I stopped by Morimoto Asia earlier this week for a quick, light dinner. It was fabulous, and because I’m out of practice writing food reviews, I thought I’d do this.
First things first: I saw nothing but 100% mask compliance throughout Disney Springs, including inside Morimoto Asia. Inside the restaurant, guests were spaced very far apart – I’m guessing there was at least 10 feet between me and the next-closest party. Also, menus are now provided via QR codes shown on tabletop cards.
Our first two appetizers were the Hamachi Tartare ($18) and a daily special of Grilled Octopus ($16). The Hamachi Tartare is yellowtail with soy sauce, avocado, Japanese mayo, wasabi, shallot, chive, and (I think) a Japanese bayberry palate cleanser. The yellowtail was fresh, smooth, and rich. So rich, in fact, that it benefited from the soy sauce, challot, and chive. That worked out well, since our server explained that the best way to eat the hamachi was to run your spoon across one side of the fish, then run the spoon across the accompaniments, getting a little bit of everything in each bite.
My favorite item of the evening was the Grilled Octopus ($16) which came with a potato emulsion and (I think – I’m clearly out of practice with food reviews) crispy onions, with a spicy aioli. The octopus was perfect – tender, but with some texture, and a delicious smoky flavor. If you’d told me it was some sort of exotic beef, I would’ve believed you. The potato emulsion smoothed out the smoky flavor, the crunchy bits added different texture, and the aioli brought a tiny, tiny bit of heat. At the risk of Disney accountants hearing this, I think this is a bargain at $16 – it’d be $24 at Tiffins, and not as good.
My dining companion went with the Stir-Fried Tofu Medley ($20) for her main course. The tofu is flash-fried in a wok, with bok choi, broccolini, and bell pepper, then served with a sweet soy broth. The vegetables retained just the right amount of char flavor from the wok, and the sweet soy was light and everything that you’d want in a broth. The stir-fry came with a side of rice.
I went with two more appetizers for my main course. The first was a simple miso soup ($9) with tofu and scallions. Soup isn’t the first thing you think of when you’re in Florida and it’s 93 degrees outside, but I’ve been watching a lot of Japanese cooking videos, and I really wanted a cup. This didn’t disappoint – the miso was flavorful, there was a ton of tofu, and the scallions were fresh and bright. If you want a larger portion, a bowl of soup is $12.
The third appetizer I tried was the Shumai ($16). This is four steamed dumplings filled with pork, shrimp, and mushroom, and topped with tobiko (flying fish) caviar. Each dumpling is about the size of a large marshmallow, and they’re served with a soy dipping sauce. These are very filling – I ate two of them and was perfectly happy – so consider splitting this two ways.
Morimoto Asia accepts Tables in Wonderland discounts. With one cocktail (Manhattan, $18) and 18% gratuity, the total was $102 for two people.
Part of what made this experience great was undoubtedly that it was good just to be in Disney Springs after more than three months away. The kitchen at Morimoto Asia doesn’t seem to have missed a beat, though, as the food they’re putting out right now is both good, and a good value. It’s good to see them back.