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Napa: Morimoto Napa610 Main Street , Phone: 707-252-1600
Reviewed by: Roz from CA, review #3579
Uniquely creative and delicious menu, but be prepared to pay for the experience!
If you are an Iron Chef fan (I confess I’m not into what my son calls the food porn shows), you probably are familiar with celebrity chef Morimoto. He recently (summer 2010) opened a restaurant in Napa, which has been packing them in. We were lucky to get a gift certificate there, since it is extremely pricey – although the food is truly outstanding.
There is a sushi / sashimi menu, but I think it’s more interesting to try some of the different dishes, with some very creative combinations of flavors. I suggest, if you want to go there, that you start by reading a lot of reviews online, since the fairly long menu is not your standard fare. I found it helpful to read about what various people have liked and what each dish contains so I had a basic idea of what I wanted to order. If you google Morimoto Napa, you can find several blogs with photos, as well as many Yelp reviews.
The two of us started by sharing a signature dish, the tuna “pizza” – with anchovy aioli, olives, jalapeno, and cilantro, over raw tuna on flatbread ($18). It was definitely a good size for two people for an appetizer. It was an intriguingly delicious complex blend of flavors, which kept on coming as you savored each bite.
Next I had the foie gras chawan mushi ($16) – a soup which again offered a wonderfully unique combination of flavors, especially with the dab of wasabi on the side. I think actually I would have liked just a little more wasabi to counteract the somewhat sweet flavoring in the soup. Mike had duck meatball soup ($14), which he said was terrific.
As a main course, Mike had the pork chop (a very good-sized chunk of meat), served with kimchee, bacon, and ginger apple puree ($32). He was happy.
I opted for the half portion of the sea urchin carbonara, with smoked bacon, udon noodle, and crispy shallot ($18 for the half portion). It was extremely rich and filling and also quite deliciously unlike anything I’d ever eaten. The half portion was more than enough for me, after the two starters.
We were way too full for dessert, none of which especially appealed to us anyway.
We had started by each ordering a glass of Domaine Chandon sparkling wine (blanc de blanc) for $10 a glass. We had been warned that the wine list was quite pricey – something that is very often true at the high end restaurants around here. So we brought our own nice bottle of Cabernet and were happy to pay the $25 corkage fee rather than order off the list, where I don’t think there were any red wines under $80. Our total check with tax (before tip) was $155.
Another suggestion is to try to get a table outside. The noise level indoors can be painful. There are heat lamps for the seats along the river if it’s a cool evening, and it is much more pleasant out there.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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