Review: Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs

Time to head to Disney Springs! We’ve enjoyed some quality meals in Walt Disney World recently. And tonight, we’re spending the evening at one of the resort’s more high profile spots — Morimoto Asia.

The Pan Asian restaurant numbered among the first new restaurants that opened as Downtown Disney became Disney Springs. We tried it on the very first day it opened and found some dishes that were truly noteworthy. But dining here is not for the budget seeker. It can get pricey, fast.

But it’s also worth noting that Morimoto Asia continues to surprise us with expanded and special offerings. Since it opened, they’ve introduced a Late Night Menu of special drinks and small plates. And the Dim Sum Brunch is one of Morimoto Asia’s greatest values, and something pretty unique in Walt Disney World.

Guests who aren’t looking for a sit-down dining experience can also indulge in some of the restaurant’s specialties at the counter service spot, Morimoto Asia Street Food. But if you are set on experiencing table service, keep in mind that MA is once again participating in Orlando Magical Dining Month, during which you can get three courses for $35! (See the full list of participating Disney Restaurants here.)

The restaurant’s alluring atmosphere and huge menu of tempting dishes was hard to resist for long. And since we believe in visiting a spot again and again to ensure we can still recommend it, I felt that it was time to take in another full-on Morimoto Asia meal. Join me to see how the restaurant is faring two years in.

Atmosphere

Morimoto is located in The Landing at Disney Springs. If you’re trying to get your bearings, head past Sprinkles from the Lime Garage and you’ll find it across from Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant.

Morimoto Asia

Entrance

Its signage as the former Disney Springs Bottling Company warehouse makes it easy to spot from a distance.

If you’re coming from West Side, you might ’round the bend and see this gorgeous mural as well.

Side View of Building and Mural

Side View of Building and Mural, with Rooftop Bar

Interesting, because there is actually a Forbidden Lounge with a separate entrance — but it’s clear on the other side of the building. Still. Pretty Cool Stuff. :-D

Forbidden Lounge special side entrance

Forbidden Lounge Special Side Entrance

Step into the restaurant, and some pretty spectacular design elements greet you, including these modern “waterfall” chandeliers.

Inside Morimoto Asia

Stunning Lights

This striking photo wall is equally beautiful.

Inside Morimoto Asia

Photo Wall

There are two levels to Morimoto; let’s have a look at the downstairs first. Directly behind the podium is the first floor bar and lounge. In addition to the bar, the area also includes couches and high top tables.

Downstairs Lounge

Downstairs Bar

An exhibition kitchen runs along the opposite wall, enabling guests to watch all of the action taking place behind the glassed-in area.

Open Kitchen

Open Kitchen

Looking to order one of the restaurant’s specialties, Peking Duck? No worries. There’s plenty at the ready!

Peking Ducks As Far As the Eye Can See

Peking Ducks As Far As the Eye Can See

Seating is available both on the lower and upper level. You can access the upper level via a stairway in the middle of the dining room, or by an elevator tucked into the back. (There’s also a stairwell behind that Forbidden Lounge Door we showed you earlier.)

Table setting

First Floor Seating

Views from the upper level to the floor below are worth climbing the stairs to see.

Dining Area as viewed from above

Dining Area as viewed from above

Upstairs, you’ll find another bar area.

Upstairs Lounge

Upstairs Bar

This is also where you find the Sushi Bar. The second floor also plays host to Morimoto’s special Late Night Dining Menu. You can read more about that here.

Upstairs Sushi Bar at Morimoto Asia

Upstairs Sushi Bar at Morimoto Asia

Because of the open floor plan, seating on the second level overlooks the first, and the windows onto the restaurant’s terrace allow in lots of light. This is a good thing, because the interior walls are black, and tend to suck up the light pretty quick (this is NOT an easy place to take pictures).

Morimoto Asia

Upstairs Seating

Some of the second floor seating is enclosed in a glassed-in area. The area can be used for private functions, but we’ve also been seated there during regular service. It’s cozy, and feels a bit hidden away because of the doors (even though you’re right out in plain sight).

Upstairs Seating

Upstairs Seating

I know the restaurant’s sign figures prominently into this pic, but I’m also sharing it to show you the outdoor terrace. It’s a wonderful space, especially during evenings or cooler months.

Morimoto Asia

Morimoto Asia

Now that I’ve given you the tour, let’s dig in!

Eats

Morimoto Asia offers a wide selection of beverages for just about every taste. There are Signature Cocktails, Seasonal Cocktails, Non-Alcoholic specialties, and a selection of Draft and Bottled Beer. You’ll also find Shochu, a distilled Japanese spirit.

Menu -- Specialty Drinks -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Specialty Drinks — Click to Enlarge

And that was just the front of the menu. On the back, you’ll find selections of Sake and Wine. Both are available by the bottle or glass, and you can also enjoy a Sake Flight if you’d like to learn a little more about it.

