Dish 71: Giant Oyster with Sea Urchin and Black Bean Sauce at Morimoto, 7th and Chestnut, http://www.morimotorestaurant.com/
The Giant Oyster Backstory: The giant oyster with sea urchin and black bean sauce is cited in The List as one of Marc Vetri’s favorite dishes; he notes that it does not appear on the menu but that they make it whenever he asks. However, for reasons unknown, Mr. Jeffers and I do not carry the same weight as Mr. Vetri, and when we asked for the dish on our last visit, the manager said that we could schedule a return visit, but that the restaurant does not stock giant oysters on a nightly basis.
Introducing, my carefully selected crack team, with over a combined century’s experience of eating food: Mike, the computer engineer and cameraman; Bruce, the DJ; Jeffers, the dapper accountant; Caitlin, the sassy civil engineer; and Gustav, originator of obscure references and fabulous headpieces. As per usual, I forgot to choose people who were acquainted, thankfully everyone skipped the awkward bit and just went straight to being agreeable.
We were seated on the left side of the dining room underneath a light that wavered from dim to fluorescent on a five-minute interval, which is only unnerving for the rare individuals who attempt to film their meals, not that we do that. And we would never ask our waiter to repeat that he believes Marc Vetri is a lunatic with a bad memory because Mike wasn’t rolling the first time; or request that our busboys deliver our meals twice because the angle was weird. And we would absolutely never frolick up to the sushi bar with elevated hopes of filming ourselves popping up from behind the shaved ice with the scallops. Because we are dignified individuals who know how to behave in a classy joint.
Gustav and I began planning our sham marriage but became embroiled in a violent debate over teal vs. lavender for the wedding, which Caitlin smoothed down by passing over the rock shrimp tempura; the group turned to Jeffers and Bruce, who were planning details of Mr. Jeffers’s upcoming garden party—I want to spoil the theme, but I will tell you that George Clooney has never hosted a party like this. Then we were back to business, figuring out what entrees to choose after our giant oysters.
As previously denied, the giant oysters made their dramatic entrance twice, at which point we were all bewildered as how to eat such a large mollusk. I went for it all at once, and the oyster was unexpectedly tender, salty, mild, creamy, with a light bite from the greens atop it.
Caitlin bravely Irish-stepped outside oh her comfort zone to try the yaki bop, the yellowfin tuna cooked tableside in a 400 degree stone bowl. (It’s fun, dramatic, and has a deliciously clear sesame flavor.) The duck duck duck was tender, with a sweet, Christmasy spice and refreshing bits of mango.
We skipped out on dessert to hit Naked Chocolate, and as Mike, Caitlin and I walked back to the Demon Bunny, we saw a familiar looking face. And what do you know, for the last time that evening, he let me do a second take.
Video footage will be up soon.