This article really is about an outstanding Japanese restaurant. The fact that one of the world's most celebrated actresses was sitting at the table next to me was simply an added perk. The highlight of the evening was most certainly the food.
I stumbled upon Morimoto's restaurant as I was looking at The Modern hotel online before an upcoming trip to Oahu. I knew of him by reputation and had seen him compete on tv on Iron Chef. I booked my reservation for dinner weeks in advance and it was definitely worth waiting for.
The restaurant itself is coastal elegance at it's best. Encased shells and tropical plants adorn the dining room while firepits and shrubberies fill the outside deck. The strong tropical vibe continues on with the bright green chairs and teak tables.
The hostess was very accommodating when I requested to sit outside - the weather was beautiful and I wanted to soak in as much of the warm air as possible. She took me through the bar and restaurant to the deck which is sizeable on its own. It wasn't until I was seated and had a sip of water that I spotted the Oscar winner.
So lets take 20 seconds and discuss Meryl. She was there with her husband and another couple. The group were having a great time and you could tell she was making everyone laugh. At first I thought I must be wrong and so I googled to see who her husband was - Don Gummer- and there he was, seated right next to her. I didn't ask for a photo or bother them - though after I wish I had sent her a glass of champagne. But moving on to Mr. Morimoto - a celebrity in his own right.
I started off with the Cucumber Shisho Collins - a mix of gin and elderflower, cucumber water and lemon lime. Refreshing and bright. The menu excited me and I opted for a selection of appetizers instead of an entree. The pork gyoza were flavourful with tender. The crispy rock shrimp tempura were perfect for dipping and I could have ate an entire basket of them. The California rolls may be cliche, but they were perfectly crafted and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients. Unfortunately I was too full to even attempt dessert but I saw several come out from the kitchen and would definitely recommend any of them.
Not only was my dining experience wonderful but the man behind the food is equally impressive. After an injury forced him to give up a potential career in baseball, he began training as a chef in Hiroshima and opened his own restaurant by the age of 24. Chef Masaharu Morimoto has won and impressive list of awards including the James Beard Foundation Award and the Julia Child Award for his cookbook. He has gone on to open an empire of celebrated restaurants around the world, designed his own knife line, published cookbooks and markets his own cooking oil, wine, sake and beer.