I do not think there was ever one time or one dish that was disappointing whenever we went to Morimoto, the eponymous restaurant of Acclaimed Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. We went few times to his New York location and I was excited to try the one in Philadelphia as it is his first location. And I was again not disappointed, the whole experience being fantastic, from the vibrant decor to the service that was on point, without forgetting the amazing food.
The decor was modern, a bit futuristic, with lights changing from time to time. I loved the area that was for couples, on each side of the restaurant, not to close to the other tables, giving a sense of intimacy, if it was not for the noise level. The only thing I would have removed was this phallic lamp right in the middle of the table that could not be moved and so made sharing dishes not that convenient.
As it was our last night of celebration of Jodi's degree, I decided to get myself some sake and picked the Dassai, Otto fest 50 from Yamaguchi, Japan, a well rounded sake with hints of honey and orange blossom.
We decided to try new dishes this time and first was a pretty interesting appetizer: the yosedofu, that is table side made tofu served with crab ankake (made with starch, giving like a gelée texture), wasabi, soy sauce and puffed rice for an extra crunch. What was interesting was to see them making the tofu. It comes in the form of soy milk, in a quite hot pot, that they leave covered for ten minutes, until the tofu is formed. It seems easy, but apparently it is not, the soy milk needing to have the right fat content and be at the right temperature. If it was easy, I would probably make it myself, because it does not taste at all like tofu you buy at the supermarket or you find in restaurants: no, this one was silkier and melted in my mouth.
The other thing I liked about this dish is that it is a bit build your own, that makes it playful and you can play with the flavors adding a bit of this or that. It also makes it the perfect dish to share, even if the person you are sharing with does not like crab or is vegetarian.
Then came the entrées: Jodi went for the black cod miso that was sublime, the fish being perfectly cooked and having a delicious crispy skin that retained the miso flavor. There were also black beans in the dish that were surprisingly sweet.
She also ordered a side of mushrooms (sake butter Japanese mushrooms) that were delicious.
On my side, I got the duck duck duck, a dish that would satisfy duck connoisseurs. It was duck three ways: roasted duck breast, duck confit fried rice and a duck egg that was sunny side up, with a runny yolk to mix with the rice. The duck breast was perfectly cooked, juicy, with a nice fat.
And the fried rice was succulent, with bits of confit in it, giving a nice saltiness to the dish.
Last was dessert. There were many that looked amazing and we opted for the chocolate key lime pie, a twist on a classic dessert that was delicious. From the outside, it looked like a chocolate tart, with caramel and chocolate nibs on top, as well as some meringue on the sides of the plate, next to fresh raspberries.
But, in the center, was the key like me piece of it, pairing very well with the chocolate. I should also mention, on top of the tart, the raspberry-wasabi sorbet that was surprising: when eating it, you first get the taste of the wasabi and then the raspberry. This was an interesting combination and highlighted, again, the creativity of Chef Morimoto.
We had a great time at Morimoto: this place is my favorite when it comes to elegant Japanese cuisine. I highly recommend it if you want to try other things than sushi and sashimi: the creative dishes there will blow your mind. And there is no question that I would go back!
Enjoy (I did)!
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