Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Morimoto Napa (Napa, CA)
My wife and I watch a lot of Food Network, so no trip to wine country would be complete without sampling the culinary masterpieces created by Iron Chef Morimoto. We made our dinner reservation at Morimoto Napa months in advance. This ensured that we'd have a table for dinner, but also made the anticipation almost unbearable.
Morimoto Napa is a rather ritzy, upscale sushi restaurant located on the scenic Napa riverfront. As you might expect, this place has very modern Japanese decor. It is Napa Valley, so of course they have a huge selection of local wines, but you'll also find a tremendous selection of beers and liquors. Chef Morimoto has his own line of beers put out by Rogue in Newport, Oregon. I had to go full force for this meal, so I opted for a 22-ounce glass of the Morimoto Soba ale.
One of the things I most enjoy about this blog is writing about barbecue in unexpected places and unusual forms. All of the sushi we ordered was, unsurprisingly, spectacular. My wife's favorite was the Shrimp Tempura Roll, but I was absolutely blown away by their Eel Avocado Roll: barbecue eel and avocado.
Of all the different kinds of barbecue I've had over the years, I can honestly say that eel is probably the most unique. There was a very pleasant sweetness from the barbecue sauce. I found only a very, very mild taste of smoke, but it was definitely there. The creamy avocado was a nice compliment to the saltiness of the eel. The rice was soft and sticky, rolled tightly and beautifully. I also liked that it was served only slightly chilled, which I think is the perfect temperature for sushi. This certainly wasn't true oink-and-moo barbecue, but an interesting and very tasty offering nonetheless.
We were both completely stuffed after all the sushi we had scarfed down, but it was impossible to resist an Iron Chef-caliber dessert. The couple next to us had ordered this amazing, modern Japanese take on a s'more, so we decided to try it out for ourselves.
From the menu description, the s'more consisted of a kurumitsu graham, smoked soy chocolate mousse, and toasted marshmallow. It's not often that I'm at a loss for words, but it's actually really hard to describe just how absolutely incredible this dessert was. This s'more was the total package: sweet, salty, chocolatey, smoky. The real "culinary curve ball" to this dish was the smoked soy, which really elevated it to a whole other level.
If you're looking for barbecue in the traditional sense, then Morimoto Napa definitely isn't for you. But, if you're feeling adventurous, come here and let Chef Morimoto dazzle your taste buds. A la cuisine!
610 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559