Morimoto Napa

Masaharu Morimoto has ten restaurants across the world, with another two on the way this year. Still, I was beside myself to try out his California outpost at Morimoto Napa. I used to love watching him on the original Iron Chef series, in awe of Chef Morimoto’s creativity and deftness in the kitchen.

Wagyu beef carpaccio

After securing reservations, Nishan and I visited Morimoto Napa on a warm Saturday evening and started our meal with the Wagyu beef carpaccio. Drizzled with yuzu soy, ginger, and sweet garlic, this carpaccio was seared, so it wasn’t a true carpaccio, but it was delicious and tender nevertheless.

Bone marrow

The bone marrow with five spices was next. Earthy and rich, we could have used some toast or other vessel to sop up our marrow.

Marinated dumplings

We also shared a plate of marinated dumplings. Garnished with peanut salad, pig ears, and chili oil, these dumplings were our favorite dish of the evening. So juicy, so flavorful. The salad was perfect for livening up our palates.

Sea urchin carbonara

Now, I’ve never been a big fan of pasta carbonara, but I love sea urchin, so I couldn’t resist trying the sea urchin carbonara. The uni was indeed delicious: creamy and faintly tasting like the sea. But the smoked bacon and shallot flavors didn’t win me over, and so I continue to give the Kanye shrug to carbonaras in general.

Mango "caviar"

Dessert was the prettiest course: mango “caviar” with vanilla buttermilk panna cotta. I wish I could have taken the caviar tin home. Basically what I’m saying here is that I love caviar.

The service at Morimoto Napa was attentive without being pretentious, the ambiance was upscale and modern, and the location was ideal: right on the Napa waterfront. If I go back, it’ll be to try the omakase. After all, Chef Morimoto was trained in traditional kaiseki (and sushi) cuisine and one can dream of running into him at his wine country outpost, right?

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