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Dec 26, 2001 06:39 PM

Morimoto review

  • s

Visited the place mid november, think it was 2 weeks after opening day.

$100 Omakase was an excellent value given the quantity:

1) Tuna tartare - excellent served with freshly grated wasabi (very rare in the Northeast US)
2) grilled king crab leg - nothing special
3) grilled half lobster - nothing special
4) dobin mushi - quite well prepared
5) kobe beef - thinly sliced and appeared to be poached, served rare with steamed carrots and finished off with soy sauce and olive oil - beef was extremely tender but sauce made the entire dish too greasy
6) ahi tuna salad - several pieces of ahi tuna over mesclun greens and ponzu like dressing, nothing special
7) grilled seabass topped with foiegras - nothing special
8) 5 piece nigiri sushi - tuna, tai, salmon, ebi, mackerel - disappointingly pedestrian selection
9) sago or rice custard pie - very good

My companion had the
- chilled tofu appetizer, very bland. Prefer the traditional preparation topped with scallions, bonito flakes, grated ginger and shoyu.
- Rock shrimp tempura - HORRIBLE, too much batter and with the mayo aioli, dish pretty much resembled mall food-court leftover takeout chinese kong-pow chicken. Stay away from this!!!!
- Ala carte nigiri sushi - yellowtail (not the fatty part), toro ($12!!! a piece for what shoule be considered average chu toro), spicy tuna (size of futomaki rolls, way too big), and misc other fishes which were alright.

As you can see the quantity of food for omakase was excellent but my complaints were:

For Morimoto's reputation, the selection was extremely disappointing. I did not consider anything to be exotic let alone Japanese, you can get most if not all dishes at japanese or asian fusion restaurant. Furthermore, portions were wayyyy to large for the number of courses and the richness. By the time the last dishes were coming in I was basically nibbling away. The combinations for that day absolutely go against the balance - so strongly emphasized by Japanese cuisine. Seemed like the chef was more intent on overwhelming the palate with rich food than creating an interesting and balanced experience. Furthermore dishes were very pedestrian compared what I've seen on the Iron Chef show.

Sushi was good but given the prices it cannot compete even with the above average spots in NYC ($12 for a piece of average toro). Rice was also very poorly seasoned, I could hardly taste any of the vinegary seasoning, also the rice was a little undercooked.

You'll also notice Morimoto walking around and meeting diners doing some PR work, mentioned to him about the rock shrimp tempura which we did not like, didn't seem like he had a clue what we were talking about. Did not even offer to take the dish back, don't think he gets negative remarks very often. I suspect that he doesn't have a very good command of english.

Another pet peeve, freshly grated wasabi was served with some appetizers but not with sushi!?! Go figure.

Overall disappointing given his reputation and years heading up Nobu, definitely has a long way to go before it can compete against the restaurants in LA and NYC (also money will probably be better spent).

Looks like I'll still have to continue hiking up to NYC for good Japanese food unless I hear otherwise from a credible source.

P.S they don't serve green tea, only some herbal chamomile junk for $4 per teabag!!!

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  1. I completely agree. Good restaurant, but does not compete with NY/LA japanese/asian fusion restaurants.

    1. Ate alone (business trip) at Morimoto sushi bar last week -- have had the tasting menu at Nobu when Morimoto was there, which was unusual and really exceptional. I met Morimoto leaving at 6:30PM when I arrived but didn't see him come back during two hours I was there.

      Got the $100 Morimoto omakase:

      1. toro tartare [my one request]: quite exceptional, sparked by bits of fried shallot in the tartare

      2. scallop carpaccio: also exceptional

      3. cold mackerel with sauce: again excellent

      4. wasabi sorbet with wasabi beignet: unusual but unremarkable

      5. seared grouper: OK, but nothing special

      6. kobe beef: very thin slice of ribeye; not as rich or luxurious as I had expected and overall a bit of a disappointment

      7. sushi: 5 pieces, good but not extraordinary

      8. dessert: tasty cheesecake and forgettable brown cake

      Meal + tip + carafe of excellent junmai ginjo ($28) exceeded $150. Service was excellent and courses came in smooth and quick succession.

      Overall: first three courses were sufficient to make it worthwhile even at $150+ tab; also enjoyed sitting at the bar and watching sushi chefs work. Meal was filling and pleasant, but second half was far behind first half. Nobu meal was better and considerably cheaper.

      I would return to Morimoto, but next time, I would do two more raw courses in exchange for cooked food, do sashimi rather than sushi and skip dessert in exchange for a soup.

      1. enjoyed this review by D. Bergman published in the Philadelphia Magazine earlier this year.


        1. When I visited my friend in Philly in February, I made sure to stop by Morimoto for dinner before I left. And seriously, it was extremely well worth it! I completely agree with the other posts on this thread. I ordered from the menu rather than doing omakase (since i cant afford that for 2, haha) - 2 drinks, 1 appetizer, 2 sushi rolls, 2 dinner entrees, and 1 dessert + tax = $150. Extremely worth it and worth every penny. The decor of the restaurant was very modern and retro, and the employees were extremely friendly. I would definitely visit this place again.