Does Morimoto Live Up to the Hype?

I am prejudiced.
There, I said it.
Not based on someone’s color or creed…but by their HYPE. I tend to think that the more people like something the less great it is. I just never got over that ‘I’m an angry anarchist teenager’ thing, I guess.
Except for The Real Housewives Series. Everyone likes that because it is AWESOME.
Anyway…
I fought going to Morimoto. I watch Iron Chef. I love Japanese food. And yet…this guy must hardly ever be in the kitchen. The menu is so huge, how can it be good at everything? It is near the Meatpacking District, for the sake of all that is obnoxious and over priced.
Why do I always fight things that make me happy in the end?
The space was gorgeous-all glass and white fabric, with a clean and almost post-modern look. It was elegant and hip, but not especially formal, which I appreciated.

We had the night’s special appetizer, which was a serving of day boat Nantucket scallops with fresh uni and a bonito gelee.

Perfection. the scallops had that sweet, mellow taste that only TRULY fresh scallops have, and were as tender as could be. The uni was briny and clean and the gelee gave the whole thing a pleasing smoky aftertaste, not unlike bacon. What a perfect way to whet the appetite!

10 Hour Pork ‘Kakuni’-braised pork belly with hot rice porridge.
Oh. For. Pete’s. SAKE!
The pork was slow braised for hours until it was tender enough to be cut with a pork, but not too soft or mushy. It was incredibly pork-y tasting with no gushy fat, just a layer of crispy skin. The whole salty-sweet affair was lain on a loose rice ‘porridge’ whose creamy texture and neutral flavor PERFECTLY complimented the highly flavored and unctuous pork. Topped with crispy noodles, it was fantastic.
Beef Curry Bread. Brioche-like bread, fried to a crunchy golden finish on the outside with an airy finish on the inside. Wrapped around that particular Japanese type of curry that is a slightly sweet and slightly spicy sort of ground beef chili. this was basically like awesome finger food. I would eat this at a Super Bowl party.
Well, let’s be honest: 
I would eat like 16 of these at a Super Bowl party.

 Duck Duck Duck -crispy skinned breast of duck with a foie gras brushed croissant, roasted duck leg and duck egg.
Though I did not get this for my main, I am focusing on this because the bit that I tried was the best bite of the night. That duck leg was out of this WORLD. Meaty, not at ALL greasy, tender and juicy beyond compare. It had a primal, almost funky taste that usually only offal or aged meat gets, and it worked SO well next to the gingerbread-tinged flavor of the perfectly crispy skin. The duck egg is rich and creamy and I am pretty sure the croissant was great, considering how quickly it disappeared.
My new favorite duck in NYC.

Apple Turban, made with apples, apple cider vinegar and pineapple and served with cinnamon ice cream. This was an absolute ode to the clean, tart, sweet flavor of the apple. The apples were satiny smooth and melted on the tongue smoothly, with no graininess. They were sweet and the pineapple was a hit of tropical freshness. The sauce was simultaneously rich and lightly acidic, with the apple cider vinegar balancing out the sugary apples and the spicy-sweet ice cream.
What a delicious meal! I can’t believe that I judged it so harshly! The room was beautiful, the service was excellent, and the food was so darn delicious I am drooling as I type. Although it isn’t cheap, the prices are not out of line with what you expect to spend on a nice meal out. Most entrees are between $26 – $36. If you don’t drink, you can easily get out of here for about $115 for two people, totally satisfied, totally relaxed, and…if you are me…
Totally admitting that you have to get over your prejudice.

Comments

  1. JustinM says:

    If you have Morimoto cater your Super Bowl party, I will attend.

  2. Joanne says:

    Not gonna lie, I am all for fighting the hype as well. Except for the real housewives. You and I, we are so alike.

    I'm so glad this meal lived up to the hype, otherwise I would have been quite devastated. I might not have even been able to watch Iron Chef ever again.

  3. catty says:

    I love LOVE LOVE when you expect nothing out of a place and you end up loving it. Much better than the other way around when you have high hopes and it all sucks!

  4. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Justin-duly noted!
    @Joanne-we SO are, girlfriend! And you know I just love Iron Chef, too!!
    @Catty-ugh, isn't that the truth!!!

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