Sake Fest: Food

30 04 2009

Philadelphia Sake Fest is all about the sake, but food vendors are invited as well.  The food is always gone in an hour.  This year was no exception so we made it a point to eat before we drank.

First we hit up Le Champignon De Tokio.  This is a quirky little restaurant in Old City that serves Japanese, Thai, and French cuisine.  The Japanese is the best and sometimes I think that the restaurant needs to focus on one type of cuisine.  I managed to taste a few different types from their sushi selection:

Le Champion


The rice was almost perfect–some would say it was all-the-way perfect but I like my rice a little moister than normal, and this rice was a tad dry for my taste.  The salmon was delicious–lots of flavor and very fresh.  A great start to the evening.sushi

Margaret Kuo’s, a very successful Asian food restaurant on the Main Line, had a chef making gyoza and fried rice on the spot.Kuo


This guy was fast:cooking

The gyoza was so uniquely flavored and nicely heavy on the ginger. The fried rice with wild mushrooms also contributed a strong flavor to the dish. The sweet ginger and smoky mushroom flavors complimented each other well.
fried rice and dumplings

Peace A Pizza makes decent pizza–the sauce is a little too sweet but I love the toppings. What were they doing at Sake Fest, though?

Peace A Pizza was the only vendor that had food left at the end of the event and people were lined up to get it.  a pizza

Morimoto was serving their tuna pizza on a tortilla with anchovy sauce and jalapeno pepper.  So fresh.  So clean.  So tasty. So pink and green.tuna pizza


I checked back at Le Champignon at 7:00 and the sushi was already gone:

empty at 7

Maido was giving out some tasty Japanese snacks.  Perfect with sake.



Then there were the Morimoto macarons.  I’ve already professed my love (click here).

morimoto macaroons


The overall food selection was decent and enjoyable, but I’d like to see more cohesiveness between what is being served and more of a connection between the food and the sake next year.


Morimoto Macarons

10 04 2009

Morimoto macarons are so good that they deserve their own post so while Matt and I are working on Sake Fest reviews, I thought I would give you this teaser. Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia provided these macarons (not to be confused with “macaroons,” which are the cookies made with coconut) at the Fest and it was single-handedly the best dessert I have ever tasted (from a restaurant).


The flavors were sakura (cherry blossom), green tea, and Calpis (a fizzy yogurt drink). The outside was light and airy, slightly crunchy, thin, and gave just slightly when you bit into it, making way for the slightly chewy second layer, until finally you got to the almost creamy and icing-like center that contained most of the flavor.  To get the details on what macarons are actually made of, click here.

The slightly mysterious side to these delectable munchies is that they aren’t on the regular Morimoto menu and I can’t find any reference to these particular flavors on the internet.  When I emailed Morimoto to ask them about these cookies, I got no answer. Hmmmm. If anyone has any idea of where I can find more information, or better yet, buy these macarons, please let me know!


Morimoto in New York serves kabocha macarons, according to Page Six magazine and Lee-Sean had coconut-flavored macarons at his omakase dinner there.  The mystery continues.

Morimoto Philadelphia

27 07 2008

Recently we went to Morimoto restaurant in Philadelphia. Located on Chestnut between 7th and 8th, the nondescript front makes it easy to miss.

We ordered the omakase tasting menu and liked it, but weren’t as impressed as we thought we should have been. The only sake we got to taste was the Morimoto Junmai, and the food completely outshone the drinks. I would like to go back and order a higher priced option to see what changes–the quality of the drinks, food, or simply the quantity.

Tasting menu:

1. Bele Casel Prosecco, with tartar chu-toro with caviar and fresh wasabi. I was so proud of myself for loving this dish as I am usually not a huge fan of caviar.
2. Huber “Hugo” Gruner Veltliner from Austria and carpacio yuzu hamachi
3. Daniel Gehrs un-oaked California chard with seared hamachi and microgreen salad

I enjoyed the first three dishes and could have called myself satisfied with them but my husband thought they were all too similar. I thought they were fresh and flavorful and not filling at all.

4. Strawberry gele with mint

5. Morimoto Soba Ale with soba carbonara–this combination of drink/food didn’t really fit together as both were very heavy. But this was our favorite dish: soba boiled in green tea and served with scallops, bacon, Parmesan cheese, and edamame.
6. Ratzenberger German Reisling with black miso cod–this was my husband’s favorite, served with pickled daikon and black beans. I was a little put off my the fishy taste of the cod.
7. Morimoto Junmai sake with nigirizushi. The rice was perfect. By this point I was stuffed and couldn’t finish the 5 pieces that were served.
8. Domaine de Coyeux Muscat from France with no-flour chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse, white and black miso sauces.

We had differing opinions of the dessert. I thought the cake was amazing just by itself but I did not enjoy the miso sauces with it. Usually I love the salty-sweet combination, but the taste of the miso was too strong for the chocolate.

I would recommend Morimoto to anyone, but if we go back, I’d like to sample some of their specialty dishes and especially peruse the extensive sake list they have available.