In Honolulu, there are several well-known restaurants owned by top chefs such as Chef Mavro and Alan Wong. Now, there is a new restaurant in town, which opened nearly 8 months ago, in the Waikiki Edition Hotel. Morimoto Waikiki, owned be Iron Chef Morimoto, offers a number of tantalizing appetizers and main dishes, such as crispy rock shrimp tempura and tuna pizza, as well as seafood toban yaki and ishi yaki buri bop. There are also cocktails available, as well as dessert.
At first, I was concerned about eating at Morimoto Waikiki. I get nervous at fancy restaurants. Second, I wasn't sure what to expect and hoped it would be worth the money. The good news is that my fears were quickly quelled after stepping into the restaurant. I loved the ambiance! It did not feel uptight and stuffy in the restaurant, but extremely relaxing and clean. You can watch food being prepared since it's an open kitchen. The food was excellent too. It was not only fresh, but tasty. The service was also phenomenal.
The only thing that felt slightly uncomfortable is sitting in the same booth with another couple. The tables are only separated by 2 feet of space in the booth, so you are practically sitting next to someone you do not know. However, once the food comes out, does it really matter? Also, not all of the seating is in a booth. There are also open tables and even outdoor seating.
The first thing I tried is a White Lily cocktail to start things off. I only had a virgin cocktail though since I'm allergic to alcohol (yes, really!), so maybe I should call it juice. It was excellent juice though, which I'm dying to replicate.
Afterward, I indulged in the crispy rock shrimp tempura. I would highly recommend this dish! It is amazing, especially if you love fried food. I also tried the tuna pizza, which is decent, although I don't think it is for everyone. It has a thin crust, with thin slices of raw tuna topped with cilantro, half a grape tomato, a thin slice of jalapeno, olives, and some mayonnaise. It it not a "pretty" dish to eat, but I thought it tasted good and I definitely don't have a problem digging in.
The other dishes I tried were seafood toban yaki and ishi yaki buri bop. The first dish, the seafood toban yaki, is basically a seafood bouillabaisse with a miso sake flavor. The seafood is incredibly fresh and the broth light and simple. It comes with slices of baguette.
I'm sorry the pictures are so dark! I used my camera phone without realizing it would be this dark.
The other dish, the ishi yaki buri bop, is brought to the table in a hot stone dish. There is rice inside the dish with some green vegetables, ferns, and slices of raw yellow fin tuna on top. The fish is seared by the server who neatly prepares it, tossing the other ingredients together along with it, while seasoning the dish with a sesame soy sauce. The server explains the process step-by-step, as you watch your food being prepared.
After enjoying the amazing food at Morimoto Waikiki, I was too full to eat anymore, even though I wanted to try the dessert. I guess there is always next time!
In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by Morimoto Waikiki. I have tried other fancy restaurants, which I did not enjoy as much. However, this one I actually liked, while I also had a great time.
I would recommend Morimoto Waikiki, especially for special occasions.