Morimoto in Napa - worth it?
My husband and I are heading out to Napa this week and I am wondering about Morimoto. It looks incredible, and completely interesting (in a good way!) But I am always a little nervous about restaurants from "celebrity" chefs, as sometimes they are trading on name instead of the quality of the food. We have two nights there for dinner, and the other night we are going to Redd. Is Morimoto a good choice for our other dinner? Thanks for your thoughts!
It is *incredibly* expensive and over-priced for what you get, in my opinion.
They have a $25.00 bento box lunch that is worth it to be able to taste the food without spending $100+ a person. My last dinner visit was me alone at the sushi bar (mostly sashimi for me) and I spent $200 by myself.
I've had the sushi platter, other sushi plates, and bites of whole fish (utterly amazing). Though pricey, I'm crazy about the place and the quality of what I've eaten. So I'll say...
By the way, I think the bar's the most fun, so I'd grab a couple of seats there. That way, you get to see a lot of food going past, to give you an idea of what to order. And I'd probably read up on the best things before going.
Went intending to get the bento lunch but arrived just after 2:30, so we ordered from the interim lounge menu.
1 glass shochu, $12
22 oz. Morimoto black obi soba beer, $15
22 oz. Morimoto soba beer, $15
wagyu flatbread, $12
rock shrimp tempura, $19
The standout was the tempura: great shrimp, generous portion, two different sauces, one a little spicy and the other with wasabi.
The wagyu flatbread was also excellent, combined elements of shwaerma wrap and banh mi, seasonings were restrained so the great flavor of the grilled beef came through.
Dumplings were half a dozen good if not memorable wontons with a little crunchy salad and a couple of twigs of excellent pig ear. Disappointing for the price.
Kimchi was a fail. Nappa was average, shisito was bad (pickling brought out the bitterness), not even sure what the bland third thing was.
Good service and it was nice sitting in the shade looking at the river, but $100 for two half lunches? Ouch.
On the bright side, we had enough appetite left to check out Grace's Table's happy hour. The server there said if she's walking by Morimoto and sees someone she knows, she walks in to say hi, grabbing a fork on the way.
We did end up at Morimoto for dinner and had a good experience. The restaurant is a really nice space. Had the toro and dumplings to start, both of which were excellent. Went with the dumplings with the tomato confit and bacon foam and they were really interesting and delicious. I had the Braised Black Cod and my husband had the whole fish and both of those were also excellent. I think the fact that it was something that was really different from what we have been eating was also a factor in how much we enjoyed it. The service was also excellent. It is certainly pricy, but I think we both felt like it was such a different experience, it was worth it.