Last weekend on a last minute whim, Chu and I decided to head to Morimoto. For those non-foodies out there, Masaharu Morimoto is one of the Iron Chefs featured on the Food Channel. This was our third visit. For our first visit, we went all out … made a reservation for the dining room (top floor) and ordered the 9-course chef’s Tasting Menu. Although the price was outrageous, $120 per person, the flavors were wonderful. For a big event, birthday or anniversary, Chu and I would go for this menu again, but we decided that, moving forward, the downstairs lounge was the way to go!
So back to this past visit. We were just thinking drinks and sushi rolls, but after glancing at the menu, our approach quickly changed! As a starter we shared a white lily – a very sweet, lemony martini. I love all things sweet, so the drink was right up my alley. Since Chu is a one-drink wonder – sharing the drink was perfect – just a little taste, so not to overbear your taste buds for the rest of the night.
We stayed with the sharing theme and order both the Duck, Duck, Duck entree and two maki rolls – yellow tail and spicy salmon. The duck dish – wow, simply said! It was so tasty and there was plenty of food. As the title of the dish alludes, Morimoto cleverly matches three different versions of duck together for one harmonious dish: foie gras croissant, roast duck, and soft duck egg. The roast duck (a.k.a. Peking duck) was incredibly moist with a very crisp skin. It was layered in between two pieces of croissant spread with foie gras. Surprisingly the sandwich approach worked well. It helped give these sophisticated flavors a more casual feel. The duck egg was “cooked” (barely) sunny side up and placed with the dipping sauces. For those of you who prefer your food twice over dead, you may want to stay clear of the egg. But for Chu and I, we love adventures and started dipping the sandwich into the broken yolk. YUM! I’m sure you are reading this and thinking ugh .. this dish will give you a heart attack and yes, I would agree, but sharing it makes the guilt a little bit less!
On the lighter side, we coupled the duck with the rolls. At first I was a bit surprised the Morimoto rolls were rather simple, but once you taste them, you understand why! Normally yellow tail rolls are paired with scallion, but not here. You can certainly taste the freshness! Also, the sushi chefs have some mad knife skills because you could feel the texture from the finely chopped fish. The spicy salmon roll was also very tasty yet simple. The rice was layered with two different kinds of seeds … at least one type, I imagine, was sesame seeds. I felt the seeds gave the roll a light salty taste, which for me, was a nice contrast to the more subdued yellow tail roll.
Next course – dessert of course!
Since I’m a chocolate fanatic, we went with the chocolate hazelnut mousse. As individual components, the dessert was fabulous, however I did not understand the pairing of the mousse topped with a green apple sorbet. Perhaps the idea was a twist on sweet and sour, but I think Morimoto missed the mark. I do agree a sorbet was a nice play on texture and temperature, but I feel a more appropriate flavor would have been coconut or one with a nut based flavor to tie it back to the hazelnut flavor in the mousse. So you think we didn’t finish the dessert? NOPE … we just scooted the sorbet off the mousse and ate them separately.
We finished the night by sharing a small carafe of sake. I am not a huge sake drinker so I was indifferent. If it is in front of me, I’ll drink it, but otherwise, I would not seek it out on the menu. By the end of the night, we were pleasantly stuffed!
Now I can’t leave you without talking about the ambiance. As Chu already discussed, the bathrooms are very high tech and and chic so I’ll discuss the rest of place. Chic is the word, without the pretentiousness that often is associated with “NY Chic”. I prefer the downstairs bar and lounge area. It is much more laid back than the dining room! Granted most people do not wear jeans, but no one would care if you did. I tip my hat to the interior designers … the walls filled with empty bottle bottoms and another wall filled with full glass bottles was very ingenious. The bottles create a cool, new age style.
Overall I like Morimoto! If you don’t mind splurging some dollars but want to avoid the hoity toity atmosphere of the more uptight NY restaurants, I suggest you try it out for yourself!
Local and Number:
88 10th Ave (behind Chelsea Market)
New York, NY 10011
14th St Station at 14th St & 8th Ave (0.35 miles away)
- Sun.-Wed. 5:30PM-midnight
- Thu.-Sat. 5:30PM-1AM
Price: $$$ (Expensive)