Morimoto’s Waikiki restaurant fits quite comfortably in Hawaii. His personal blend of traditional and modern Japanese cuisine fused with cooking techniques from around the world reflects the very essence of what Hawaii has to offer.
(Above: Morimoto Smoked Sashimi served with five sauces. Seared toro, salmon, eel, tuna, and hamachi.)
The Iron Chef’s venue is unsurprisingly opulent with Japanese sensibilities — that is to say, both grand and restrained at the same time. The decor is minimal yet extravagant, reflective opaque whites mix with wood and punches of green. We sat down to sample a range of the menu’s offerings.
The first to arrive was the Morimoto Smoked Sashimi, an impeccably plated stack of seared toro, salmon, eel, tuna, and hamachi served with laboratory-like squeeze tubes to dispense a variety of concentrated sauces. The presentation was all very Iron Chef like. Although the flavours were nice, the temperature of the fish felt lukewarm and the texture as if manhandled from too much primping.
(Above: Half dozen raw oysters served with a number of sauces – hot sauce, jalapeno.)
Next, a half dozen oysters on a bed of ice with a variety of flavours from traditional ponzu to hot sauce. The oysters were freshly out of the ocean — the creamy, sweet texture supplanted only by the restrained tart and tangy sauces that accompanied them.
(Above: Spicy King Crab with Tobanjan Aioli, tobiko, cilantro served with a side of fries.)
Spicy King Crab arrived with a side of fries drenched in a spicy, earthy Tobanjan Aioli. The crab meat was carefully dismantled and reassembled with surgeon-like precision into their shells. This is some of the most perfectly cooked crab meat we’ve had, and the Tobanjan Aioli is an incredibly flavourful sauce that amplifies this dish.
(Above: Kakuni. 10 Hour pork belly served on congee with soy-scallion jus.)
Our final course was the Kakuni — a pork belly stewed for 10 Hours and served on a shallow bath of congee. The promise of butter tender pork, however, fell short as the jerky-like texture was heinously dry.
(Above: Morimoto’s own Soba Ale from Portland’s Rogue Ale.)
Accompanying our meal is Morimoto’s own Soba Ale brewed by Portland’s Rogue Ale — a gentle ale that pairs well with the pan Asian menu. Case had the zen-like Coco Fraiche Martini, the transparent presentation belying the harmonious blend of Ciroc coconut Vodka, lime juice, lemongrass syrup in coconut water.
(Above: Chocolate Peanut Bombe – milk chocolate cremeaux with salted peanut ice cream.)
Our meal closed with the Chocolate Peanut Bombe, a pillowy soft milk chocolate creameux served with a side of salted peanut ice cream — the perfect way to end our Morimoto experience.
(Above: Coco Fraiche Martini – Ciroc Coconut Vodka, lime juice, lemongrass syrup and coconut water. $10)
Our dinner came to an obscene amount that befits a meal served at an Iron Chef’s restaurant. The missteps were simply tiny stumbles — picky grumblings, but overall it was an experience we wouldn’t take back.
Perfect for: Experiencing a taste of the Iron Chef, first hand.