You may have noticed that at the bottom of every one of my restaurant posts, there’s a graphic with the restaurant’s info on it – address, neighborhood, phone number, etc. That nifty little graphic is courtesy of UrbanSpoon; I’ve been using them for years to pull relevant info on restaurants for you, my dear readers. I’ve had a pretty good relationship with them for ages, so when recently one of their people was visiting NYC and asked if I’d like to meet up for dinner to discuss technology and its future with restaurants, I happily agreed.
I actually no longer have ads on my site, but I often get invited to participate in cool things like this, which … sort of … balances it out, I guess. Anyway, we went to Morimoto, one of my favorite fusion restaurants, and we ordered a slew of dishes. First up: oysters topped with uni and foie gras. The salinity of the oyster was a bit lost with the teriyaki sauce; the richness of the foie gras was super present and the uni sort of melted away. While I liked the bite just fine, I felt it was a waste of each ingredient, as none of them was allowed to shine, nor did the combination elevate the whole to be greater than the sum of its individual parts. I doubt I’d order this again, though it was interesting to try.
It is impossible for me to go to Morimoto and not order the toro tartare, though I find it increasingly difficult to share with people – especially those I don’t know very well. They’ve changed the presentation slightly – from the wooden tray with wooden scraper to a plexiglass? board with metal scrapers, but the same rules apply: you scrape across the board, then scrape across the condiments board: avocado crema, creme fraiche, seaweed paste, chives, wasabi creme, and crunchy rice bits, alongside a small cup of dashi soy for dipping. The perfect combination of complexity, whimsy and straight up fun. I love this dish.
The fun thing about going to Morimoto is that no matter how many times I go, it seems I find a new favorite each time I go. Seared tuna and mizuna salad was close – though you sand see it quite that clearly, underneath that mess of green on top were perfectly seared cubes of tuna with matching sizes of avocado. The light dressing and slight bitterness of the mizuna matched the tuna perfectly and I found myself happily eating every last bit.
Uni and ikura was another dish that didn’t do it for me. While there was plenty of uni, the overall dish was incredibly soft, lacking a textural contrast that was desperately needed. Flavorwise, it was fine, if a bit one-note – creamy uni, salty salmon roe, but… it needed more. Rice crackers to scoop up the blobs of uni, perhaps?
Whoa, what is wrong with this picture? So bright. Anyway, crispy rock shrimp tempura – one of my prior favorite dishes – was still delicious, if no longer a favorite. On the left: wasabi slicked pieces of deliciously fried rock shrimp, which boasts all the texture of lobster; denser and meatier than shrimp that size normally is. The middle dish was the same, but dressed with gochujang or Korean red pepper paste… a nice kick, like Asian-influenced buffalo wing sauce. A great dish, always a crowd pleaser.
Their seasonable vegetable was charred ramps and… ah, I forget the exact details now, but I’ll shrug it off with knowing that you can’t get this now regardless as ramps are way out of season now. In any case, while tasty, I was pretty surprised that this dish was served cold. But not a negative… just surprised.
A side of Chinese broccoli that was slightly overcooked.
My dining companions’ dishes: yellowtail dolsot bibimbop (yellowtail cooked on hot stone bowl tableside, mixed into rice) and chirashi. Everyone seemed super happy with their dishes.
I went very classic and ordered the braised black cod, which was, as expected, absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked. The ginger soy glaze over the fish was the right combination of sweet and savory for the rich, buttery fish. I happily inhaled this and called it a night.
Delicious dinner, as usual; one of the things I love about Morimoto is that as many times as I’ve been, as many times as I go, I can always order something different and be surprised by something new. Sure, some dishes weren’t to my liking, but there’s still always something to discover as the menu changes, but the same favorites to return to over and over again if I want.
Thank you, Urbanspoon, for the delicious meal!