(Apologies for incomplete descriptions -- it wasn't always easy to see through the haze of a beautifully crisp and cold sake that hinted of green apples and finished softly with a gentle curve.)
An iconic triangle of tofu made on the premises, a medium density reminiscent of ricotta. Delicately shaved wasabi root, a pale yet sharp green against the snowy tofu, piquant, vibrant and sweet. A very balanced soy sauce with a mellow personality that rivals a soft pinot noir.
Sashimi, glistening slices of hamachi and another fish I couldn't remember, an aura of yuzu and subtle smoky bits of jalapeno.
The centrepiece of a grilled dish, a Santa Barbara spot prawn, was striking in the pointed sweetness and a faint curtain of char from the grill; wonderful parts from the head. Plump seared scallops, another form of sweetness with a hint of ocean.
Tempura of baby abalone, firm slices yielding with the right resistance. The batter is exceptional, crisp and light, tiny puffy miracles of egg, water and flour. An alternative textural contrast with the tempura of shishito pepper, softer beneath the batter, an elegant and gentle peppery finish.
A well-paced but dizzying sequence of sushi (not all of it I recall). Some of the finest squid I've had - a tender and clean slice of ivory. Supple toro, melting at just the right point to release its meaty flavour. A more assertive piece of grilled barracuda, the skin shimmering. Sweetness and a dense crunch from geoduck clam. Firm kampachi, a delicious trace of the gelantinous texture so typical of older yellowtail. A final caress from Santa Barbara sea urchin, sweet and custardy with an echo of the sea behind that richness. Exquisite progression of flavours, with perfect brushes of soy sauce on the sushi and finely calibrated dabs of true wasabi that rose and fell as needed with each piece of fish or sea creature. The grains of rice were well tuned in temperature, softness, packing and judiciously seasoned, embraced by the fish above, eloquent but unassuming.
A dark oxidized green tea, graceful earth and wood that reminded me fondly of certain oolongs.
Bright and peachy dessert of ripe cantaloupe, an easy glide down to earth.
Mori just has never done it for me.
The sushi tastes...weird...and even when it doesn't, it just doesn't have that wow factor it should at his prices.
Add in one of the rudest staffs in town and it's no wonder that as my dad says "watch the feet" -- we're big sushi lovers aand happy to spend $$$ but we just don't go to Mori.
I greatly prefer Zo to Mori, but still know Mori is one of the best places in the US. one of their chefs is very arrogant, intentionally giving me something i didn't like but then pretending it was something else.
but i thought the other staff were always especially friendly.
but Zo is where I go