Mori-no-no

A disappointing meal last night at Morimoto, the much-hyped neo-Japanese restaurant that opened in Philly earlier this year. It can take months to get a reservation, because the chef is famous from his stints on the show Iron Chef and at Nobu in New York. The man himself was in attendance, in the open kitchen and mugging with photo-seeking guests, which seemed like a good sign. But it was not to be.

We ordered the tasting menu — $100 per person. A couple of the courses were excellent, but most were uninspired, both visually and in flavor. Morimoto built his reputation on unique combinations of Japanese and Western ingredients, but all we got were simple, relatively traditional preparations. The service was solicitous but slow and disorganized. The place felt like a tourist trap — overpriced and overhyped, designed to extract the maximum revenue from a clientele only interested in saying they were there. If you want good Asian fusion food in Philly, try Pod, Buddakhan, or even the local outpost of Roy’s. All were much better.