If you were to ask the boy what his favorite restaurant in the city is chances are he would say Morimoto’s. Over the years we’ve been to the NYC location at least half a dozen times and have no plans on stopping our (almost) annual visits. When Pear’s birthday rolled around, we decided to take him there to celebrate.
We arrived about 30 minutes early for our reservation and were given the option of hanging out at the bar or being seated right away since they had tables open. We chose the latter and were whisked away to a table right in front of the open kitchen!
Once seated, we ordered some drinks to start off with. I can’t find the drink menu online so here’s what I can vaguely remember of it…
Pear chose a martini with sake and calpico as the base. Slightly citrus-y…light and refreshing!
I chose another sake based drink. It appeared to be a twist on a mojito. Completely opposite of what I usually order…this drink was sweet and fruity, but not overwhelmingly so. I was again reminded why I don’t like muddled drinks…I like my drinks to be clean and crisp. Here I found myself quietly spitting out pieces of mint leaves into my napkin. I don’t think I’d order this again, but I would recommend it.
I almost forgot about the boy’s “drink”. He decided to order a pot of tea. When he asked the waiter about the selections the waiter rattled off a pretty long list and the oolong sparked his interest. One pot of peach oolong tea on the way! I tried a sip and thought it had more fruit flavor than tea. But the boy seemed to like it enough. Later on during the meal the waiter came over to ask if he’d like the pot to be refreshed with hot water. The boy happily obliged.
The boy’s goal is to eventually try everything on the menu here. I have faith that we eventually will if we keep up our somewhat frequent visits! Its hard to try different things though when we clearly have our favorites.
One of the appetizers we have to order every time we come is the spicy king crab – tobanjan aioli, micro cilantro.
The price of this dish has gone up over the years. It now comes in at a hefty $34 – I think the first time we had this years ago it was about $29. But in our opinion, worth its price! This dish seems simple enough to replicate at home – crab legs with a spicy mayo sauce mixed with some tobiko and lightly heated through. Morimoto executes this dish so well and we love it so much that we prefer to just have it here instead of attempting it at home.
The final appetizer we decided on was the tempura calamari salad – white miso dressing, crispy shallots. We’ve ordered this salad quite a few times in the past as well. Another dish on our favorites list! Crispy calamari, field greens, light and tangy dressing…delish!
In between the appetizer and entree course, we decided to have some sushi. We knew that we’d be bordering dangerously on full by the time our entrees arrived, but how can you go to Morimoto’s and not get some sushi?! Especially since we were seated right in front of the bar!
Soft shell crab roll – deep fried soft shell crab, asparagus, tobiko, avocado, scallion, spicy sauce. This was the first time we ordered this and most likely won’t be the last! I could have done without the avocado and found that the end pieces were extremely hard to eat because of the size, but in the end we all gave it a thumbs up!
Spicy tuna roll – chopped tuna, scallion, spicy sauce. Unlike our local Japanese restaurants, the spicy tuna roll here does not consist of pulverized fish drowning in a heavy sauce. The tuna here is chunked in fairly large pieces and lightly dressed in the spicy sauce. The boys enjoyed the roll from what I could tell! The boy commented that you can actually taste the fish instead of it being overwhelmed by sauce.
The last time we were here the boy ordered the surf & turf – wagy filet & hamachi ribbons, herbed potatoes, crushed citrus & avocado (prepared tableside) He was so floored by the potatoes he decided that he had to have it again! The dish arrives with the surf portion prepared tableside. The waiter quickly dresses the avocado and hamachi with a citrus dressing and tosses it together. I tried a piece of the boy’s steak and it was good. But I’m not a huge red meat eater so I don’t have the same appreciation as he does for it. As a sidenote…the last time the boy ordered this dish we both fell in love with the potatoes. We couldn’t pinpoint the spice that was in them so we asked the waiter what it was. He said he’ll be right back…we had assumed that he went to ask the kitchen. Instead, he returned with a slip of paper printed with all of the ingredients in the dish! <the spice was star anise by the way!>
One thing that was different this time around was that they used baby potatoes instead of fingerlings like last time. However the potatoes were just as tender and good!
Pear ordered the braised black cod – ginger-soy reduction. Nothing bad to say about this dish! Moist, flaky, YUM!
The last few times we’ve been here I’ve ordered the same dish. Because it is THAT good! I guess I’d consider it my favorite! Seafood ‘toban yaki’ – half shell lobster, king crab, mussel, clam, diver scallop, red miso-sake broth. Gosh…where do I start? Hmm…well how about not using the word gosh again? The term toban yaki loosely translates to ‘roast on a ceramic plate’. Morimoto executes this perfectly! The miso broth is gently flavored with all of the juices from the seafood. That broth…oh how I love that broth! I usually order a side of rice so that I could spoon the broth over and eat it! In my experience though, almost every time the scallop has been overcooked. But that’s ok because I can never finish the dish anyway! Now this is something I need to learn how to replicate myself at home!
To pretend to be healthy we ordered a side of the Chinese broccoli. I would definitely pass on these next time. They were weak. Limp, greasy and bland! I dredged them through my miso broth and it helped bring them back to life a little bit…but overall not worth it.
We were all too full to even think about ordering dessert! Again, Morimoto did not disappoint! Almost everything was done perfectly and presented beautifully. We WILL be back!