Happy Birthday to ME!
I requested Morimoto as the restaurant for my birthday dinner. At first, I was hesitant about going.... would the bill really burn a hole in his wallet (which would affect me, as well!)? would i be daring enough to try the omakase menu? You know... stupid things to stress about. But, hey, its my birthday and i'm not paying! DH told me that I could go anywhere I wanted.... and so we did!
I was hoping that Masaharu Morimoto, the Japanese Iron Chef, would be there -- i was so happy that he was! We had an early reservation (5:30pm) to avoid the crowds -- i heard that some patron sat at tables where they were right next to their neighbors. Luckily, because of the time of our reservation, we had our own lil table, seperated from the row of tables where you could feel your neighbor breathing on you.
Omakase (お任せ) is a Japanese phrase that means "It's up to you" (from 任す, entrust). The expression is used at sushi restaurants to leave the selection to the chef. It differs from ordering à la carte. The chef will generally present a series of plates, beginning with the lightest fare and proceeding to heaviest, richest dishes. The phrase is not exclusive to service of raw fish with rice, and can incorporate grilling and simmering as well. Customers ordering omakase style expect the chef to be innovative and surprising in the selection of dishes, and the meal can be likened to an artistic performance by the chef. [wikipedia.com]
Please excuse the poor photography. I used my point & shoot without the flash.
My omakase consisted of:
Toro tartare with rice crackers & assorted dipping sauces
I liked this dish a lot, especially the rice crackers (bottom row, right) and the lil fruit that was on the (left) side. I forgot the name of the fruit. This was fun to eat too -- they give you this lil metal spatula to eat with (pictured in the bowl of ice, on the far right, camouflaged by my cup of tea).
With the ginger, scallion & soy dressing, i thought i was eating steamed fish w/ginger & scallions... didnt even notice that the fish was raw.
Sashimi & salad
Forgot the name of the fish, but it was very fresh and slightly seared. The salad had a very nice & light vinigrette.
Smoked salmon raviloli
There were actually 2 raviolis in there.
Sushi of the day
From the left, the first one was fluke, second was fatty tuna. I forgot what the third & fourth were. The fifth was seared eel.
Honeydew matcha shot (with coconut foam on top)
This is actually considered a course, to cleanse your palate and prepare for the main course. I was full by this time, and I wasnt done yet. My main course was next!
Cajun grilled lobster w/crème fraîche dipping sauce
Steak with sweet potatoes
Of course, there was dessert, too!
Chestnut ice cream (left) and steamed pumpkin pudding cake
I should have only ate the cake. I think eating the ice cream was definitely TOO much!
My other half had:
I forgot what the top layer was, but under there, were 5 gyozas on top of a tomato bacon sauce. This would have been fine with soy sauce instead of the tomato sauce.
And his main course was:
16 oz. wagyu ny strip
The omakase menu consists of A LOT of food. You would think that the small dishes wouldnt be filling, but they were. I was impressed. I enjoyed it a lot. The food was great! The service was great. We're definitely going to go back soon, but I'll order something else on the menu.... there's so much more to try!
88 10th Avenue
(btwn 15-16th Streets)
New York, NY 10011
Photo by Alex di Suvero for The New York Times
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