Today is the day. The great battle in NoMeat Stadium is ON, as Philly Kingpin Restaurateur Stephen Starr and his Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto, throw open the noren curtain at their massive -- and massively high-impact -- Morimoto.
Here now, the early Eater color:
Resy Status: Unless you have already locked one down, you're looking at '5:30 or 11' through the month of February. Note, however, that seating in the downstairs lounge, where both food and drink are available, is less scarce. Also keep in mind that covers are being kept low intentionally and that walk-ins may in some cases get lucky.
Preview Notes: Mr. Starr graciously hosted us at a friends and family tasting over the weekend, which afforded us an opportunity to sample the food and have a look around. By way of early recommendations, ask for a table in view of the sushi bar. (In fact, an astute dining companion of ours noted that the best seats in the house may in fact be at the sushi bar.) Start with the Crispy Rock Shrimp Tempura and the Wagu Beef Tartare and then, from the entrees, have the Yellowtail Buri Bop.
Day-One Prognosis: Based on experience and muscle of the principals alone, the venue can sustain on nothing but hype for a year if it has to. Whether its Starr brother Buddakan (slated to open very late Feb) will steal some of its nightlife thunder remains to be seen, though if you want to see real drama wait until both have to fight off Craftsteak (late March). The better discussion to be had might be one about how long lesser places like One Little W12th and Matsuri can last in this environment. Bottom line on Morimoto is that you should throw on your best NoMeat gameface and see it for yourself.
· Morimoto Express: More First Looks [~E~]
· Banned on Chowhound: Thou Shalt Not Derail the Morimoto Express [~E~]
· Morimoto Express: The Official Declaration of War [~E~]