Sunday, July 08, 2012

Morimoto, NYC: New York

Date:  dimanche 8 juillet 2012
Location:  88 10th Avenue
New York, NY  10011
Telephone:  +1 212 989 8883

Soledad score on scale of 10:  7

Downstairs bar area:  A private 4 seating table.  Great acoustics for meal discussions.

A New York City must-drop-in place to grab a drink in sexy, swank environment, and order a few slices of sushi at the bar.  Would like to come back for the omakase Chef's menu one day.  

The Morimoto drink menu and main menu.  Sleek and minimalist, typical Japanese style.

The Experience:
Alright, I have high expectations when it comes to food and wine.  I'm a die hard San Franciscan semi-hipster (been known to trot down to Mission for a drink bra-less in t-shirt, jeans, flip flops, unwashed hair, 4 eyes) - and can also play the ouh-lah-lah dress-up when needed.  I'm not that into New York food.  Look around and you'll see... not a whole lot of farms (Napa valley farm:table).  Which means, the base ingredients of dishes in NYC won't be able to equate to the quality of produce from San Francisco.  Of course, unless you've lived in San Francisco for more than 5 years as a local - then you really won't know what I'm talking about (since your palate will literally have been transformed by that time).

However, every city has its characteristic goodies.  New York is great if you're a meat eater (I am not).  Imported bloody cow meats, etc., New York is great for that.  Another thing New York is very good at is - SUSHI.  Basically, anything that is alright to be palatable Fed-ex'd and served up on the spot, has a winning chance in New York (produce doesn't stand a chance here, sorry).

Quite simply, Morimoto is a posh, swank joint with consistent high grade sushi you can always rely on.  I've always liked it.  Sure, it's not 15 East or Brushstroke quality, but it's pretty darn good.  Which means, it far outweighs any average sushi bar around your corner.  Of course, you'll pay a pretty penny for each small morsel too.  But you'll never be disappointed.

I stepped into Morimoto today just as they opened, at 530pm on a Sunday afternoon.  Had just left my Cooliris boys who were visiting NY from SF this week, and as they hopped off to a business dinner, the night was still young, so I decided to revisit this cool spot for a drink and some sushi.  I'll never get a chance on weeknights that much is certain (something called work where the delivery resourcing effort was grossly miscalculated by "someone").    

I love the entrance to Morimoto.  it's like walking up into your own real-life movie.  Reminiscent of Tron/Matrix, bit industrial, very A-List type, with a Sho-Gun appeal.  Makes sense yeah?

Morimoto's grand entrace.  

As soon as I stepped in, I was graciously and respectfully greeted by the hostess.  They saw me standing outside before stepping in, and told me they admired my dress.  My little "romantic" dress with lip-prints that I picked up at a Tel Aviv boutique on Sheinkin Street called "BOO."  Haha.  It's one of my favorite dresses I agree.  Even though I was wearing flip-flops (so darn hot in New York!), they didn't grimace.  I happily led myself down to their minimalist bar area downstairs, lit up by glowing ice-blue dim club-like lighting, and intense, dark red lighting emanating from a beam on the bar dining floor to the right.  Very sexy feel!  I can imagine this place filling up with loads of people on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays. But today near 6pm on a Sunday evening, it was cool, relaxed, not crowded, and there was a lot of room to breathe.  Very comfortable.  Oh, I love the groovy lounge music they play too.  I was very reminiscent of Hong Kong at this moment.

Downstairs bar area, where I always prefer to be seated.  

Cocktails at Morimoto aren't incredible (I was spoiled last week at Spruce and considering the Morimoto price ($15 on average), I certainly expected a lot more than a simply shaken alchoholic beverage with some fresh squeezed lemon/lime/orange juice and a few sprigs of leaves in it.  But hey, so I was sipping on my cool-down drink escaping the New York summer heat, in a swanky cool (super aircon cool) nicely lit bar, and sexy tunes playing... yeah I was feeling pretty alright I admit!

My Shiso Leaf Cocktail:  Bombay Gin, Shiso, Fresh Lime, Soda. 

I tried the Wagyu beef carpaccio appetizer.  Tender, juicy, slightly bloody, slices of fresh raw beef... mmmmmmmmmmm.....  good thing I didn't have to share!

Sexy Wagyu Beef Carpaccio:  prepared with yuzu soy, ginger, sweet garlic.

Next task at hand was to order a few pieces of sushi.  If you're a true foodie, you'll know never to eat sushi on weekends since fish is always delivered fresh on weekdays.  I know, I know, but I just HAD to eat sushi this weekend, so I broke my own rule.  It's okay.  Regardless, my sushi morsels were still beautiful and tasted incredible.  Fresh fish just LOOKS correct.  Non fresh fish has a sallow, depressed, unshiny look about it.  I was happy!

Sushi Left to Right:  Hamachi, Saba, Hamaguri, Ikura, Uni, ginger.

I didn't think I would do it (order anything else)... but after I perused the rest of the menu for just a peek... I couldn't stop wondering what Morimoto's ramen tasted like!  So why not I said.  It was still my first meal of the day afterall.

The ramen wasn't what I expected.  Usually, ramen comes with a bunch of fixings placed inside the noodle bowl).  Instead, what came was a very simple, clean, heavenly aromatic, clear chicken broth.  A few pieces of hand torn chicken, their take on ramen noodles, and seaweed as garnish to add a bit of extra salty-sweet.  This ramen was really delicious, and I certainly could have used this back in May when I was sick for  2.5 weeks in Tel Aviv, and then another month in Hong Kong and New York.  Chicken noodle ramen soup.      So if you live in New York, and if you get terribly ill and cannot cook for yourself, and the only thing that can cure you is a healthy bowl of fresh chicken ramen noodle soup - then Morimoto is your answer!  I do think the broth was a bit too salty... probably to appease the typical New Yorker "heavy on the salt" palate;  so my fault for not reminding them low sodium broth please (I don't think it was MSG since my face didn't tingle or blow up).  While I did enjoy it very much, it doesn't beckon a call back for me.  I guess I'm a traditional ramen girl and like mine chock full of goodies, including a poached egg.  :-D

Morimoto Ramen "The Iron Chef" Chicken Noodle Soup.

Alas, I didn't have room for dessert.  As my little sister remarked whilst she saw my instagram uploads.... "you sure are eating a lot today!!"  :-D  Oink oink.  I ordered a hot green tea to help me digest... and was feeling overall quite relaxed and well satiated.

Oh!  I mustn't forget the pretty, psychedelic, minimalist restrooms!  Each fully enclosed restroom has its own Toto washlet.  Every sophisticated restaurant ought to have only Toto washlets.   Beyond that, was a mirror of reflecting floating cherry blossoms that continued on to infinity.  I snapped a picture of my reflection.  It reminded me of those Japanese ghost stories of floating heroines... kinda creepy but at the same time different and artsy.

Morimoto restroom reflection... with individual Toto washlets!  And cherry blossom reflection to infinity.. 

My previous blog mention on Morimoto 11 fevrier 2011: