Japanese at it’s finest. Morimoto Philadelphia does it right.

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I love a really good restaurant and Philadelphia doesn’t dissappoint when it comes to finding somewhere wonderful to dine.  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying such places as Oloroso, Taslulah’s Garden,  Vedge, Little Nonnas, Parc, and so on.  Some have been pricey and some have not.  I love diners (boy, do I LOVE a good diner), holes-in-the wall, fine dining, and casual,  There are so many wonderful places in the World and right around the corner.  I collect recommendations like some people collect travel souvenirs.  It’s not just about the food but about the company and the experience.

Morimoto is no exception to good Philly dining.  I recently attended a play at The Academy of Music and this was our choice.  The bestie and I love Asian cuisine and I am a fan of Iron Chef Morimoto.  I have watched him for 20 years on everything from Iron Chef Japan to Iron Chef America.  I must say that I fanned girl a little bit when we sat down.

The entrance to Morimoto is understated.  We actually walked past the 723 Chestnut Street location.  The decor is modern and clean.  The undulating wall serves as art work and the wood ceiling serves as an understated back drop to the modern seating.  Contemporary lighting which cats a funky blue and red glow.  Even though the restaurant has been around since 2001, the interior does not feel dated or out of style.  The bar is upstairs and is just a sleek and modern.  I found it a comfortable place to dine.

Let’s with the service.  Our waitress was incredibly good.  She was knowledgeable, straight forward, and attentive.  Everything I expect from this price point.  We asked several questions and never received a condescending or snide response.  We asked about the prefix meal called Omakase ($165 per person). And were told that it is a two hour set. Unfortunately, because of our tier tickets it would have been cut short. She did suggest such a hurry along the mail but we declined because we wanted to make sure that we enjoyed what was being offered. Another question, was about the sake on the menu. We were not familiar with the sake selection and with sake general, but she made sure that we received something that would not only complement what we were eating but was delightful.  She also offered a sampling (6oz??? nice size “sample”) to ensure that we would be happy with her suggestions.  Everything came out and a nice pace and was well served.

The menu is made to walk through the meal.  This food is meant to eat a reasonable pace so do leave a bit of time to enjoy the food here.  It is not an eat and run kind of restaurant.  Our waitress guided us on how to order and even made some suggestions.  There were only a few special drinks and a nice selection of wine and sake.  After perusing the menu, I knew we were in for a delightful meal and evening.

The food was incredibly good and was made to eat slowly and savor. The meal began with a Heartbreak Hotel (Giffard lychee, Absolut Vanilla, Sparkling Rose, and lemon foam) for me and a Morimoto Martini (Belvedere, Junmai Sake, and cucumber) for my friend.  Nice way to start!  Mine was a sweet drink and hers was a dry one. We started with the whitefish carpaccio and the toro tartare.  Moved on to the Wagyu dumplings.  Enjoyed the black cod miso and yellowtail ishi yaki bop and finished with sushi which was a crunch yellowtail and tuna.  I must say it was all excellent.  The only dish that we were not wowed with was the ishi yaki bop.  The table side presentation as you can see was lovely but it did not have the superior taste of the rest of the meal and we felt that it was just average compared to the other dishes.  My favorite was the cod and the carapaccio.  The quality of the seafood and the execution were exception.  It begged to be savored and we did.

We loved Morimoto Philadelphia.  Yes, this was a pricey meal.  We felt it was worth every penny given the service, quality and flavor.  Will we go back? Yes.  Will I recommend this place?  Yes.  Do I still fan girl over Morimoto?  Even more so.  Morimoto Philadelphia has earned it’s place on my list of a must go to in Philadelphia for fine dining.  Bon appetit!


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