Under the famous highlight park in the meat packing district of NYC, Morimoto’s gorgeous modern sushi restaurant sparkles with a textured canopy ceiling, a glowing glass wall and a huge wooden sushi bar. I managed to score a last minute reservation, their last booking for the evening.
The list of appetizers was so enticing with carpacios and sashimis, fritters and tartares that we could scarcely make up our minds. We settled on the wagyu beef tartare with spicy aioli, tropical fruit and caviar. ($25) The beef was very lightly seared and the dish was delicious, although for me it only stood slightly above the many dishes I eat like this in Vancouver all the time. The Morimoto Sashimi followed, ($28) with seared toro, salmon, eel, tuna, hamachi layered on top of each other and cut into six portions, each with a different topping, such as caviar. And in a Morimoto touch, it came with 5 sauces in tiny plastic squeeze bottles. I have never seen sashimi prepared in such a delicate presentation, nor such a layered combination. It was a deliciously confusing bite of textures and tastes. But while the sauces brought me Iron Chef joy, but they were many and watery. The gimmick was fun but did not add anything for me.
For a main course we ordered the braised black cod in a ginger-soy reduction. ($23) The cod was show-stoppingly delicious, but the plate was large and bare, this should have been an appetizer. The wagyu filet & hamachi ribbons was more like it, with herbed potatoes, crushed citrus & avocado. ($39) This was perfection and fully satisfying.
For desert I tried the sesame hazelnut layer cake ($12) with a green tea, white chocolate, mandarin-plum sake sorbet. This is without a doubt one of the best deserts I have ever had in my life. I would go back for this alone.
Overall, Morimoto serves impeccable fish of every description and delivers a presentation that leaves no doubt that you are under the care of the Iron Chef. Going again I would be more careful about ordering a small Main and sharing plates may be a better strategy. But the atmosphere, delicious food, and the great sake, tea and desert menu make for a wonderful meal. We were lucky to have Morimoto himself in the house, and when he walked by the table, I tried to stay cool while I flushed with celebrity tingles. And on another note altogether, as we were eating, the ladies of Penthouse arrived en masse, wearing festive Cinco de Mayo sombreros and accompanied by none other than world-class douchebag Bob Sagat. The staff seemed slightly horrified and they told us they asked for the hats not to be worn, but who is going stand up to that much silicon?
8 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011-4721, United States