Morimoto Asia - The Priciest Street Food I Ever Lovedby Roan Poulter, contributing writer
Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs has been on my list for some time; whether that stemmed from too many episodes of Iron Chef or the idea of Asian street food coalescing in a single Disney Dining location, I can't say.
Immediately after walking in, I was sure I had made the right decision. The warm modern design feels uniquely Japanese; that coupled with the smells of well-prepared street food lends confidence in the high concept of Master Chef Masaharu Morimoto.
The wait staff is accommodating and, at least while we were there, performs a tag team order and delivery system so that you never really know who exactly your official server is. I only mention this as it might later cause confusion if you were trying to split a check with a larger group of friends. Also worth noting that they give Annual Passholder discounts, but only until a certain time, based upon your arrival. We were 10 minutes too late. That is especially disappointing when it would have saved me $50.00.
What We Had:
Hamachi Tartare: It could be that I don't care for tartare, but I found the dish to be too soft on my tongue, almost as if chewing were unnecessary. I would suggest ordering sashimi if you want plain raw fish.
Morimoto Spare Ribs (pork ribs, cilantro, hoisin sweet chili glaze): These were the most amazing thing, so filled with flavor and savor that everything else paled in comparison. Unfortunately we ordered them after our meal, a delicious game of culinary Russian roulette.
Morimoto Buri-Bop (Korean-style yellowtail rice bowl served in a hot clay pot, finished with egg yolk, prepared table side): This was the highest recommendation from the flurry of servers and with good reason, it was a masterfully spiced and perfectly balanced fish dish. The extra entertainment of the table side preparation is interesting and necessary as the yolk is best in the first minute or so.
Tonkotsu Ramen (rich pork broth, egg noodles, roasted pork, soy marinated egg, woodear mushroom, pickled ginger): The pork was excellent, but the dish overall lacked the flavor punch it deserved. Ramen can be such a beautifully nuanced meal, this was woefully under spiced.
Sushi: I can't believe I'm saying this, but the sushi was only acceptable. It could be that by comparison with other items we had the sushi was not a standout, but there was no originality to any of the multiple rolls we had. You could get comparable sushi in any strip mall in Minnesota.
Kakuni Pork Bao (steamed buns, braised pork belly, lettuce, spicy mayo): These would have been amazing, but they had sat long enough somewhere that the buns had partially dried out, giving a textural discontinuity that left me wondering just how excellent they would have been if they hadn't died under a heat lamp.
Crispy Popcorn Shrimp Tempura (signature tempura shrimp, spicy gochujang aioli). A flavorful and perfectly fried shrimp dish. Again these were ordered after the meal, which may have blessed them with a quick delivery, not waiting on other items to finish. The gochujang aioli was simply amazing, if only they sold it at the door.
Singapore Laksa Noodle (creamy coconut and spicy curry broth, rice noodles, chicken meatball, soy marinated egg): A delicious and flavorful dish. The coconut and curry broth absolutely explode with an exotic and tropical flavor, while the chicken and egg provide a much appreciated protein punch.
Our ratings are as follows:
- Dad (42): 4.8 of 5 - Maybe the best meal I ever had at Disney. However, the bill left me with a lingering dyspepsia that has yet to fully clear itself. Be warned that you can easily spend $100 per person eating here if you get too caught up on dim sum madness and appetizer panic. Makes me wonder if the doors that open toward the yawning abyss are there for people who can't afford to pay the bill.
- Mom (42): 4.5 of 5 – Loved the spare ribs and the Buri-Bop. Would skip the sushi.
- Daughter (19): 4.8 of 5 – The Buri-Bop was amazing. Lots of gluten all around, but plenty of choices for the intolerant in your family.
- Son (17): 4.7 of 5 – The ribs were far and away the best thing, just wish there were more of them. The ramen was good, but might try something a little more exciting next time.
Reviewer's Request: If you have a restaurant you've always wanted reviewed, please let me know in the comments. Otherwise I'm wandering the parks, forced to stumble upon some worthy establishment by dumb luck. Please realize that I won't be able to eat at Victoria and Albert's every week, I live on a budget, too, ya know.