723 Chestnut Street
What would Philadelphia be without visiting the most famous Japanese Chef in the world? I did just that, and I made a lunch reservation for one at Morimoto. The feeling around my house is that celebrity chef restaurants are generally over rated, high priced and you can probably get a meal in a neighborhood restaurant that is just as good. That said, I have been dreaming of dining at Morimoto's restaurant for years, and I finally got to go. The space is beautiful, and I felt trendy in my sneakers and uncombed hair. The visual details of the clean lines, and white dishes on tables of glowing green and glowing blue, are a feast for the eyes. The background Japanese new age music is soothing, and makes you think of Iron Chef - Tasting and Judgement. The knowledge and demeanor of the waitstaff confirms you are being served by a well trained staff. I opted for a chef's choice sushi meal with miso soup and green salad to start. The soup was miso at its best, with a huge chunk of tofu. The salad was appropriately dressed to allow the flavor of the lettuce to come through. Then there was the sushi. It takes good technique to make sushi rice balls and these were the perfect size, consistency, and flavor. The garnish of pickled ginger was white, thank goodness because I cannot eat anymore pink food dye, and the wasabi was made with 1/2 wasabi root and 1/2 horseradish. The sushi chef on staff this day was also on par with generic sushi chefs in around the country, but not the best I have seen, a couple pieces of fish could have been trimmed more and the chef's cutting technique left a couple of fish pieces torn. Aside from chef's choice sushi, I ordered two pieces of Oh-Toro, which is impossible to get in landlocked USA. It was served nearly frozen, and I suspect it would be better if the sushi chef would have used a quick blow torch to get the fatty tuna to develop its flavor. I left the beautiful restaurant with a full belly, and still searching for an excellently served Toro Tuna.