For years I've watched Morimoto kick culinary butt on Iron Chef. So when I learned that his restaurant was based in Philly, I was super excited to make a reservation. So how was dinner you ask? Well, it freakin' kicked culinary butt.
I was a little hesitant about ordering the Omakase (the tasting menu) because I'm not a fan of raw fish, but I really wanted to order the Omakase because I wanted to experience Morimoto's talent and depth. When I asked the waiter if I could do the tasting menu sans sashimi, his answer was a confident, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you." And boy, did he ever. The lesson here: if you're going to be dining at an Iron Chef's restaurant, trust the Iron Chef and his staff completely.
The bf and I went with the $120 menu (there was also an $80 menu) because we wanted "the higher quality ingredients." Yes, the lobster and the kobe beef were worth the extra $40.
mine: a HUGE chunk of fresh snow crab mixed with crunchy fried scallions and topped with buttery avocado (you know how much work it takes to retrieve that much crab meat from a crab?)
the bf: tuna tartare + caviar (his favorite dish of the night)
mine: kumamoto oyster tempura with 3 sauces: japanese salsa, ceviche (it was amazing - green, fresh, lime-intense - my favorite), and thai fish sauce
the bf: raw, kumamoto oysters with the above 3 sauces
3rd course: seared scallops for the both of us (definitely the highlight of the night - I can't stop thinking about this dish!! the scallops were sliced thin and were so delicate and fresh, but it was the sauce that blew us away ... the most perfect sauce that ever was made!!!!)
mine: seared sashimi microgreen salad (least favorite dish of the night)
the bf: sashimi microgreen salad
home-made berry/vinegar soda to cleanse our palette ... this is where we learned that dinner was going to be 8 courses! We actually thought it was going to be 5 or 7 ... what a pleasant, belly-bustin' surprise!
5th course: Lobster 'Epice for the both of us - loved it, especially the chive creme fraiche
6th course: melt-in-your-mouth Kobe steak - really, really loved it, especially since I saved some of my lobster to eat with my Kobe ... can we say decadent??
mine: the best, darn California rolls that ever existed (chock full of snow crab, avocado, cucumber, and black sesame seeds - Morimoto didn't even have the need to use any mayo)
the bf: nigiri that rivaled the nigiri he had in Japan
8th course: green tea tiramisu - at first, I was a little wary/disappointed because I don't like green tea BUT it didn't taste like green tea at all! It had a white chocolate bottom and a green tea caramel sauce and it was really light and refreshing and COMPLETELY cleansed our mouth - magic!
Drinks: I don't think you can go wrong with any of the cocktails - I ordered the lychee cosmo and it was really good! The bf ordered the Morimoto Rogue beer tasting and loved it.
Overall: We couldn't stop smiling. We smiled while we ate. We smiled while we chewed. We smiled while we swallowed and drank and before, after, and in-between courses. Everything was delicate.
ATMOSPHERE: Um ... this place is really, really cool. I love the hip, artsy, long, narrow, clean white+changing colors design of the restaurant. The ceiling is made of wood and is in the shape of a wave of water. The chairs ... they are the most comfortable restaurant chairs ever. Since you're going to spend at least 2 hours dining, comfy seats are a major plus. And the service is top-notch. *Applause*