Posts Tagged ‘sashimi’

Where to Eat in Wailea: Morimoto Maui

Hamachi tacos at Morimoto Maui

If you’re looking for a great restaurant in Wailea, I highly recommend checking out Morimoto Maui located at the Andaz Maui Resort. This Hawaiian outpost of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s eponymous restaurant is great for advanced foodies and sushi novices alike.

Left: Ishi Yaka Buri Bop Right: Ramen soup (Morimoto chicken soup)

Morimoto Maui’s menu had so many dishes that I wanted to try, that I ate at this restaurant four times during my recent trip. I also craved it as soon as I left.

Sushi and pickled ginger at Morimoto Maui

The menu focuses on a mix of Western and Japanese dishes, using the freshest local Hawaiian ingredients. The whole vibe is upscale yet casual, and the setting is modern, laid back and Aloha chic.

Patio at Morimoto Maui

The restaurant is has a small outdoor bar, a covered outdoor patio, sushi bar, and indoor seating options.

Tempura calamari salad served with quinoa and white miso dressing ($19)

Morimoto Maui is a great choice for foodies and beach bums alike– the vibe is mellow and you can totally cruise in for lunch in your cover-up and flip flops.

Ishi yaki buri bop: yellowtail on rice bowl prepared table side in a hot stone bowl ($30)

Open for both lunch and dinner, Morimoto Maui has innovative and classic dishes. I loved the hamachi tacos made with yellowtail, avocado, and creamy nuoc cham ($16) so much I ordered them every visit. Despite the hot and humid tropical environment, the ramen soup with chicken ($16) is also a standout and big enough to share. I noticed it on a lot of tables.

The yellowtail on rice after being prepared tableside

Sushi and sashimi is top notch. The Ishi Yaki Buri Bop ($39)– a rice bowl made with yellowtail cooked at your table in a hot stone bowl was inspired, delicious and satisfying. It’s also fun to order.

Sunset Yuzu Drop ($15) cocktail at Morimoto Maui

The restaurant has an inspired and witty cocktail list (Mai Chai or Sibiscus Hazerac, anyone?) as well as an extensive list of sakes and wines.

Morimoto Maui’s Aloha Chic Bar

The service is as impressive as the food. I’d suggest making a reservation if you’re planning on coming for dinner, particularly if you have a seating preference. Reservations can be booked through the restaurant or via Opentable.

Morimoto Maui

3550 Wailea Alanui Drive

Wailea, Hawaii 96753

808 573 1234


Lunch: 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM, daily

Dinner: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM


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The Nobu Atlantis The Palm Dubai Experience

The zen sophistication of a table in the Nobu Garden

While I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a fangirl of chef Nobu Matsuhisa, I do make it a point to dine at his restaurants during my travels. It’s always interesting to see what remains consistent on the menu and how the experience varies in the context of different locations and cultures.

When I learned there was a Nobu Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, I thought dinner at Nobu would be a great introduction to dining in the UAE on my first (and only) night in town. After several straight days of curries in Sri Lanka, I was jonesing badly for yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno.

Nobu Atlantis The Palm is located right near the The Lost Chambers aquarium, which made it geographically desirable considering I wanted to maximize my one night in Dubai.

The Nobu sake lounge is a glamorous space. A DJ spins here some nights.

Rough luxe touches add to Nobu’s accessible luxury. It’s not over-the-top, it’s sublime & sophisticated.

The Nobu Dubai space was beautiful and had the same open stylishness that the Rockwell Group designed team has ensured all Nobu restaurants have. The level of high end brand consistency is truly impressive.

My husband and I first sat down in Sake lounge and enjoyed a round of Lychee martinis (a blend of Absolut vodka and lychee juice) which went down so smoothly we ordered another round while nibbling on edamame (boiled soybeans sprinkled with sea salt).

The lychee martini might not be the prettiest drink, but it’s really tasty

By the time we were seated for dinner, the lychee martinis had kicked in and we were chatting up a storm with our Hawaiian-born waiter, Kris, who had been imported from Nobu’s Waikiki location and is spending two years working in  Dubai.

While the man-made island of The Palm Jumeirah in the middle of a desert is worlds away from the Aloha spirit of Kris’ native Oahu, he seemed to be handling the transition well. He admitted arriving in Dubai after 30 hours of travel late on a July night was daunting at first, he told us once you figure out how things work in Dubai and learn to respect the culture, they treat you with respect and it’s a fascinating place to be.

Thinly sliced and buttery in texture, Nobu’s signature yellowtail sashimi is always a winner

We first asked Kris to point out things that were special on the menu, and he said that the French-born Chef du cuisine, Herve Courtot, had added a hot dish of dover sole in truffle papillotte that was a huge crowd-pleaser. We decided to try it (it was the standout of the evening). Kris told us that culturally, the diners in the UAE weren’t as comfortable as Americans to eating raw sushi and sashimi, so there more cooked dishes present on the menu than at the some of the other Nobu outposts. He also told us that a few of the staff were alumni of other Nobu restaurants, which made the staff very international and a good fit for Dubai’s cosmopolitan and global scene.

Left: salmon tacos were one of the bite sized delights on the menu Right: A shrimp tempura cut roll

Chef Courtot’s dover sole in truffle papillotte was the standout discovery of the night

A few of the dishes were slightly different in presentation. The Wagyu beef tacos were truly bite-size in Dubai, unlike the same dish at Nobu locations in London and the US where they usually take 2 bites to get through. But the taste was spot on and delicious. The yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno– a Nobu signature that no other restaurant seems to be able to touch, was delicious and hit the spot.

Zen Rocks in the Nobu Garden

This being Dubai, there are also a couple really special features.  They aren’t the most over the top options, but they work for Nobu’s sophisticated clientele. The new Nobu Garden– al fresco dining with a stunning view of the Dubai skyline in a zen atmosphere– was an unexpected and magical discovery. It was quiet and beautiful outside on warm March night, it was absolutely enchanting. If you visit Dubai when the temperature is pleasant at night, I’d highly recommend requesting at table in the garden.

Nobu means seriously sophisticated sushi & sashimi but there are plenty of cooked options

Nobu Atlantis Dubai also occasionally features sushi masterclasses, where chef du cuisine Herve Courtot and his staff demonstrate the art of sushi making with a meal included. Check out the specials section on the website for upcoming dates. High Brunch is served on Fridays.

You can even book your dinner (or high brunch) at Nobu Atlantis The Palm directly from their website.

The Ladies Room Signage at Nobu Atlantis The Palm

The biggest difference I noticed at Nobu Atlantis The Palm was the modestly dressed iconography on the door of the ladies room. All the other elements of Nobu Dubai made it fit right in as great dining experience and a really fabulous place to try sushi and sashimi if you’re not familiar with it. But if raw isn’t your thing, there are plenty of cooked dishes and a really helpful staff on hand to make sure you have a great dining experience.

Editor’s Note: I had no idea when I was ordering dinner at Nobu that this post would be generously sponsored by Atlantis The Palm Dubai.

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