My wife and another couple enjoyed an evening @ Morimoto's last night and must say it is a definite restaurant to try if you're in the Philadelphia area but can't say it was over the top in all aspects of a true "world class" dining experience from someone who some consider to be the greatest chef in the world.
We started upstairs in the lounge and quite honestly, if it were just my wife and me, probably would have enjoyed just staying up there for the meal since it was very comfortable, had excellent more personable service and was quite a bit quieter than the main restaurant area. We started with a unique tequila based drink (only tequila based drink on the menu, I believe) which was delicious and made with grapefruit, jalepeno and a dash of japanese soy based milk. This had nice heat on the tongue so if you don't enjoy jalepeno, you may not enjoy this drink but overall an enjoyable elixir.
The staff upstairs was very engaging and attentive to all questions and the space wasn't overly crowded. Good place for a couple or friends to come in to have some drinks along with excellent sushi/sashimi.
Once downstairs for dinner, I realized that the restaurant was very relaxed and somewhat loud. Surprised to see some diners in blue jeans and sneakers but hey, who enjoys a stuffy restaurant. The wait staff was very prompt, attentive and courteous while first describing the menu items before taking orders then explaining the dishes as they were served. There's was no sense of rush, which was a relief for a Saturday night and full restaurant.
The dinner started with a beautifully presented, eye appealing, delicious selection of sushi and sashimi ($60), a perfect amount for 4 people. A little pricy but well worth the indulgence. All of the pieces were extremely fresh and of the highest quality.
We moved on to a soup course which the staff was kind enough to split down two orders of the miso soup with clams to four individual servings. The broth arrived piping hot laden with 5 or so plump sweet clams per individual serving.
The entrees selected were enjoyed by all to include black cod, wasabi salmon (my wife truly enjoyed this), wild striped bass (very good but not the greatest) and something I've never seen before and prepared @ the table in a hot stone placed on the table in front of you, Ishi Taki Bops w/yellowtail tuna. You can select wagyu beef or tuna for this preparation.
Believe me, the meal was thoroughly enjoyed by all but didn't have the WOW factor you would expect from Morimoto. Our dinner host for the evening tried a unique soba based beer which sounded interesting and explained to be slightly hoppy. I'll certainly try next visit but @ $15, only one will be consumed.
My wife and I will certainly return later this spring. But honestly, I believe this would be a great stop on any evening restaurant tour in the city for just a drink or two along with a selection of sushi/sashimi enjoyed in the lounge area then move on to a different restaurant for entree and dessert. Maybe the omakase next time to try the real experience?
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