Saturday, June 18, 2011

Morimoto Waikiki in the Morning: Design for Dining

Restaurant entrance.
Inside dining room.
Outside dining space.
(all images: TheHopefulTraveler)
In a first for a Chef Masaharu Morimoto restaurant, the location at The Waikiki Edition is also open for breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. Even for the first meal of the day Morimoto Waikiki applies Chef Morimoto's contemporary Japanese cuisine to the menu unlike high profile restaurants of celebrity chefs at other hotels which dispenses a standard morning menu. Of course with this restaurant being the only on-site dining facility, it was probably a mutual agreement to be open for all daily meals for the convenience of hotel guests.

In the brightness of the morning sun, I had a clear view of the entire restaurant compared to the dimmed lighting for dinner the night before. Hardwood floors extend from the inside dining room to the outside dining area which overlook the Ala Wai Marina. White table tops almost seem to float over lucite bases. The floor-to-ceiling windows gives a flow between the two dining areas. Coral floating below light fixtures, sheer curtains and two walls with a unique orchid artwork completes the sophisticated design. Private dining spaces are created through the use of curtains, coffee tables, fire pits, sofas and coffee tables. For many of us who have witnessed Chef Morimoto in the frenzy of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, enjoying his food in this alternate atmosphere is welcoming.

The restaurant bar.
Sofas for guests waiting at reception.
Of course for those wanting to stick to a traditional menu, the eggs and bacon are still there. But this is one of the few restaurants where guests can enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast of grilled miso cod, onsen tamago (egg poached in the shell), tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and miso soup ($30) . In his esthetic of using local ingredients, the menu even offers a Hawaiian Fruit Pizza with lilikoi sabayon ($13).

Chef's Loco Moto.
Iced Coffee & OJ.
Before ending my stay at the Waikiki Edition, I ordered the Chef's Loco Moto ($18, wagyu beef, sunny side up egg, fukujinzuke pickles and hayashi gravy) which is a take on the local favorite called the Loco Moco which is a hamburger patty over a bed of rice topped with brown gravy and a sunny side up egg.

It was not what I was expecting. The version that arrived at my table was a deconstructed dish with the strips of tender beef smothered in gravy on one side, rice on the other and a perfectly prepared egg that with a poke of my fork oozed its yolk over the separated ingredients one I. With the red pickles serving as an accent color it was part art part meal. The Chef's Loco Moto is also offered during lunch and dinner. Accompanied with an iced coffee ($4.50) and orange juice ($5) I was ready for the day. Seated in the outside dining space with a clear view of the ocean and marina, I can't remember the last time I had such a relaxing breakfast.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.


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