Food La La: What’s new at Morimoto Waikiki
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I was a big fan of “Iron Chef” growing up. Chef Masaharu Morimoto was, by far, my favorite competitor. His creative, mouth-watering fusion dishes made me wish I could be a judge on the show or jump through my television screen to take a bite.
When Morimoto opened his namesake restaurant three years ago in Waikiki, I remember being so excited to finally try his food. I was invited to dinner at the Modern Honolulu recently to check out some of Morimoto’s newest menu items as well as some of their popular dishes.
We sat outside to enjoy the Waikiki sunset. The restaurant also provides an excellent vantage point for weekly fireworks displays on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and Fridays at 7:45 p.m.
First, we tried some of Morimoto’s new specialty drinks ($14 each). On the left is the tangy Wild Blueberry Metropolitan, made with Hangar One Wild Maine Blueberry Vodka, fresh lime, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and cranberry juice. On the right is the sparkling and refreshing Akala Blossom, made with Croft Pink Rose Port, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and prosecco sparkling wine.
On the left is the Coco Fraiche, made with Kai Coconut Pandan Vodka, fresh lime juice, house-made lemongrass syrup and coconut water. It’s smooth and I like coconut drinks, so I would order this. On the right is the Cucumber Shiso Collins, made with Bombay Sapphire East Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, fresh cucumber and lemon juice.
The first dish we tried was a fancy deconstructed sashimi salad with baby romaine lettuce, a special creamy Morimoto Caesar dressing and quail egg ($17).
The presentation at Morimoto is impressive and makes the food almost too pretty to eat. This is Morimoto’s version of sashimi with seared toro, smoked salmon, maguro, hamachi, and unagi ($28).
This is takoyaki with Big Island abalone and herb butter ($18). The abalone with the butter just melts in your mouth!
The Chef’s sushi combination comes in different sizes and prices ($40, $80, $120, $160). This one is $80. I would gladly take a bouquet of fresh maguro shaped roses over regular ones!
One of my favorite dishes was the roasted 1.25-pound Keahole lobster with garam masala spice and lemon crème fraiche. It has a pop of spiciness that tastes almost Cajun-like.
This is the Surf and Turf ($48) which comes with a tender six-ounce prime filet, big chunks of poke and mashed Okinawan sweet potato. The mashed potatoes were sweet enough to be a dessert and a nice contrast to the steak!
The crispy whole fish ($37) was recently added to the menu. It comes with a pickled papaya salad and is topped with a spicy tofu sauce. I only wish the sauce was a bit spicier — but I have a very high tolerance for spicy flavors.
The braised black cod ($29) is tender, with a ginger soy reduction and pickled peppers.
This beautiful chef’s raw bar combination comes in 3 different sizes ($80, $120 and $150). It comes with fresh oysters, Keahole lobster, and Alaskan king crab legs. The lobster and crab is already cut, so there’s no mess trying to crack the shell open.
A recently added dessert is this amazing molten chocolate cake with fresh raspberries ($12). I will have to come back just so I can order this on my own and not have to share with anyone!
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.