Discover playful, palate-pleasing perfection at Morimoto

Updated April 3, 2017 - 11:23 am

Just when it seemed Las Vegas was at celebrity-chef critical mass, the original Iron Chef arrived to fill a void that was large even if it wasn’t obvious.

Masaharu Morimoto’s renown for artfully blending elements of American cuisine with his native Japanese culture (often served with witty twists) is evident at his eponymous restaurant at MGM Grand, with border-bending offerings such as toro tartare, tuna pizza and yellowtail pastrami.

Morimoto, the restaurant, is as quietly imposing as the chef himself. Walls covered with framed black-and-white images of scenery and everyday life in Japan hang artfully behind the sushi bar and elsewhere. Downtempo music (a mix of electronica and ’70s jazz influences) flows gently. A monumental bust of the Iron Chef is positioned near the front door; there’s no mistaking the mind behind the meticulous presentation.

Just as his presence is felt throughout the space, so it is with the food, as was the case at Nobu in New York when he was head chef there in the late ’90s. Sure, there are teppan tables for the familiar “Japanese steakhouse” experience, Morimoto’s only teppan offerings in this country. And service is still subject to unique-to-Las Vegas snags, such as the party of fanboys and -girls whose litany of questions monopolized our server’s time early on. But Morimoto’s prodigious creativity and attention to detail never waver. Morimoto

Chashu pork — pork belly that’s been rolled, marinated and braised — is a familiar favorite in ramen. Yet it has a novel appeal when added to a salad ($18), to genius effect. Silken slices of meat, so buttery they nearly dissolve on the tongue, contrast perfectly with the crisp ribbons of cucumber, carrot, daikon and other radishes, an orchid and yes, even some lettuce, tossed in a delicate dressing with a pronounced cilantro spark. Adequate to be shared by two; an indulgence for one.

Morimoto’s signature (and cleverly named) dish Duck Duck Goose ($39) seemed gimmicky at first, but actually undersold it by half. This was a perfectly prepared confit of duck leg nestled next to a cup of duck consommé with a delicate duck meatball. Tender, gently seared slices of duck breast were fanned across a smear of gooseberry compote that had the dark complexity of molasses, and duck friedrice topped by a sunnyside duck egg (intended to be mixed into the whole dish) boasted generous pieces of duck meat and fresh herbs. Textures and flavors ranged from complex to simple, all perfectly on point.

Brady Bunch fans, among others, will appreciate the Morimoto Pork Chop and Applesauce ($38). A riff on home-spun American comfort food, it was a double-cut Kurobota chop, marinated in miso for a touch of smokiness and grilled just until the exterior was caramelized, a firm, substantial grown-up counterpoint to the delicate nature of the chashu. With it: crisp, very coarsely cut kimchee with lots of pieces of pork belly and a puree of gingered apples. Morimoto

Cheesecake souffle was the waiter’s professed favorite but the popular Fiery Salty Caramel Chocolate Tart ($20) was too tempting to resist. It’s spectacular — a baseball-sized chocolate globe filled with a layer of marshmallow and a dark-chocolate sorbet center that collapses in a sigh when flaming spiced rum is poured over. Chocolate faux bois patterning on the plate is accented with ganache-topped graham cracker fingers and chocolate shavings to complete this most elegant salute to the s’more.


 

The secret to Morimoto’s success is that behind the formidable technical culinary skill and the formality, there’s lots of fun, too. He’s often in the house, and can be spied shaking hands, posing jovially for photos and even sitting down with guests at the table for a few moments. This may be the 14th restaurant Masaharu Morimoto has opened, but it still feels as special as his first — perhaps the most incredible feat of them all. Morimoto

Restaurant reviews are done anonymously at Review-Journal expense. Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0474. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
This boozy milkshake is big enough to share with seven of your best friends
Fiddlestix makes an "8 Man Milkshake" that's packed with alcohol. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five Chris Stapleton songs you need to hear
D. Michael Evola opened E-String to make New York style pizza
Shamrock Macarons at Morels at Palazzo
Zuma serves a sushi roll topped with 24-karat gold
La Cirque covers their quail and foie gras in real gold
Jean-Georges Steakhouse seves chocolate gold bars
3 ways you can eat gold in Las Vegas
Artist Kathleen Nathan On The Virtues Of Library Galleries
The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s art galleries offers artists a more relaxed vibe for showing their work. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada SPCA Competes In Tournament Of Tails
The NSPCA and its mascot cat, Prince, are competing in an online voting challenge for a $5,000 grand prize.
Red carpet at MGM for Dan Reynolds Believer screening
Kats on the red carpet for the VIP screening of "Believer," the documentary by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds about how the Mormon Church treats its LGBTQ members.
Eureka's cocktail comes with a "buzz button" that will shock your taste buds
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed
‘The Sopranos’ Prequel Film Confirmed Deadline reports that New Line has purchased Chase and Lawrence Konner’s screenplay for their “Sopranos” prequel film. The working title for the prequel is “The Many Saints of Newark.” Chase created the HBO series, which ran for six seasons, and Konner served as a writer. “The Many Saints of Newark” is set during the 1960s riots in the New Jersey city between the African-American and Italian communities. Multiple characters from the series, albeit younger versions, are expected to star in the film. The Sopranos won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards and five Golden Globe Awards during its run.
The Big Bounce America is coming to the Las Vegas Valley
The Big Bounce America. (Courtesy Big Bounce America)
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History
The 90th Oscars Were the Least Watched in History According to The Hollywood Reporter, 26.5 million watched the Oscars, a 20 percent drop from last year. The 26.5 million viewers would be an all-time low for the Oscars. Overnight returns had the lengthy ABC telecast averaging a 18.9 rating among households between 8 and 11 p.m. ET. Last year, 32.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the ceremony. The previous low for viewership was 32 million viewers in 2008 when Jon Stewart was host. The Shape of Water picked up an award for Best Picture, while Gary Oldman and Frances McDormand won Best Actor and Actress, respectively.
March First Friday theme is “Think”
First Friday art, culture, music and food event takes place on the first Friday of every month in and around the studios and galleries of the Arts District in downtown Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon)
Cirque’s One Night for One Drop gets ready for the big night
Cirque du Soleil’s “One Night for One Drop” performed a dress rehearsal for the annual benefit show. This year’s show at Mandalay Bay is based on the life of singer-songwriter Jewel. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like