New restaurants are so tempting – especially when we love the cuisine and are fans of the owner, Chef Masaharu Morimoto! (We were always huge Iron Chef geeks back in the day.) By the time Morimoto Asia opened, we’d already booked all our ADRs (Advance Dining Reservations) for our end-of-the-year vacation and this created quite a conundrum. What could we cancel in order to make room for at least one meal at Disney Springs? In the end, Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany pavilion, lost our reservation and we booked Morimoto Asia through Open Table (it wasn’t set up through Disney’s site yet).
I’ve never eaten at Biergarten, so I can’t truly say if this was the right decision or not. What I can tell you is that Morimoto Asia was fantastic and we cannot wait to go back! Here are the top five things we loved most about our experience –
- The Dining Area – Atmosphere…ambiance…whatever you want to call it, the restaurant is all clean lines and open spaces. The open kitchen was interesting to watch – lots of serious game faces at work. Red accents give everything a warm glow, which softens what might otherwise be too modern or austere for some tastes.
- The Sake Flight – What a pleasant surprise! We enjoy a glass of sake now and again, but don’t know much about different types and haven’t tried many options. When we spied the sake flight we both knew we wanted to splurge and give it a try (it was the most expensive part of our meal). Our server was nice enough to explain more than just the basics and when we asked for the names of the different servings to be written down, she was happy to oblige.
- The Service – We arrived exactly on time and were seated right away. Our server, Sonia, was attentive without hovering, helpful with suggestions, and generally treated us as if we were the only customers dining. (You should definitely ask for Sonia.) Pacing is important and as one might expect with a new place, there was a bit of a lull between our appetizers and entrees, but not long enough to detract from the overall great impression. (The ducks though…kinda felt like they were always watching…watching.)
- The Menu – We love choices! For us, when we get a restaurant menu and have a hard time deciding what to order, we feel like we’re having a better experience. We also tend to return quicker because we leave things behind that we really wanted to taste. We ended up ordering four items to share, which is exactly what everyone should do at Morimoto Asia! (Check out the menu here.)
- The Flavors – Before I tell you exactly what we ate, let me emphatically say that we would recommend every item we ordered. Based on a tip we received from Howdy (excellent barmaid at Jock Lindsey’s), we ordered the Kakuni Pork Bao (“steamed buns, braised pork belly, lettuce, spicy mayo“). Of course “pork belly” was all it took. These were perfect! Texture, seasoning, temperature – all just right. Next we wanted to try the Morimoto Spare Ribs Appetizer (“3 pork ribs, cilantro, hoisin sweet chili glaze“). These babies were absolutely delicious! Crunchy on the outside, but tender on the inside, so we were easily able to divide that last rib in two. Next we had to have a sushi roll and agreed on the Spicy Tuna. I don’t know about where you live, but we are not used to so generous a serving of tuna in our sushi – fantastic! Finally we decided on a basic favorite, Pad Thai with chicken (“stir-fried flat rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts, scallions, fried tofu, pickled turnip, sweet tamarind sauce.”) Turned out to be another excellent choice. We tried our best to finish it, but we’d reached maximum capacity about halfway through.
We could not have enjoyed our lunch at Morimoto Asia more. Everyone there seemed devoted to giving the best dining experience possible and we thought all the components – food, service, atmosphere – worked perfectly together to make for an excellent meal.Your turn – Have you eaten at Morimoto Asia? What was your first impression? If you’re considering trying this place, I’d be happy to answer any questions if I can.