmosphere semi-private (and it’s really great because even though the restaurant was packed, the noise level was kept to a minimum). The sushi bar looked very clean and simple:

We started off with the tuna pizza, the oyster foie gras, a spicy tuna roll, and an eel cucumber roll (and I snuck in two fatty tuna pieces). The tuna pizza is one of Morimoto’s “signature dishes” – it’s a cold appetizer with bluefin tuna, anchovy aioli, and jalepeno’s. There’s also a white sauce that’s drizzled on top of the tuna (maybe wasabi mixed with a japanese mayo?) – the tuna mixed with the crunchiness of the tortilla styled “pizza” is a great combination and our table definitely enjoyed it. The oyster foie gras was also pretty good (no, oyster’s don’t have livers…it was an oyster and on TOP of the oyster was a piece of foie gras). The foie gras literally melted in your mouth and it mixed well with the oyster/teriyaki sauce. I guess the only downside was that there were only THREE oysters, so Vikkie volunteered to be the odd man out (don’t worry – we gave her two extra pieces of tuna pizza to make up for it).

–Side comment: I took pictures of ALL the appetizers with my canon with a 2G memory card, but after taking about 5 pictures, it said that the memory card was FULL! Why would the camera do that? Was it the camera’s fault for reading the 2G card incorrectly? Or was it the SD card’s fault for LYING TO MY CAMERA? Either way, I formatted the card by accident and deleted all of the pictures. :( I was so sad I almost made everyone order the appetizers/sushi again so I could get pictures of the awesome presentation).

After the foie gras and tuna pizza came, we had the spicy tuna, fatty tuna, and eel/cucumber rolls. The spicy tuna rolls seemed REALLY fresh (the fatty tuna was awesome) and the eel was slightly warm and semi sweet (can it get any better?). The appetizers were definitely a great start to the meal (I was a little worried since Chris said he read about the place and he had it hyped up in his head…I didn’t want to disappoint!).

For my main course, I ordered the surf and turf (yozu butter poached lobster, seared kobe filet, seasoned spinach, and red wine jus):

I’m usually not a fan of butter with lobster (I think it ruins the sweetness of the lobster) but I was literally drenching the lobster in the butter sauce). The butter sauce was slightly creamy and complemented the lobster really well. The kobe filet was AWESOME. I don’t think I’ve ever had meat that tender and juicy (it also had an interesting green sauce that tasted like spinach puree). I liked the pairing with baby asparagus (well, at least that’s what I THINK it was), red wine jus, and mushrooms.

Vikkie ordered their signature dish, the duck duck duck, which is on a foie gras croissant, has a duck egg dipping sauce, a red miso sauce, and one other dipping sauce I didn’t catch the waitress say:

Look at the flakey crust:

She really enjoyed her dish and didn’t feel extremely full afterwards (you know, the way you feel when you eat a lot of red meat). I almost regret not trying it, but it’s incentive to go back!

Chris ordered the Japanese Bouillabaisse, which included a half shell lobster, king crab, mussels, clam diver scallops, all in a red miso sake broth:

He really liked the dish in general, but it looked like it needed a side of rice (or bread? It was too soupy to go without any kind of starch). It looked like a tasty dish and they definitely weren’t stingy with the copious amounts of seafood…I mean, LOOK AT IT.

Finally, Bo ordered the braised black cod – Japanese ratatouille in a ginger soy reduction (at least I think that’s what he ordered – correct me if I’m wrong!):

Bo enjoyed his dish and thought the fish was fresh and light. I think all of us were satisfied with our main courses and didn’t feel extremely full afterwards (which is always a good thing). We ordered dessert (you have to get the FULL picture of the restaurant, obviously). Morimoto’s known for their tofu cheesecake, kabosu creme brulee, and two types of tarts, but we decided to go with the chocolate pecan brownie and the coconut macaroon.

The chocolate pecan brownie:

I brownie was warm and gooey and I usually HATE nuts in brownies (sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t), but the pecans meshed well with the brownie. It was like they were meant for each other. There was also a sliver of ameretto cream espresso ice cream that added a kick to the brownie (Bo thought it was a too sweet in general but Vikkie and I agreed that it was more of a comfort food dish).

The coconut macaroon:

Layer one: coconut macaroon
Layer two: bananas
Layer three: possibly a banana mousse with a little bit of passion-fruit covered in chocolate
Layer four: rum raisin ice cream

I’ve never had a macaroon before, but I thought the coconut macaroon was a little too stiff (it reminded me of a rice cake). If you pushed away the first layer and carefully placed layers two – four on your spoon with a drizzle of the passion fruit sauce, you’d have a party in your mouth! The coconut macaroon was definitely a more summer oriented dessert because it was a lot lighter and the chocolate pecan brownie was a winter-like dessert because it was so rich and you definitely couldn’t pull that off in the heat.

Bo also ordered some tea and it came with this lovely platter of additions:

Vikkie was really excited because she thought they included marshmallows for Bo’s green tea (top left hand corner), but upon closer inspection, we saw that it was just cubes of sugar. The waiter heard Vikkie’s comment and said that she wasn’t the first person to think that they gave marshmallows with tea. :)

So, one of the most exciting things about Morimoto (besides the delicious food, great ambiance, and great company), was the bathroom. No joke, the bathroom. Vikkie and I went down there (sans camera) and walked into this toilet:

You’re probably wanting to ask me, what is the bar of buttons next to the toilet, Grace? Well, dear reader, it is THIS:

It was a heated toilet seat with a bidet – front AND rear cleansing! hahaha I just HAD to take a picture! You could hear people giggling in the bathroom stalls next to you…I wonder why. :)

After our wonderful dinner (and two White Lily cocktails), we walked to Magnolia for cupcakes (only Bo and Chris could fit them in after ALL the food we devoured):

I’m more partial to Buttercup because their frosting is less sugary and you can’t taste individual granules…but it looks like Bo and Chris are really enjoying their cupcakes (especially Chris).

Bo and Chris came in from Long Island (where their client is) and since their train wasn’t until 11/12ish, we decided to go for more drinks at the Gansevoort Hotel. Actually, we headed to Ono, the restaurant on the first floor of the hotel since it was a Tuesday night around 10. I’m walking to the restroom in the back of the restaurant…and I run into freaking FABIO!

Do you know him?! He’s probably most well known for his “I can’t believe it’s not Butter” commercials…or the time a bird ran into his nose on a roller coaster. :) He was with three other guys (his less glamorous entourage?) having dinner at the restaurant. I’ve actually seen him before – when I lived in Pittsburgh, I saw him at a mall doing a promotion for some random thing…maybe a cologne he associated his name with?

Anyway, I tried some of the drinks at Ono, including the lemongrass mojito (which was good, except the mint leaves were too small so I kept eating them – gross). The four of us at Ono:

Bo, me, Chris, and Vikkie.

Audrey, Kori, and Jon joined us after their group dinner at Gramercy Tavern and told us all the debauchery that happened there (I still haven’t been there but I’ve heard it’s pretty good). Chris also joined us after his dinner with a college buddy:

Morimoto on Urbanspoon


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