Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Morimoto Napa!

Never would I ever thought that my first blog post of the year would be a post about food!  Mummy was here for about 2 months taking care of baby Nathan.  During weekends, she spent some quality time with Wei Yang.  One week before she headed back to Malaysia, we brought her and Wy to Napa for a little weekend vacation. Weather was excellent!  We stayed at the Westin Verasa Napa, which was the same hotel we stayed when Pei Yean was here last year.  Wy was here too... just that he was still staying in my pitch dark womb.

Apparently, Iron chef Masaharu Morimoto opened his first west coast restaurant in downtown Napa.  We decided to have our dinner here to try it out, also to celebrate mummy's birthday and Choon Ping's "118." :P  

Wy was very fussy before we headed to the restaurant. He'd been crying and screaming for almost an hour due to unfamiliar to the hotel crib... just simply couldn't sleep on it.  We gave up and decided to just go to the restaurant.  It was less than 5 minutes drive.  Thank goodness that he dozed off almost right away once the car started to move. :)

Inside the Morimoto restaurant itself has a very energetic and chic city feel.  Through a huge entry hall, the hostess walked us... passed the open style kitchen, the bar, and then to our excellent seating place, where it had a perfect spot to park Wy's stroller.  The room just buzzed with excited diners enjoying their meals and good conversation.  After flipping through the menu back and forth, we decided to indulge ourselves with the omakase, which is a Japanese phrase meaning "I'll leave it to you."  It's sort of like a tasting menu except everything is at the chef's whim.  So, we really didn't know what we were having....

We were very happy that Wy was still sound asleep at this point.  He actually woke up just before our 6th course (main dish).  Such a goody goody boy!  He let us enjoyed our meal. :D

The omakase has a total of 7 courses:
The 1st dish: Toro Tartare
It was an awesome starter dish.  Toro was served on a wooden thin slab dish looking just like a picture frame with a rainbow of condiments including nori paste, wasabi, sour cream, chive, guacamole, and crunchy rice crackers.  It also came with a tasty soy sauce for dipping.  It was exquisitely presented and very pretty to look at!  We were supposed to use the metal spatula to mix and match the flavorings.  However, we thought it's much easier using the chopsticks.  There's a yamamomo (杨梅, Japanese moutain peach) on the side to clean our palate.
2nd course: Kanpachi (amberjack)
A very light, delicious pieces of fish gently rolled in a light oil with a light ginger vinaigrette presented on a simple elegant tray .  Soooo yummy!

3rd course: Bagna Cauda
..."hot dip". It's a fusion of the Japanese and Italian in Morimoto's take.  It's like a fondue.  There's a small flame heating up the oil and garlic anchovy bits at the bottom.  The dipping material ranges from colorful cauliflowers, baby carrot, asparagus, brussel sprout, baby butternut squash, 2 small pieces of toasted bread that looked just like french fries, and there's one thing that we couldn't identify.  Oh yes,  there's a very deliciously fried chicken tempura on a skewer as well.  Excellent dip!!! Soooo good.... one can always dap some chili powder to add a little bit of "kick".  The chili powder was cleverly presented as a red slit on the plate.

4th dish: Foie Gras Chawanmushi
Such a rich savory!  Extremely tender duck meat on the egg custard.  And yay... Wy was still snoozing. :)

There's a palate cleanser intermezzo dish before our next course was served.  It was a cool sorbet served on a contemporary small double walled bowl which has a bowl-within-a-bowl design.  We were too excited that we finished this dish, then only realized that we forgot to take picture. :P

5th dish: Nigiri Sushi Plate
Artistically and carefully created sushi laid out on a rectangular plate.  Toro again.. :)

6th dish:  Main course of the evening
From the left, toro (Ha! Can't go wrong with more toro) wrapped together with unagi and foie gras with nori and ?? drizzled with some sweet reduction.  Yum!!  Seared wagyu beef with sweet onion foam, and a beer battered chicken tempura. The chicken nugget was VERY tender... soooo good!!

7th and the last dish in the omakase was a dessert.  This was basically one scoop of black sesame ice cream in the middle, a piece of dark chocolate cake and a scoop of ice cream on top of it on either side.  We couldn't remember exactly what it was as we were outside the restaurant busy entertaining Wy.  So only mummy was around when this dish was presented.  It has melted quite a bit by the time we got back.  Anyhow, it was a wonderful, refreshing dessert!

Entertaining Wy...  Look at the pretty wisteria on the arbors!
It took us about 2 hours to finish our meal.  Specially made Morimoto chocolate was served just before we paid our check.  It's gd too!   
The dinner was truly a treat. The omakase  at Morimoto Napa was indeed an epicurean adventure akin to eating the most refined French meal uptown, except that it won't burnt a hole in your pocket and one doesn't have to dress up or wear a suit!!  It was definitely the place to be and be seen in Napa Valley. :)


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