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Morimoto, Philadelphia

For the anniversary of my birth, my dining companion had something special up his sleeve! Leaving the house, having no idea where we were headed, I was shocked and amazed when we ended up at Morimoto. It is unassuming from the outside and I had no idea what we were walking into as we approached the glass doors. The inside is sleek and modern from the front door all the way back to the sushi bar.

The tables are slim and the chairs, very modern and quite comfy actually. The light fixture in the middle of the table is a little phallic but still interesting. I would classify this design as minimalist and very sleek. The restaurant itself is very narrow and goes very far back, past the tables and to the very cool, open raw/sushi bar. The walls have a carved wave design in them that really lengthens the space.

We were seated and immediately greeted by waitstaff who presented us with menus and offered us a beverage. Just water while we decipher the menu please. I had known that Morimoto was on my companions "to do" list for quite some time, and the main reason was because of, omakase the chef's tasting menu. So, we went for it. And we did the beverage paring too. The omakase comes at different price points which really reflect the number of courses and the ingredients used, you can view their website for a limited explanation of it.

What is fun about this type of tasting menu is you have no idea what is coming out next. You get that anticipation and the fun of guessing what type of course it will be. We started our journey with toro (tuna belly) tartar which was paired with a cava (Spanish sparkling wine). The tuna was rich, fresh and delicious, the sauce, slightly salt, slighty sweet perfect for this fatty portion of the tuna. And the cava, those bubbles clean your palate for another taste. Really delicious and really great presentation.

Next we were treated to something from the raw bar, my companions favorite and slowly becoming mine, oysters. We were each given three oysters with different accompaniments. The first featured an orange salsa which was fresh and zesty, the second was cilantro lime which was tart yet refreshing and the last was jalapeno bacon which was spicy and smoky and oh so good. They really were the best oysters I had ever had, really unique, great size, super fresh and definitely memorable. This course was served with sake, light, perfect flavor to not overpower the oysters.

We then moved on to another seafood course, this was a snapper carpaccio with sea urchin. The fish was perfect. A nice sliver of beautiful white fish drizzled with yuzu and topped with a morsel of sea urchin, which is rich and creamy. This course was served to us with a nice red wine from Oregon.

Next was our salad course, it was sashimi served over micro greens with a lemon chive oil. This was paired with an Albarino, a nice, crisp white wine that went well with the fresh sashimi.

After that we received an "intermezzo" to cleanse our palate, some places give you a sorbet, not Morimoto, no here we got a Japanese Apricot and Plum soda. It was sweet, yet tart and the bubbles definitely help to cleanse your palate.

Our first "main course" was another seafood offering, this time lobster. It was a spicy half lobster tail, grilled and served with carrot, cauliflower and bok choy. It was accompanied by a creme fraiche, which was to help cool your mouth from the intense chili spices on the lobster. Due to the spice and the grilling, this was actually paired with a Pinot Noir, the light yet smoky red wine was a surprisingly good choice for a food that is typically paired with white wine.

The next offering was a waygu beef entree served with a panko crusted piece of mozzarella and summer squash. There were two sauces on the side, both made with pepper, one was a sweet sauce made with red pepper and the other was a spicy sauce made  with yellow peppers. The portion of beef was small, but we'd had so much food that it didn't really matter at that point, but it was delicious.

Sushi came next. We received five pieces of sushi each. More Fatty Tuna, then Striped Jack, Fluke, Mackerel and Squid. All were extremely fresh and very tasty. What do you pair with sushi? More sake of course! It was crisp and clean and just a little sweet to balance the salt of the soy sauce.

Finally we arrived at dessert. And what a unique experience it was. We were amazed at the beautiful presentation of this pistachio cake served with Chevre cheese and figs. It was wonderful, sweet, nutty, tangy, all amazing taste and texture differences that made for a very fun dessert. And what else do you drink with dessert but the sweetest of dessert wines, an ice wine. Cold, sweet and perfect to end our evening.

So stop by Morimoto, check out the omakese menu or just pick from the great and exotic menu.

I'm a lucky girl.

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