88 Tenth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets
about $600 for four, with several drinks, with tip
♥ ♥ ♥

My first Morimoto experience in Philadelphia was unforgettable. Chef Masaharu Morimoto joined us at our table after dinner and started talking about the World Cup which was happening at the time. Four years later, soccer fans are getting ready for Germany and I was sitting yet again inside a Morimoto restaurant. I was able to score a table for four a month after its opening and I found three people willing to spend a lot of money to eat.

Tyler opted for the sashimi combination which came on a tall, albeit silly, display of ice. Cameron went for the raw bar combination with amazing scallops and delicious lobster and crab claws. Lisa opted for the black cod miso, a dish perfected by Morimoto while he was still in Nobu. The waitstaff congratulated me at the end after I finished my nine-course omakase.

Some of my favorites: a patterned maki with dashi foam, perhaps the trendiest way to making sauce after Ferran Adrià of El Bulli near Barcelona put his stamp on the technique; yellowfin tuna and mackerel served with seaweed encased in gelée; a palate cleanser of sesame powder tea that came with the coolest brush stirrer.

The service was attentive but we had a different waiter for each course. I couldn’t blame one of them when he couldn’t tell me that one of my sushi pieces was actually needlefish. (Is the east coast running out of bounty that they have to turn to needlefish?) Another missed the lychee seeds which came with one of my courses but he was nice enough to return and tell me when I expressed my curiosity.

When we were heading out of the Tadao Ando-designed space, chef Morimoto was talking to a friend by coat check. I stood right next to him while Tyler took a photograph and I quickly told him that I’m a big fan. Typical chef-fucker, I know, but I walked away with a signed copy of the menu. After five years in Philly, Morimoto has staged a very nice comeback.