When Walt Disney World Resort welcomed the Pan-Asian concept, Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs this past September, we asked the Iron Chef what were his favorite dishes on the menu. His response? Orlando's newest celebrity chef likened it to choosing a favorite child. He could not (or would not) do it.
Open until 2 a.m. daily, Morimoto Asia's Forbidden Lounge brings new flare to dining in Orlando serving a scaled back version of the dinner and lunch menus. And yet, we understand Chef Morimoto's dilemma, how do you choose a favorite child? Or in this case a favorite dish to try?
Chef Morimoto is well known for his knife skills. At Morimoto Asia's opening event, he filleted a 100-pound tuna masterfully in front of an eager audience to create a 60-foot maki sushi roll. A robust variety of rolls, sushi and sashimi propel the menu selection quandary.
In Orlando, there are many places to find pizza and tacos. But not like this. Crunch, heat and super fresh fish come together for Morimoto's version of Tuna Pizza. A mini taco shell is the Hamachi Tacos' handy vessel for yellowtail sashimi, yuzu kosho (a fermented paste made from chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt) guacamole and lime. Oyster lovers will want to ask about the "today's oyster" option.
Dim Sum. Oh, the Dim Sum! The Forbidden Lounge's menu boasts eight options, only a reduction of three from the full dinner menu. Try the Shrimp Ha-goa, Shumai and Chicken Dumpling.
The spicy gochujang (hot pepper paste) aioli on the Rock Shrimp Tempura create an addictive snack. The Kakuni Pork Boa and Chicken Boa are among the heartier options on the Forbidden Lounge's menu for meat-lovers looking for something a bit more substantial.
If you've never tried sake, this is the perfect spot to give it a go. The corporate beverage director for Morimoto Restaurant Group and certified sake sommelier, Eduardo Dingler noted in a recent demonstration that while sake has a rich history dating back hundreds of years, "sake can be playful and fun." Dip your toe in the water with a creative sake cocktail or sample the light and refreshing sake from the Iron Chef himself with a glass of Morimoto Junmai Daiginjo, Ishikawa.
We'll be heading back soon to attempt, once again, to choose our "favorite child." This time from the Morimoto Street Food menu, a new quick-service offering that opened on December 18 outside the restaurant's main entrance. A small selection of egg rolls, salads and sushi rolls are perfect for dinners on the go.
You and your family are in for a treat because there is something for every food craving in Orlando. See why dining in Orlando can be a thrill ride for your taste buds. Just come hungry!