Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My Brush with Greatness

I had a brush with Greatness last month and the experience has really stayed with me. Of all of the celebrities out there, the ones that I'm ga-ga over are the chefs. Regular celebrities aren't really my thing. One time, I rode in the same subway car as Conan O'Brien and it barely even registered. My thought process consisted of, "Wow, that guy is tall and has really red hair. I like redheads... Terence is a redhead...aw... my honey-bunny, Terence..." It wasn't until Conan got off the train at 72nd street and I overheard someone say, "OMG, that was Conan O'Brien!" did I realize that it was in fact Conan O'Brien. But my fanaticism of celebrity chefs does not include any and all celebrity chefs, only the super awesome ones, in particular Masaharu Morimoto. I had the honor and the pleasure of eating his food once at Nobu while he was still the executive chef there, once at his Philadelphia restaurant, Morimoto, when it first opened, and on several occasions at his NYC restaurant, Morimoto.

My brother and I and our spouses treated my parents to dinner at Morimoto's NYC restaurant this past February for Mom's X0th birthday. (The 0th birthdays are a big deal in Chinese families). Not only was the food excellent, but Morimoto was on the floor and socializing with the patrons. Being quite intoxicated from cocktails and wine, I convinced my brother to use his cell phone to take a picture of me with my IDOL. See? And yes, we are a bad Chinese family. None of us had a camera with us! We were also unable to take pictures of the food! All we had were the wonderful memories of that fabulous omakase at Morimoto's, until recently.

Fortunately, I have girlfriends with birthdays, who love to eat and don't mind shelling out the cash for fine dining. So last Friday, we went to Morimoto's again and this time, I remembered my camera. Luckily, it was the same tasting menu and no, I did not mind one bit! I spaced out and ate the first course before I remembered to take a picture, so there is no picture of the first course, which is a tuna tartar, but there are pictures of everything else. So feast your eyes on these beautiful courses:

First Course: Tuna Tartar (Too bad there is no picture, b/c it was beautifully presented, but I assure you it was delicious!)

Second Course: Japanese filefish and scallops served with tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, microgreens, and chives and drizzled with soy and hot oil.

Third Course: Japanese Jackfish served with a tahini and soy dressing and microgreens. This was by far, my favorite course. The fish was velvety and the tahini sauce was just the right viscosity, not too thick, not too runny. You can't see it very well in this picture, but the plate was dusted with Japanese red chili flakes. This dish was perfect.

Fourth Course: Chawanmushi and Oysters with uni and fois gras for my fois-eating girlfriends and Smoked Salmon ravioli with salmon roe and some kind of foam for me since I prefer not to eat fois because ducks are too cute to eat, even if they do taste delicious when they are tea-smoked or baked and rolled in a very thin flour pancake with hoisin sauce and scallions.

Fifth Course: Sushi!!! Need I say more? From top left to bottom right, tuna, fluke topped with roe, bonito topped with scallions and ginger, amaebi (sweet shrimp), and Japanese snapper topped with a Japanese lime.

Sixth Course: Intermezzo. Green tea with a green tea macaroon. For those of you who know me well, you know my obsession with french macaroons. If not, stay tuned for a posting on the most delicious cookies in the world!

Seventh Course: Surf and surf. Indian-spiced lobster with a lemon creme fraiche served with a miso cod with Japanese sweet black beans which I got in lieu of a slice of Kobe beef. If I hadn't been stuffed by this course, I probably would have enjoyed it more!

Last Course: Dessert! We were very fortunate and had 3 different desserts which we shared. The first is a sweet potato and red bean souffle cake which is served with red bean ice cream.
The second is a chocolate tart which is served on sliced bananas, meringue, with passion fruit drizzle (yum!) and rum raisin ice cream (yuk!). The last dessert is a trio of sorbets: mango, lychee, and guava.

Sadly, Morimoto did not grace our table with his presence this time around, but we enjoyed an exquisite meal and now my family has pictures to remind them of the meal as well. My next blog will be about the most delicious cookies in the world, French macaroons!!

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