OK, this actually took place last October, but I'm telling you NOW just because.
For work, I went to a meeting in October, in Philadelphia. Since I was going to be in the only town in America to hold an Iron Chef's restaurant, I decided I simply must go. If you're not familiar with Iron Chef
, try the link. Iron Chef Morimoto, whose specialty is Japanese fusion, has a restraurant with the impossible-to-figure-out-how-he-came-up-with-it name of "Morimotos".
You sit down and although they have items on the menu you can pick and buy, the reason to go is the omakase, or chef's choice. Basically you hand over a pile of money and say "feed me", and depending on how big the pile is, depends on how high quality the food is and how much you get. It starts, mind you, at $80. Per person. Not including drinks. $120 is the top listed in the menu, but you can actually spend considerably more if you are either really, really hungry, or functionally insane.
This isn't something I do everyday, so I ask for the $120 version. I've never had sushi, oysters, most of what I know will be coming, so when the waitress asks me if I have any allergies or anything I'm sure I don't want, I say no. I figure if I'm going to like those things anywhere, I'm going to like them here. And anyway, I can see Morimoto working at the sushi bar, so I know I'm going to get stuff he's actually made.
Over the next 45 minutes different waiters and waitresses bring me seven courses (all of which are presented beautifully), starting with oysters (which I didn't much care for, so I suspect that's it for oysters and me), sushi (some of which was just there, some of which was just wonderful), wasabi sorbet (which, if you know wasabi, sounds completely irrational... and was quite delicious). I have a lobster tail that's amazing, with a light dusting of some hot spice and a sweet whipped cream-esque thing to balance out the heat. Another round of sushi (including the famed fatty tuna... well, famed if you're into odd foods) and a thin slice of Kobe beef. If you've never heard of Kobe beef, it's slightly more marbled than regular beef, in the way that a Winnebago is slightly more heavy than a tick. It's really delicious, cooked properly, and this of course, was.
Finally, a young man brings the dessert tray. Up to this time, several different people have brought the food, including several very attractive young women, but this guy is the one who I looked at and said "I love you" to, after he described the desserts. He just smiled, as if to say "yes, that's usually the response after I bring this out..."
Chocolate fake-cake (a flourless cake, and easily the richest chocolate I've ever had... which is saying something, as I'm slightly addicted to fine chocolate). A cherry ice cream with licorice bits that just about blew my socks off. A cannoli-like thing that was heavenly and a slice of rice cake that was delicious, though it didn't stand out like the rest of the desserts.
Afterwards, sitting there about to explode (the portions were not unreasonably large, but there were seven courses...), Morimoto comes out, sits down near folks and gets his picture taken with several people, and then is suddenly right near me as I hand my camera to one of the wait-staff. I cannot possibly describe what was going through my mind, at the time, but every time I see the photo
I burst out laughing. I'm not sure what I'm looking at: from the look on my face, of confusion and terror, you'd think it was a giant spider with a party hat and antlers. I have no reasonable explanation.
Unless it was the bill. After a couple of drinks, and counting the tip, we're talking about $193. Two days later I was in a fast-food place buying lunch for $4.95, but at least once, I've had some seriously tasty, exotic food, and I'd do it again... once a year maybe even. Next time without the oysters. And maybe with a more rational look on my face when the camera hits me.
- Given where I work I need to make it entirely clear that the above is the opinion of Paul Kroll, and does not reflect the views of my employer or the members of my employer's organization.