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Week in Reviews: Morimoto?!?!?, Morimoto, Del Posto

[Kalina, 2/10/06]

1) Bruni, still cranky from last week's watery salad, drops into Morimoto, knives fully out. An utterly shocking one star to the Iron Chef, both for the uneven service and the often overly fussy food. The choicest:

He never stands still, and neither does his menu, which zooms across national and continental borders. It presents the culinary equivalent of a round-the-world ticket. It also sets up the possibility of gastronomic jet lag.
Even more troubling than the unevenness was the way high concept repeatedly supplanted sound judgment, resulting in dishes more amusing to behold than to ingest. The utensils provided for appetizers of toro and hamachi tartare were wood sticks not unlike tongue depressors in their feel and lingering taste.
One night I arrived just a few minutes after three companions. When I checked in with the host station, I wasn't told they had been seated, and I went to wait in the spare, sleek lounge downstairs. I kept asking servers if they had arrived, and my companions kept asking about me. For 35 minutes Morimoto never managed to connect us.

That said, Bruni did warm to the poached lobster salad, the "tuna pizza," and the Nobu-homage-standby rock shrimp tempura. Still, if this is how much we're reeling, just think of poor 'Moto.

2) Platt takes a more contextual view of Morimoto, fitting the latest behemoth into the slew of similar Japanese-inflected warehouses (EN, Ono, Megu, Matsuri) taking over the city. Platt's run around the omakase (and the main menu) seems to have gone much better than Bruni's, although he does share Bruni's distaste for the gimmicky. Not to mention the gorgonzola-dipped tempura. Likes the yellowtail bibimbap and the "Angry Chicken," loves the duck, duck, duck and wagyu beef, really loves the flash-frozen pearl of persimmon.

3) Tables for Two gets around to getting to Del Posto, and finds it preposterous, from the $29 valet parking to the "bigger than you might imagine" duck testicles.

Elsewhere, the Cuozz laments Piano Due's lack of attention, given that it's the "most sensuous Italian cooking in town,"; the Hodg is surprisingly on the mark with her two-star take on Urena; $25 and Under gets to Astoria's BZ Grill for assorted pork; the Daily News checks out a couple of the new Tabla- and Tamarind-esque hip (and good) Indian places; and last—but never least—Bruni takes the criticism down a notch with a Diner's Journal riff on A Voce and Buddakan.