Mastering Morimoto

We get a glimpse into the world of the renowned Iron Chef

Hear that? It's the sounds of the summoning gongs: Morimoto has opened his second South Florida restaurant at the recently renovated Shelborne Wyndham Grand Hotel—and with the addition of Albert Trummer's Drawing Room cocktail bar and lounge, the iconic Art Deco landmark is shining like a new penny. 

The restaurant oozes South Beach exuberance at its best: A central marble bar adorned with lantern-like chandeliers creates a divide between the back dining area—which includes a sushi bar—and the front room, which is completely open to the pool. Don't worry, they manage to keep it properly acclimated, or perhaps we were so mesmerized by the golden decor that we just didn't notice.

The restaurant's decor is as decadent as the food | Photo: Morimoto South Beach

The extensive menu may have been responsible for the distraction, too. We recommend you study it before visiting; reading the whole thing and making a selection could easily take up to 20 minutes. We decided to skip the sushi and go straight for the hot appetizers, but not without having the notorious toro tartare ($28)—ground to a paste-like consistency and shaped in specially made rectangle frames. The wasabi, nori paste, sour cream and guacamole sauces served with it only brighten the freshness of the fish further.

You should definitely remember these three words: oyster foie gras ($24). Three bivalves are served on top of a bed of Himalayan seasoned salt, and are mixed with a fatty chunk of foie and uni in a teriyaki sauce. It's the kind of stuff dreams are made of.

The Hamachi kama ($15), perched atop a beautiful hand-painted porcelain smoker, melted off the bone. Not all that glitters is gold, though, and unfortunately the conch takoyaki balls with teriyaki sauce ($16) left a lot to be desired.

The highly recommended Duck, Duck, Duck ($38) entrée was worth the wait. It's served three ways: confited, in fried rice with quail egg and as a meatball in a silky broth. The complexity of the soup made the latter the most surprising of the three. We were told that the dish will change periodically, with different cooking techniques.

If you make it in sometime this month, and we hope you do, the chef has promised to stick around to make sure his new Miami microcosm runs smoothly.