By Jim Begley | December 2, 2016 | Food & Drink
Television's favorite Iron Chef has (finally!) landed in Vegas.
Chef Morimoto's maki squares.
After a three-year flirtation with Las Vegas, chef Masaharu Morimoto has opened his highly-anticipated Morimoto Las Vegas in MGM Grand’s former Shibuya space. Originally slated for Mirage, the celebrity chef instead unveiled his stylistic Japanese cuisine in a sleek, Yabu Pushelberg-designed room—and as a sneak peek would indicate, the restaurant was worth the wait.
Diners will now have the opportunity to experience dishes that have cemented the Iron Chef’s fame, including an innovative toro tartare presentation served with six condiments. But the highlights of the Morimoto Las Vegas experience are his first-ever teppan tables. As for favorite dishes? “They’re all my favorite, but the teppan menu is one of the most exciting features, using my favorite ingredients—any kind of meat!” he enthuses.
Teppanyaki, the theatrical cooking method where diners surround a large, flat grill, gained popularity stateside at Benihana restaurants. But Morimoto offers an atypical hibachi experience with nary a flaming onion volcano in sight. Instead, the slate includes rich Japanese A5 wagyu beef sukiyaki—Asian fondue for the uninitiated—with a soft poached jidori (free-range) egg for dipping. As for his Vegas invasion, Morimoto says that he designs all his menus with a nod toward local palates, and is adding Vegas exclusives, such as spicy tuna tacos; laksa noodle soup (a combination of Chinese and Malay flavors, with tonkotsu broth, coconut milk, ground pork, and red curry); and ishiyaki kakuni bop—pork belly cooked with dramatic, Iron Chef flair in a hot stone bowl tableside. “It’s not easy—it’s Las Vegas—but I’m up for it,” he laughs. 702-891-3001
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL