Chef Masaharu Morimoto is one of my favorite Iron Chefs. When Coty and I were in Philadelphia several years ago, I was excited to make reservations at his namesake restaurant there. I remember the cool lighting in the booths that changed colors. I was even more excited when I first found out that he was opening a restaurant in Waikiki.
Morimoto Waikiki is a super-chic restaurant located in The Modern Honolulu hotel. I love the open kitchen concept, sleek modern furniture, and the accents of purple and green orchids (which Coty, the psychologist, says are reminiscent of Rorschach ink blots). The restaurant overlooks the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, allowing its dining room to bask in the colors of Hawaii’s spectacular sunset in the evenings.
When Coty and I got to the restaurant when it opened for their lunch service, we were the only ones there. Perfectly fine with us, as we felt that we had the whole restaurant to ourselves. It’s probably how President Obama feels every time he frequents Morimoto Waikiki.
Though not on their menu, they were able to make plantation iced tea for us. And to our surprise, we both got our own carafe of plantation iced tea.
Started off with a warm appetizer, the crispy rock shrimp tempura, served with spicy kochujan sauce, wasabi aioli, and ranch dipping sauces.
I had the loco moto (surely, a play on Morimoto’s name) lunch set, which came with miso soup, salad, and sushi.
The slices of wagyu beef in the hayashi gravy were tender. The quail egg was the perfect size on this mini version of the loco moco. However, on the regular entree sized loco moto on their menu, the quail egg is just too tiny! Not enough egg yolk to run into the gravy over rice on that one.
From the start, Coty was eyeing out the hamachi nigiri on my plate. I let him have it, since I know how much he loves hamachi!
However, he ended up ordering more hamachi nigiri anyway! We loved how the slices of hamachi looked so pristine, especially on the white tableware.
Coty ordered the lobster melt lunch set. It included wasabi french fries, mixed green salad, and housemade pickle.
The lunch sets were reasonably priced, considering that at most higher-end restaurants, the cost of the ambience is highly reflected on the bill.
Too bad we were stuffed with lunch that we didn’t have any room for dessert. We’ll definitely come back one day to try some of the desserts, though.