On Friday, a bunch of us went to Morimoto, the restaurant of  Masaharu Morimoto, the Japanese chef of Iron Chef fame.  Berta, Adam, Dave, Jen and I took off right after work to visit the restaurant in Philly.  Thanks to Adam for upping his original reservation to include Berta and me.

It turns out that like many good places to hang out, Morimoto is a hole in the Philadelphia facade.  Amongst graphitti-riddled garage doors and tattoo parlors isn't where I expected to find this upscale restaurant, but it wasn't unusual amongst many of the more chic places we have dined.

I don't want to turn this column into a "this was good, that was good" and describe every dish, because, well, for a lot of reasons.  Besides, it is too difficult to describe taste, especially when comparing what I like to what you may like.

I will note, however, that I enjoyed many of the dishes.  The toro tartare, a column of finely ground raw tuna with caviar on top, was pretty good when mixed generously with the side of fresh wasabe.  I don't normally care for scallops, as they tend toward the rubbery side, but the raw ones I had were good.  All of the cold dishes except for the actual sushi were good.  The hot dishes I could take or leave, especially the Kobi beef which was difficult to cut and flavored beyond recognition.

The traditional sushi tray left me really disappointed.  The eel had no flavor or texture.  And although the yellowtail was quite a leap better than in local restaurants, it didn't impress me.  The tuna was good.  Most of the sushi was generously coated in wasabi.  Generously.  I don't want to give the impression that it was bad, just that when I left myself in the chef's hands for my meal preparation, I didn't expect the same sushi I can get in a box at home.

Berta didn't like the "fruitcake" that we had for dessert, but I thought that it was good.  It was really some kind of ginger cake with dried apples and cranberries with a frozen custard on top.  And one of those edible flowers.

It was a good time in good company.

I seem disaffected in my review, but I think I have justification.  It was good food, and the setting was fine, but it was just missing something.  Morimoto was certainly a memorable experience, however it did not have the context that other places had which made them a more enjoyable experience.  So I guess that with that I will have to respect my friends' promotion of Morimoto to the "compare all to this" status, as they will also have to respect my placement of Morimoto below others.