Since the early days of the Food Network when they began showing reruns of Iron Chef (the original Iron Chef, not Iron Chef America), I have been obsessed. I have an Iron Chef apron. I have seen every single episode of Iron Chef (Japan), including both of the battles against Bobby Flay - rather epic, those episodes. And although Masaharu Morimoto wasn't in the original set, he joined a few years in as Iron Chef Japan and instantly became my favorite. When he started opening up restaurants in the US, I got crazy excited.
So last night we went to morimoto in NYC.
It did not disappoint.
First of all, it's beautiful. It's so well-decorated and simple with glass and shiny things and mood lighting. And the bathrooms! I know that sounds stupid, but trust me. If you go to morimoto, you need to go to the bathrooms downstairs by the bar. If you are a guy, even if you just need to pee, make sure to visit the stalls. I tried to take a picture but it was too dark, but seriously trust me. Not only does it look cool, but there are buttons. That do things. With the toilet. PRESS THEM.
So the waitstaff is wonderful. We didn't get any drinks, only water. I'll try to remember what everyone else got (we were there with my mother-in-law and Gibby's aunt and cousin).
For starters, I got the tuna pizza (bluefin tuna, anchovy aioli, jalapenos). It had been highly recommended, and oh boy did it deserve it. Now, you have to like tuna. And raw fish. But it is the most beautiful cut of sashimi ever. Several thin slices on top of a crispy tortilla crust, topped with red onion, aioli, jalapenos, and greens. LOVED IT.
Gibby got the Kobe beef carpaccio (yuzu soy, ginger, sweet garlic), which kind of freaked him out a little but he just loves good beef so he had to go with it. Carpaccio is typically very thin slices of raw beef (or fish), but at morimoto it was lightly seared on one side. Kind of like getting a burger cooked rare. He loved it!
Nancy and Carrie (MIL and aunt) both got a mixed green salad (kabosu vinaigrette, shaved bonito). They were not fans of the bonito but it had crispy shallots in it, too. Nancy also got the crispy rock shrimp tempura (spicy 'kochujan' sauce, wasabi aioli), which was definitely the table favorite. Oh my goodness. It was the lightest, most amazing tempura. Order it. Elsa (cousin) got tofu miso soup (white miso broth, silken tofu), which could have been ordinary except the tofu was freshly made and she said it was the best tofu ever created. Out of the appetizers we didn't order, I would have loved to have tried the yosedofu (fresh tofu prepared tableside, lobster ankake, dashi soy, fresh wasabi). If you eat meat, supposedly the Iron Chef Ramen Soup is fantastic.
Moving on to entrees, Gibby & I both ordered the same thing: ishi yaki buri bop (yellowtail on rice cooked at your table, in a hot stone bowl). Way cool. They brought big stone bowls of rice, seaweed, mushrooms, a raw egg, and raw fish. Then they pushed the fish on the side of the bowl to sear, stirred around the rice and egg, and when it was all said and done, we had some delicious seared fish and fried rice. We both LOVED it! And it was very neat. Be careful not to touch the bowl, though! It's hot!
Carrie and Elsa got an assortment of sushi, including eel and spicy tuna and some other pieces that they very much enjoyed. Nancy got the line-caught halibut (black bean sauce, shaved ginger, hot oil) and devoured it pretty quickly. She also ordered a side of crispy green beans, which tasted deliciously like french fries. Haha!
And then, of course, dessert. We were all full, but Gibby & Elsa & I decided to split the Creme de Chocolate, which was chocolate mousse topped with hazelnut ice cream, vanilla foam, blood orange reduction, little chocolate nibs, candied hazelnuts, and chocolate strips. It was sooooooo good.
It was a wonderful dining experience. I enjoyed every part of it. We were very happy! And for this caliber of restaurant, for five people, it was very reasonably priced (consider though that we did not order wine). I'm so happy to have finally experienced morimoto!