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Omakase Dinner at Morimoto NYC (1 June 2007)

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When my family was in New York last week, we dined at Morimoto NYC. Everyone had the Omakase Dinner (Chef’s tasting menu). Here’s what we had and my comments:

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Course #1: Toro (Tuna Belly) Tartare

The toro was delightfully fresh and rich tasting. I loved the little rice cracker balls. They added a nice crunchy textural contrast, and wish there was more of them.

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Course #2: Kampachi Sashimi with Shiitake

The flavor profile of this dish tasted a bit Chinese to me, like the Cantonese steamed fish finished with hot oil on the top. The fish was great, but the sauce and mushrooms were a bit overpowering for the delicate fish. By the way, “Shiitake mushroom” is redundant because “take” means “mushroom” in Japanese.

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Course #3: Microgreen salad, salmon, cranberry beans, asparagus, yogurt mousse and matcha (green tea) dressing

This dish is a winner. It’s visually interesting, with wonderful color contrasts and effective positive use of negative space (small modular elements on an enormous plate). It also perfectly captures the essence of the season and of this time of year – very important in Japanese traditional cuisine.

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Course #4: Kumamoto oysters steamed with foie gras, uni (sea urchin), and teriyaki glaze

Oysters, foie gras, and sea urchin together in one dish is like trying way too hard to be luxury and ending up tacky and nouveau riche. In any case, the teriyaki glaze pretty much covered up the taste of the ingredients anyway. Although presenting the oysters on rock salt mixed with whole spices (cardamom, cloves, peppercorns) was innovative and added to the olfactory interest, this dish just seems like a waste of potentially fabulous ingredients.

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Course #5: Sushi: Chuu-Toro, Tai, Mirugai, Kohada, Amaebi

Fresh ingredients well executed. You can’t mess with tradition here. This one gets an “A”. “A+”s don’t come easy around here 😉

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Course #6: Intermezzo – “Matcha” (Powdered green tea used in tea ceremony) and Coconut Macaroon

This course sounds great conceptually, but failed in execution and ended up gimmicky. The waiters came around with bamboo whisks and performed a mini tea ceremony by whisking the the powdered green tea together with hot water. The green tea was not nearly strong enough to stand up to the super-sweet lingering taste of the coconutty macaroons. The macaroons at Bouley Bakery are much better. The green tea used in a real tea ceremony is supposed to be very thick and bitter to contrast with the sweet. No need to skimp on matcha powder when people are paying over a hundred bucks for an omakase dinner!

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Course #7: Garam Masala Encrusted Lobster with Lemon Foam

Finally, the Iron Chef hits a home run! I wanted to lick and suck every crevice of that lobster carcass clean. Clearly pushing the boundaries of “Japanese cuisine” here, but very New York with the interethnic borrowing of the garam masala to produce something new. In any case, it works and that’s why he’s still an Iron Chef.

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Course #8: Wagyu with Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Nice, but underwhelming. To be fair, I have always been underwhelmed by Kobe beef/wagyu. So what if the cows get massages and get to drink beer? I would rather not pay the premium for pampered cattle and drink the beer and get the massages myself.

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Course #9: Dessert – Red Bean (Azuki) Bean Cake with Apricot Sorbet

The cake was a bit dry, but it provided a great contrast to the sorbet, which tasted lively and fresh. A pleasant finish to a roller-coaster of a meal. Restrained enough as to not make you forget the previous 8 courses.

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Activism Avaaz Campaign Culture Democracy Education Fun Human Rights Internet Iran Iraq Israel Links Marketing Media Middle East News Personal Politics Technology translation Video YouTube

Avaaz Video Featured on YouTube Front Page This Week

STOP THE CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS


I was part of the creative team of the Clash video, and worked on the localization/subtitling of the non-English versions. After our video was featured on YouTube earlier this week, the number of view counts has shot up dramatically. The video is stirring up quite a buzz online!

RICKEN PATEL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AVAAZ.ORG’s YOUTUBE DEBUT


This was shot using my MacBook’s built-in webcam at Avaaz.org’s New York office.

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Canada Culture Fun Marketing Media New York NYC Quebec Tourism Travel

Montreal Tourism Campaign: “Lose The….”

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I took this photo last night, by the ACE Canal Street station in Soho. Great campaign. Makes me want to go back to Montreal.

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Blogging Freedom and Human Rights in Egypt

Support freedom of speech online! Find out more and take action:

CitizenReporter.org with BicycleMark: The Case of Jailed Blogger Monem (Podcast)

ZapBoom The Sound That Change Makes: Mary’s blog post about Free Monem Campaign

Reporters sans frontières petition:

“We call for the release of Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman (Kareem Amer) and of Abdul-Moneim Mahmud, who have been imprisoned for expressing their opinion online. We urge the organisers of the Internet Governance Forum to intervene with the Egyptian authorities on behalf of these two bloggers. It would be intolerable for a UN summit on the future of the Internet to be held in a country which imprisons bloggers”.

Free Monem Campaign Site

Free Kareem!

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Culture Internet iTunes Music New York Podcasting Podcasts

Björk and Konono No. 1 LIVE Internet Stream

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(Above) Bjork concert at the United Palace on May 5, 2007. Credit: Stephanie Berger

Last night, I listened to NPR’s live internet stream of Konono No. 1 and Björk playing live from the United Palace in NYC. Isn’t technology wonderful? You can still hear the concert online at the NPR Music website and download the full concert by subscribing to the All Songs Considered podcast.