Morimoto Napa

I enjoyed a wonderful day in the Napa Valley with my friend Tina yesterday afternoon. We started our adventure at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone where we attended a cooking demo by the talented Chef Bobby Childs.  Chef Childs served up our Goat Cheese stuffed Turkey Sliders and Red Pepper-Apricot Relish with a hefty side of humor.  He was hilarious! I’ve been to quite a few cooking demos at the CIA, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But I must admit, this is the liveliest demo I’ve attended yet. Chef Childs aspires to have his own culinary TV show and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him in that role in the next few years at which time I can say, “I remember when…” 🙂

After touring the grounds of Castello di Amorosa and cruising thru the mustard covered fields of the Silverado Trail, we ended our day with dinner at Morimoto Napa on the river.  Morimoto Napa was opened by Iron Chef and Iron Chef of America, Chef Masaharu Morimoto in 2010. Reservations are hard to come by, especially when attempting to make them 4 days ahead, but bonus, they serve a full menu in the bar.  We arrived just prior to 5pm and were able to find a few seats at the bar. The restaurant was quiet and fairly empty and then all of a sudden it was hoppin’! It was crazy how busy they became in such a short period of time.

Dining at Morimoto Napa was a fabulous experience.  There is a lounge and dessert bar just within the entrance. You walk thru the serving end of the kitchen when heading to the bar, sushi bar, dining and patio areas. It was fun to see into the kitchen and hear all the hustle & bustle. The staff was all very friendly, attentive, and knowledgeable of the dishes and cocktails they were serving.

To kick the evening off, I sipped on a Pom Pom… Pomegranate, lychee liquor and citrus. I believe there was vodka in there too, but don’t really remember. I really should take better notes. 😉

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To start, I ordered the Butter Lettuce Salad with Crispy Pork Belly, Potato Crouton & Spicy Tobiko. Oh. My. Goodness. Although I would have loved more pork belly (I mean really, who doesn’t want more pork belly!?) , this salad was fantastically delicious! The dressing was light, the butter lettuce crisp and the potato croutons were on the edge of being crispy on the outside and were soft and delicate on the inside. Perfect.

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Tina ordered the Wagyu Flatbread. I’m kicking myself now for not taking a bite. Especially after seeing this picture. Tina raved about how delicious her starter choice was!

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We shared an order of Spicy Tuna and Tempura Shrimp with Asparagus Rolls. The rolls were fresh and very tasty!

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When the Hamachi Tartare arrived, we were dumbfounded. I’m accustomed to tartare being served in more of a diced form. After our server described how this dish was to be eaten, we had to ask for additional instructions. LOL! Using one of the two paddles in the front of the dish, you scrape off a bit of the tartare and dip it into your accompaniment(s) of choice. The tartare was decadent and the presentation beautiful.

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Just as we were preparing to check out the dessert menu, these succulent, fall of the bone, sticky-sweet ribs appeared. Out of no where. When we told our server they weren’t ours, that we hadn’t ordered them, she kindly responded, “they’re from the kitchen.” Alrighty then! Without sparing a moment, we dove right in. Luckily these ribs also came with a side of wonderfully warm towels to clean our hands.

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For dessert we tried the Doughnuts that came with two dipping sauces, Molasses and Honey and a variety of Asian inspired sugars. The ones I remember off the top of my head are wasabi and lavendar. I don’t recall the other two. The thought behind this dish is that you dip the doughnut into the Molasses or the Honey and then into one of four sugars. These hot cinnamon-sugar dusted doughnuts were amazing. Amazing!

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I had been wanting to try Morimoto Napa for some time and am so happy that I finally went. What a fabulous meal enjoyed with even greater company. 🙂 Although on the pricy side, I’d highly recommend trying Morimoto Napa when in the area. It’s a dining experience like no other. I’m looking forward to going back! 🙂

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