Renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr’s more than 15-year-old upscale Japanese restaurant Morimoto — led by “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto — will be shutting its doors on its New York City location at 88 10th Avenue, between W. 15th and 16th Streets, later this year due to lease expiration, Starr Restaurants has confirmed to Eater. May will be its last month in Chelsea, and a Morimoto still exists in Philadelphia.
Morimoto was one of Starr’s first restaurants to land in New York City when it opened in 2006, right down the street from sprawling pan-Asian restaurant Buddakan, which opened weeks later. The dual openings marked a splashy expansion for the restaurant group, which is based in Philadelphia. Chef Morimoto won acclaim at the opening for a contemporary omakase that felt novel at the time — the use of liquid nitrogen, live sea urchin, and fugu (blowfish) jumped off the menu. The huge space also has a unique futuristic design: There’s a plexiglas sushi bar and a “water wall” with more than 17,000 LED backlit plastic bottles.
But the restaurant has long since stopped making headlines, and, back in 2015, Eater chief critic Ryan Sutton advised to just skip Morimoto and Buddakan altogether. Chef Morimoto will still have a presence in the city after the restaurant is closed. Momosan Ramen & Sake, his well-received line of ramen shops, can be found in Midtown and a forthcoming Park Slope outpost, as well as two other locations in Seattle and Honolulu.
Starr Restaurants continues to run nine other acclaimed restaurants across the city, including Upland, Le Coucou, and the revival of the Meatpacking District’s Pastis.