Remember that collaboration dinner we told you about a couple weeks ago? The two-night-only, side-by-side Vetri/Morimoto pairing event? Yeah, well it sold out fast and is happening tonight, but for all of you out there who aren’t one of the 32 people total who will get to actually eat this meal, here’s a quick look at how one of the plates turned out.
That is seriously one of the most lovely things I’ve seen in a long time. And while I’m not often envious of people tasting dinners (because god knows I’ve been to more than my share), I am more than a little jealous of the folks sitting down to this table.
Photo courtesy Cashman & Associates [Twitter]
Philadelphia is a town with a lot of collaboration dinners. A lot of event dinners and pairing dinners and tasting dinners and otherwise special nights populated by chefs moving outside their comfort zones to do things other than cooking the regular menu in their own restaurants.
This is, on balance, an excellent thing. The only real downside? The whole tap dance can sometimes seem played out. Like “Oh, another Korean taco night at that French restaurant with the award-winning New American chef? When is someone going to do something new.”
The answer is January 21st and 22nd. Because that’s the night Vetri and Morimoto are getting together for two Japanese-Italian collaboration dinners at their respective restaurants.
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A battle between two masters of Japanese flavors, our 29th Open Stove was an epic that, despite physical challenges designed to irritate and confound the competitors, left spectators impressed. William Lindsay, sous chef at Morimoto (assisted by fellow sous Doug Allen), went head to head with Phila Lorn, sous chef at CoZara (assisted by Angelo LaBate, also of CoZara). Each team led off aggressively, plating heavy-duty amuses that left nobody wondering whether or not they were were playing to win…
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Sancho Pistola’s Taco Exchange brings visiting chefs to the Fishtown bar for some very interesting collaborations. Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 21st, two of Morimoto’s chefs are coming to Fishtown to make hamachi tacos.
Morimoto chef de cuisine Benjamin Dayag and sous chef William Lindsay will be teaming up with Sancho Pistola’s Adan Trinidad to offer a chilled taco dish they created especially for the evening.
Hamachi, Akamiso-Konbu Vinaigrette, Pickled Tomatillo, Wasabi Crème Fraiche and Puffed Rice on a Daikon Taco
The tacos will be sold by the pair for $13. The tacos will be available after 9 p.m.
Sancho Pistola’s [Foobooz]
Masaharu Morimoto isn’t exactly a regular fixture behind the sushi bar at his namesake restaurant in Philly. But according to the OG Iron Chef’s Twitter, he will be in Philadelphia on Sunday, at Morimoto, breaking down a whole fish to make sushi.
So if you’ve always had an urge to watch the master in action (and seriously, that man knows what to do with a knife and a whole tuna), now you know where to be. There are no other details on the event just yet, but I’d suggest that making reservations might be a smart move.
UPDATE: Just got word from the folks at Morimoto and they let me know that the chef will be on hand “to demonstrate breaking down a Hiramsa (wild yellowtail) and a Hirame (Japanese Fluke) while offering guests dining at the sushi bar tastings of seasonal and signature sushi dishes.” Exec chef Benjamin Dayag will also be there, offering tastings of the new spring menu.
There will be two seatings at the sushi bar for the butchery demonstration and spring menu tastings, one at 5:30 and one at 7:30. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 215-413-9070.
Last month we told you how Starr Restaurants was making it easy for diners to donate to support Philadelphia schools. Stephen Starr’s restaurants have also put together some interesting packages that you can bid on online. They include everything from omakase for four at Morimoto to a kids’ pizza party at Pizzeria Stella. There’s even an item that includes dinner for two at all 20 of Starr’s Philadelphia restaurants.
Philadelphia’s Children First Fund [Charitybuzz]
Look out Little Baby’s Ice Cream. Morimoto and his pastry chef Thomas McCarthy have developed a line of unconventional ice cream and sorbet flavors. And they’re going to be for sale at Morimoto in Philadelphia. Flavors will include such unusual flavors such as Popcorn, Miso Honey and Chicken ‘n Waffle.
The ice cream can be purchased to-go at Morimoto’s host stand as well as from servers at the end of a meal. The ice cream launch this Friday and will cost $10 per container.
Flavors available »
Philadelphia’s Lone Paparazzo HughE Dillon has been busy tracking the cast of Paranoia as they film around Philadelphia. And Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Liam Hemsworth and fiance Miley Cyrus have been spotted eating all around town.
Among the spots:
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Yesterday, we had Part 1 of Trey Popp’s ramen adventure. Today, we present the conclusion, in which he and his faithful companion actually go and eat some ramen in an attempt to determine what the big deal is all about. ~JS
First, we went upscale.
To my palate—unschooled and therefore unspoiled by expectations—the pork belly ramen at Morimoto (above) was remarkable mostly for how thoroughly porky its broth was. As Asian soups go, my touchstones are the intensely aromatic soups of Thailand, and the heavily spiced and condiment-doused foe of Laos (the identical twin of Vietnamese pho, only spelled in accordance with a different transliteration system). The tonkotsu at Morimoto struck me as the product of a different priority: It was less about showing off its ancillary aromatics than emphasizing pork flavor to the nth degree. This it did splendidly, with a full-throated flavor but without the off-putting coagulation of fat that marred a subsequent bowl at Nom Nom Ramen. The noodles were cooked the way I like most noodles: Tender but retaining the spring promised by their kinks. On top were a couple quarter-inch thick slices of pork belly and a hard-cooked egg split down the middle (a minute or two past the soft-cooked egg the menu advertised). Still, it was pretty delicious. I’d slurp it up happily in the winter, though $15 is a stretch for any soup.
My friend the globetrotting ramen expert, though, dismissed the pork belly as inauthentically thick “window dressing.” But it was exquisitely tender, and the soup overall was good enough to win the Iron Chef’s “schtick” a pass in his book.
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A couple weeks ago, I tasked Philly mag’s food critic, Trey Popp, with what I thought was a fairly simple task: Go check out the ramen that has been on the menu at Morimoto forever and see how it stands up to all the newcomers in town. Unsurprisingly (in retrospect), he approached the assignment with a bit more…rigor than I expected. This is Part 1 of his ramen report. Check out Part 2 tomorrow. ~JS
I am a ramen virgin.
There, I said it. Can there be a more embarrassing ignorance for a Philly food writer to own up to in the spring of 2012? Ramen, as you’ve no doubt heard, is the next Next Big Thing. It’s this year’s Korean shortrib taco, the new hand-stretched fior di latte, the next Izakaya pop-up. And here I am, 12 years on from a 12-hour stint on Japanese soil—ten of them in a long-haul-layover coma and the rest waiting for a flight to five-dollar-a-day-land—trying to explain to my wife that there’s apparently more to ramen than peeling the top off a plastic cup and plugging the electric kettle into your dorm room wall.
Exactly how much more, though, is the question.
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