I first heard the name Chef Masaharu Morimoto when Vancouver-based Chef Rob Feenie competed against him on Iron Chef America. The winner of that battle was Chef Feenie. However, I was instantly wowed by the artistry and skill of Chef Morimoto. In subsequent episodes, I was blown away by the art he created on each plate. Chef Morimoto combines visual artistry with the culinary skill of a master. No ingredient is wasted, they are elevated beyond their humble beginnings. Fast forward to now and I am on the Island of Oahu. Guess who has a restaurant in Waikiki? You guessed it; Morimoto Waikiki is just a 20-minute stroll from the hotel I am staying at, and I’ve made reservations for my friend and I. We will be dining in paradise tonight.
Morimoto Waikiki is at 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard, inside The Modern Hotel. It is gorgeous and worth putting your best vacation outfit on. I’m wearing my Hawaiian designer shirt by Sig Zane and feel right at home. Our reservation is at 7 pm and surprisingly the restaurant was a little on the quite side. By the time we left it had filled out so if you are making a last minute reservation try for an earlier time slot.
Of course, we choose to sit outside on the patio under a huge tent. The weather is perfect so why wouldn’t you want to eat outside while you are in Hawaii? We have a gorgeous view of the restaurant and out to the harbour.
To start off our night, it is cocktail time. The Morimotini calls my name with its Cucumber Vodka, Gingo Sake and fresh Cucumber slices. As we sip at out cocktails, our waitress brings us out an Amuse from the Chef. A delicate soup chilled on ice and served with optional Roe.
We are starting to settle in and looking at the menu. It is overwhelming to say the least. Neither Dawn nor I know what to choose. It all looks amazing which is the problem. Thankfully our culinary guide for the night Mimi arrives to save the day. We ask what she recommends and we then begin a conversation about what we like and don’t like. The verdict? We are trusting ourselves to Mimi. She is picking our menu for the evening. We are completely in her hands. I couldn’t be more relieved as I wanted to try everything and was afraid to make a decision.
Course #1 Live Octopus Carpaccio – Not something I would have chosen but am I glad Mimi did. Light and delicate this tender Octopus just melts in your mouth. Hot Oil, Ginger, and Yuzu Soy adorn the plate and add an extra layer of flavour to these delicate bites.
Course #2 Yose Dofu – I apologize that this dish didn’t photograph as well as I would have liked it to, but trust me this was a highlight dish of the night. A server came to our table and made Tofu right in front of us. This is not your store bought commercial Tofu. This is Tofu the way it was meant to be enjoyed. Full of flavour we have side dishes of Kimchee and Dashi Broth to add to our liking. Not only does it taste fantastic it is theatre at your table.
Course #3 Seafood Toban Yaki + Ishi Yaki Buri Bop – The main course is more amazing flavours for us to try. Dawn went with the Ishi Yaki Buri Bop. Our waiter placed it in front of her and then proceeded to finish it by mixing it up and cooking the Yellowfin Tuna on the sides of the heated serving bowl.
For myself, Mimi chose the Seafood Toban Yaki made up of Lobster, Crab, Prawns and Scallops. Missing were the Clams and Mussels because I am not a fan of Clams. The seafood was cooked perfectly, but the star of this dish is the broth. OMG, I could drink a bowl of this broth every day and discover a new flavour. It is a deep and complex broth that warms your soul as you consume it.
Course #5 Chocolate Peanut Bombe – I swear we have no room left for dessert, but Mimi won’t let us go without trying her favourite dish the Chocolate Peanut Bombe. It looks rich and dense, but it is as light as a feather. The Salted Peanut Ice Cream adds the perfect balance of salty to the sweet. We cleaned this plate down to the last peanut.
It is often the Chef who gets the credit for a great meal, but in my opinion service is 50% of the score and our waitress Mimi provided us with service equal to the culinary talents in the kitchen. The only thing that could have made this dining experience any better is if Chef Morimoto was in the kitchen that night. Even though he wasn’t there on our night the chances are good you may see him when you go. He visits all his restaurants frequently so I guess I will just have to go back again and hopefully he will be in residence.
A fantastic evening with a great friend, amazing food and outstanding service. What could be better when you are in paradise? Thanks Morimoto Waikiki for a meal to remember.