Thursday, November 26, 2009

It's Up to You Morimoto

        A couple of weeks ago, my cousin took me out for lunch at Morimoto.  Morimoto has arguably the best Japanese food in Philly, so I was pretty excited for some good quality sushi. My cousin, however, being the experienced world traveler and food guru, recommended the omakase. I had never heard of the word, much less tried it so I decided to give it a shot.
              For those of you as cultured as I am in the art of Japanese cuisine, omakase (お任せ)translates to “it’s up to you.” Omakase gives a chance for the chef to have a little fun and showcase his cuisine through a series of dishes that change slightly with every visit. I likened it to Iron Chef where the chef chooses to prepare certain dishes to show his skill and creativity. The chef also uses some unique or higher quality ingredients, which makes for a luxurious experience. 
              Unfortunately, I missed out on having the best omakase in the world at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo this summer.  That doesn’t mean that I merely “settled” for the omakase at Morimoto. It was still quite good. The lunch omakase prices range from $40 to $80. I had the $60, and it was totally worth it. We had more than five courses and had some imported tuna belly and caviar.
              My personal favorites were the first and last course. The first course was toro tartare with caviar, tempura, scallions, and fresh wasabi. It had a very clean, refreshing taste. The spicy wasabi complemented the salty caviar, and the tempura flake added a nice crunchy texture that I really like. The last course was flourless chocolate cake with mousse and caramel sauce. The cake was 56% cocoa and came in just the right portion size. The mousse contrasted nicely with the cake, which made it rich but not overwhelming. I never imagined that the best flourless chocolate cake I have ever had would come out of a Japanese place.
              Other courses included a shrimp tempura (tasty but kind of average), scallop carpaccio (it just melts in your mouth), Chilean seabass with a black bean sauce (a little salty for my liking), and sashimi that included tuna belly imported from Japan (the best sushi I’ve had since going to Tokyo this summer). Overall, I found omakase quite satisfying. For the variety and quality of foods you try in one sitting, it really is worth every penny. 

Article by Samantha Shen

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