A couple weeks ago, I visited New York City, a place that only surpasses Chicago in its food. Of the many culinary delights that I enjoyed with Andrew, my boyfriend, one restaurant stood out in an area aside from its food: Morimoto. Morimoto is an upscale, chic restaurant located in the Chelsea/Meatpacking District of Manhattan. You may have heard of it because the chef, Masaharu Morimoto, is best known as an Iron Chef. Before I begin raving about dinner at Morimoto, though, let me outline a wonderful afternoon plan for the day:
- 1:30 pm: Go to Chelsea Market for a late lunch – don’t just stop into one restaurant and have a meal! Make sure you go into every little shop, whether it’s Ruthy’s Bakery or the seafood market (Figure 1), and get a taste of what each place has to offer. Some are over the top superb while you will find that others are just plain let-downs. Overall, though, Chelsea Market is a unique experience for any foodie. Look down to tips for where to go in Chelsea Market.
- 3:30 pm: Go up to the High Line and walk off all the food! It used to be an elevated freight line, but it is now refurbished into a public park with unique views of the Chelsea District (Figure 2). Bring a camera and perhaps practice your photography skills!
- 5:30 pm: Reservation at Morimoto! (Figure 3)
At Morimoto, I discovered my new favorite martini: the Hydrangea Martini (Figure 4). I am under a spell of girly martinis, but I do not go for the unadventurous Cosmo. Out of my share of fruity martinis, Morimoto’s concoction is polished from the fragrant smell of hydrangeas (which represent the beat of one’s heart) to the taste of lychee. I cannot emphasize how refreshing, classy and romantic this drink is!
My boyfriend started off with a trio of the freshest sashimi/sushi (Figure 5). I personally do not enjoy raw delicacies, but Andrew had more than complimentary words for his three pieces of mackerel, sea urchin and live octopus. We also had lobster fritters (Figure 6), which are like little round gifts of lightly fried lobster meat topped with the perfect amount of aioli. These are definitely a must-have and are easy to eat!
For our entrees, we ordered some udon, duck and tofu. These staple Asian ingredients do not sound quite that exciting, but it is the way each is prepared that really stands out at Morimoto. The udon is done three ways (Figure 7), but the spinach udon exceeded the others by leagues due to its healthy flavoring.
Now the duck dish is called “duck duck duck” because it is duck done three ways (Figure 8). This platter brought back memories of some real Peking duck, which I cannot wait for when I go to Beijing this summer! But the best part about this dish was not the actual duck—it was the poached duck egg. I just love how the yolk oozes when broken, and spreading the yolk on the duck banh mi (the one in the very front of the picture) made the dish all the better!
I am saving the best dish for last: Yosedofu (Figure 9). This is actually tofu prepared tableside! A bowl of what seemed to be steaming soy milk was brought out and mixed with salt water. Then we were told to let it sit with the lid on for around 10 minutes (it was sort of difficult to do because I am quite the impatient person, especially when the food is sitting in front of me), which resulted in a fresh, soft and delightful-tasting tofu! Served with crab ankake and soy sauce, this interactive dish is quite an experience and definitely worth the enticing wait!
There is one more thing you must experience at Morimoto: the bathroom. I have always heard about those smart toilets (not just the common automatic flush, heated toilet seats or self-rotating plastic covers), but I have never experienced one. Imagine my surprise when I walk into a stall to see a smart toilet sitting in front of an infinity mirror with cherry blossoms (Figure 10)! I sit and check out all the buttons they have. I first press “Rear Cleansing”, and nothing happened so I immediately press “Front Cleansing”. Still, nothing happened for over 5 seconds so I started to get up, and that’s when it started working. I had a wet spot on my jeans in the crotch area. Thankfully I was able to find the “Stop” button relatively quickly. After that, I definitely did not want to experiment with the “Oscillating” button. Lesson learned: be patient.
- Stop by Ruthy’s Bakery just to check out their bakery art – from Angry Birds cupcakes to delicious coconut macaroons (Figure 11)! Stay away from their colorful macaroons, though – they are nothing special.
- Make sure you go to the Filling Station for a souvenir jar that you can fill with adventurous local brews (Figure 12)! With a cheaper refill of the jar, they really get at the 3 environmental R’s: Reuse, Refill and Recycle =)
- Get your dessert at Bar Suzette—there is a wide selection of crepes from Nutella-filled dessert crepes (Figure 13) to savory crepes that will no doubt fulfill your palette!
- If you enjoy watching your food getting made, get the Yosedofu.
- Make sure you go check out the bathroom!!!
I would rate the food at Morimoto with a 5.0, but my experience with the toilet just had to bring the rating down a bit...