Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dinner at Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs (Orlando, FL)

It is not often that you get a restaurant which so effectively combines amazing environment with equally amazing, high-quality dishes. Morimoto Asia does. I hate to say it, because I have a number of personal faves in town, but the food at this establishment is pretty hard to beat. We ordered a wide range of dishes and were blown away by each one. This is one of the rare meals I have had where the wine was of secondary importance. The flavors were were so pleasing that I wanted them to linger and be unimpeded by other influences.

The dining menu is a two-page foldout with an insert containing raw bar items. The drinks menu is presented on an additional page. The main dining menu is shown here.

While we were perusing the menu, I had the server pop open a bottle of La Closerie Extra Brut. Our first order was slightly extensive and I was concerned about the staging. But not to worry. They staged the items perfectly and brought items out when they fit into the pattern rather than based on who had placed the order.

The items ordered on this first pass were: the hamachi tartare (dashi soy with crispy shallots, chives, and fresh wasabi; edamami; hot and sour soup (egg, tofu, and vegetables in a spicy broth); from the dim sum menu, kakuni pork bao (steamed buns, braised pork belly, lettuce, spicy mayo); and five spice chicken wings (with chopped jalapeno and crispy garlic). Every single one of these items was heavenly.

The hamachi tartare was not exactly as I had pictured it (it was a little more disembodied and tower-like than I had imagined) but after a couple of tentative tastes, I dug into this gold mine of flavor. And this was the most linear of the flavor profiles presented that evening. The hot and sour soup had a thickness to its texture and was perfectly balanced between the two components. Heavenly. I split the dim sum with my friend Paul (the ladies wanted no part of it) and it was a meal in itself. The bun was tender and juicy and, in texture and flavor, was the perfect contrast to the flavor bomb wrapped within its fold. The chicken wings (not pictured here) were perfectly cooked and was spicy without being overbearing. Lovely garlic note. By this time we knew that we were in the midst of a stellar dining experience.

Hot and Sour Soup
Hamachi Tartare
Kakuni Pork Bao

The main courses are presented on the right side of the menu where the peking duck and spare ribs have pride of place with standalone boxes (according to the server they are considered signature dishes of the establishment) so, of course, we ordered both.  In addition, Parlo ordered the sweet and sour crispy bronzino (boneless Mediterranean sea bass with signature sweet and sour sauce) and spicy thai basil fried rice (egg, bell pepper, scallions, bean sprouts, and spicy basil sauce) while Debbie ordered the Morimoto buri-bop (korean-style yellowtail rice bowl served in a hot clay pot, finished on an egg yolk and prepared tableside). 

We shared the plates between us. It was a gastronomic bacchanal. The spare ribs were a handful and should only be ordered as a shared plate (or if you want to eat leftover ribs for the remainder of the week). Bountiful but also bounteous flavor-wise.

Sweet and Sour Crispy Bronzino (sic?)
Peking Duck
Spare ribs
Spicy Basil Fried Rice
Buri-Bop -- before
Buri-Bop after tableside preparation

I was shot after this. I could not eat another morsel. But my wife insisted on dessert and ordered a Mochi-Mochi (annin tofu, coconut mango soup, fruit boba, frozen mago, and lemon yogurt powder). I was a non-participant.

Mochi-Mochi -- before
Mochi-Mochi after tableside preparation

This had been an extended and extensive meal and the service was an excellent complement. At no time did we feel rushed or hurried and the server opened and poured our wine as though it was his own.

I will be a frequent visitor to this establishment.

©Wine -- Mise en abyme

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