Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bits & Morsels

The sushi platter at Morimoto.

This past week I dined at the very cool Morimoto with a group of friends. We met up for dinner at around nine o’clock and the restaurant was jammed. Morimoto, located at 88 Tenth Avenue, is named for Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto.

The atmosphere of Morimoto is both hip and tranquil. The look of the restaurant is contemporary, gray, and streamlined. It is aesthetically pleasing and pretty groovy from the illuminated wall of bottles to the translucent chopsticks. The cuisine at Morimoto runs the gamut from traditional Japanese food to more modern takes on the traditional. If sushi isn’t your thing, you need not worry as there are plenty of warm cooked dishes as well. The two most popular appetizers are the toro tartar and the smoked salmon ravioli. We had to ask and we had to order them both.

The tartar was beautifully presented in a bowl of crushed ice with caviar and other accompaniments such as wasabi and crème fraiche. And the Toro melted in our mouths (exactly as it should). The smoked salmon ravioli was also a good choice. It was visually appealing, the flavors were subtle; overall, the dish came together beautifully. Many of the dishes at Morimoto are prepared tableside and so they are worth ordering just to observe the activity. The yellowtail on rice was cooked in a hot ceramic bowl ... think fried rice taken to a (much) higher level.

I am an Iron Chef fan so it was thrilling just to dine at Morimoto. The highlight of my night (the impressive food aside) was actually meeting the man himself, chef Morimoto. He was gracious and cheerful, just as he appears on Iron Chef. [Morimoto]
The streamlined decor at Morimoto.
Ishi yaki buri bop — yellowtail on rice cooked table side in a hot stone bowl.
House smoked salmon ravioli. Fried Chiayu — Japanese baby sweet fish
Spicy salmon rolls.
Clockwise from top left: Chef Masaharu Morimoto; Views from the sushi bar (2); Crispy salmon skin roll; A side of wasabi and ginger.
Left, top to bottom: Toro tartare, osetra caviar, crème fraîche, wasabi, dashi-soy; Sea bass sweet sake kasu, japanese eggplant, miso; Surf & turf, kobe filet & hamachi ribbons, herbed potatoes, crushed citrus and avocado (prepared tableside). Right, top to bottom: Warm chocolate cake with Whiskey caramel, tobacco creme, and popcorn ice cream; Chocolate hazelnut mousse cake with pomegranate gelee and green apple sorbet.
Top Chef's Richard Blais at Morimoto.
I went back to Morimoto last night for a quick and tasty dinner at the sushi bar and who was sitting next to me but Top Chef's very own Richard Blais. He was in town pitching some television ideas and he had just come from a dinner at Tailor. I love the energy at Morimoto and that every time I go there I meet someone interesting.

I'm looking forward to trying Matsugen,
the new Japanese restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The restaurant which serves soba noodles and sashimi is located in the old 66 space at 241 Church Street. [Jean Georges]

This dinner of side dishes sounds like my kind of meal. It utilizes fresh seasonal produce and with produce at its peak, now is a good time to start eating more of it and less meat. [Bitten]

Here are the results of a taste test done on colas.
The guidelines were that the colas not be diet and be widely available. The winner of the taste test was Mexican Coca-Cola which is sweetened with cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Mexican Coca-Cola is available at Costco. Coca-Cola Classic came in second place. [Al Dente]

“Under Pressure” will be geared towards professional chefs and will answer all the questions people have over this controversial cooking method. [The Moment]

Until we eat again,
Jordana Z.

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