Morimoto got panned in the New York Times. One star after spending the amount of time and energy in a space that large must be painful to the owners. It would be to me.
We go out every 2 months or so with 2 other couples for dinner. One of us, not me, is a big time restaurant chef/owner. Needless to say when where ever we have gone, we get special treatment and a good meal. We also get extras sent over because the chef wants our chef to taste. It is part of the customs between chefs.
Last night we checked out Morimoto. The space is huge. It appears to have 5 different seating areas and a downstairs bar area. There are long tables, small tables, tables between glass partitions, tatami seating too. Very Disneyland like. The basement is one big poured concrete mass. The bathrooms have hot seats and different buttons for washing yourself. I guess it is big in Japan or Philadelphia? For such a huge to do, the work looked very worn and not fresh.
Let's talk about the food. Awful. We considered the chef's tasting menu but the options sounded unappealing. They also served sushi and the beginning vs. the end like most Japanese chefs do. Something was unappealing about eating grilled beef after sushi. We opted for sharing.
We shared 6 cold and 6 hot appetizers. We each ordered our own sushi. We also split 2 main courses. The cold started with a corned beef like yellow tail, lamb carpacchio, mozzarella with different fish on top of the small pieces, oysters with foie gras, tuna tartare and a cold chicken salad. The tuna tartare is served on a small wooden tray, pounded out. Another part of the appetizers is a flat wooden tray that has 8 different layers across of what you can mix in with that. Scallions, sour cream, etc. Like the clothes this season, it is completely way over thought. The only thing semi-edible was the poached chicken that had some decent tasting dipping sauce with it.
The warm appetizers fared no better. Tuna pizza (the Mercer kitchen also makes one that makes Morimotos taste like fast food ), lobster dumplings, fried gyoza and rock shrimp tempura 2 ways. The tempura wasn't bad. One was a spicy orange sauce and the other was a wasabi type sauce that wasn't particularly tasty. We also had the tofu that they make at your table. It is a production. The tofu was disgusting with horrible tasting dips. I took one bite and shoved it away.
The sushi, which should be good, wasn't. It was the rice. I can make better rice at home. Even your local sushi guy can make better rice. It tasted like it had been sitting around since 6am that morning.
Desserts came. Nothing worth discussing. Morimoto was there and he never came out of the kitchen to say hello to our friend. They didn't send over one extra to taste. The place is outrageously expensive. I know I am being redundant but the food was just awful. I woke up this morning and said to Fred again, after saying it last night, that was awful!! He totally agreed.
Bottom line, don't go. I would be surprised to see this place make it. Disneyland type restaurants with bad food generally have a very short life. If I was to review Morimoto, I wouldn't even be kind enough to give him one star. He gets a big zero from me.