Menu -- Beverages -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Beverages — Click to Enlarge

We didn’t get it this time, but Morimoto offers a refreshing twist on Sangria with their Asian Sangria, a combination of light white wine, plum wine, sake, and asian pears, combined with apple, plum, and tangierine juices.

Sake Sangria

Sake Sangria

We tried the Sake service on a previous visit and enjoyed it as well.

Sake Service

Sake Service

We went with a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages this time out. My friend was looking for a little pick me up, and decided to try the creamy, sweet, Vietnamese Iced Coffee.

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese Coffee

Another friend thought the Lavender Coco Lemonade sounded good. We were all impressed with its fresh flavor, and the flower garnish was a lovely touch.

Lavender Coco Lemonade

Lavender Coco Lemonade

Another friend went for the Bourbon Green Tea, a mix of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Grand Marnier Peach and Raspberry, green and jasmine teas, and simple syrup. It was the best kind of iced tea, and perfectly refreshing on a hot Disney Day.

Bourbon Green Tea

Bourbon Green Tea

As we sipped our drinks, we continued to explore the vast menus, beginning with Sushi, Sashimi, Small Plates, and Dim Sum. You could easily make a meal from the selections here.

Menu -- Sushi, Small Plates, and Dim Sum -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Sushi, Small Plates, and Dim Sum — Click to Enlarge

The selections continued on the back, where we found familiar entrees and some more adventurous (and pricey) specialties.

Morimoto Asia Menu17_-004

Main Menu — Click to Enlarge

We opted to start with some small plates before moving onto entrees. We couldn’t resist the Morimoto Spare Ribs. Sweet, succulent, and tender, their fall-off-the-bone consistency and complex flavors of hoisin and sweet chili. These are a definite must have if you’re visiting Morimoto.

And keep in mind — they’re also available at Street Food if you prefer a counter service experience.

Spare Ribs

Spare Ribs

But we also had to share the Peking Duck. The dish is prepared traditionally, with a whole glazed duck sliced and presented. It’s served with apricot sweet chili sauce and hoisin miso, with steamed pancakes. The menu says that it serves two, but with a few sides or small plates, four or more guests could enjoy it easily.

And you should. Because it’s incredible. Again, we loved the depth of flavor here, and the meat was perfectly prepared with crispy tender skin — not the least bit dry or tough. Honestly, if you get nothing else here, get this.

Peking Duck

Peking Duck

Pancakes for Peking Duck

Pancakes for Peking Duck

But while that was a bit of a splurge, an even greater one was about to take place. Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, I was totally doing it. I was totally ordering the Japanese Wagyu Beef. See, my husband and I have a tradition of splurging on seriously good steak — reserve steak, authentic wagyu, and the like. So how could I not?

A little bit about how this works before I dive into the experience itself. The beef is priced per ounce — $23 during my visit — and there’s a minimum order of three ounces. You can get more, of course. You just can’t get less.

When you take the plunge, your server will bring you a laminated copy of the Certificate of Authenticity to show you that, yep — this is the real deal. None of that “it’s got the genes and we promise this American cow had Japanese grandparents” nonsense. This was born and bred in Japan.

Wagyu Certificate of Authenticity

Wagyu Certificate of Authenticity

Once you commit, there’s a bit of a show involved, as a chef brings the whole set up to sear the meat tableside.

Wagyu and Cooking Stone

Wagyu and Cooking Stone

The incredibly marbled beef is portioned in tiny squares, and there’s a little bit of extra beef fat on the platter to aid in the cooking process.

Raw Wagyu

Raw Wagyu

See that stone? It’s screaming hot. Don’t touch it. (Even if it’s only 18 inches or so away from your face.)

Cooking Stone. Seriously. Don't Touch This Thing.

Cooking Stone. Seriously. Don’t Touch This Thing.

Our chef proceeded to prepare the beef for us, ever so carefully searing it until it was just done on the outside.

Chef Preparing the Wagyu

Chef Preparing the Wagyu

Because he was awesome, he also added some of the extra fat back to the serving platter (don’t judge).

Seared Wagyu

Seared Wagyu

Yes, the bites are tiny. They are meant to be savored, and not consumed with wreckless abandon while talking about — well, anything. This is an experience, and worth enjoying at least once if you are a major meat lover.

Seared Wagyu

Seared Wagyu

Sigh. A moment. To remember. (And ponder the next time I’m getting it. Gotta check that bank account balance. And see if this is included on the dining plan. ;-D)

While I was left alone in bliss to savor my beef, one of my friends dug into her Orange Chicken. The tempura chicken is glazed in a light Florida orange sauce and is served with Chinese broccoli. We loved the fresh flavors and perfectly executed version of this classic dish.

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken

Another friend went for the Kung Pao Chicken, and enjoyed the spicy savory broth and crisp-tender veggies in this lighter-for-you entree.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken

We had a chance to sample the Branzino last year, and I have to tell you — if you love fish, don’t miss this! It’s incredible! (So says my friend anyway. I mean, it’s not my bag. But you do you. :-D )

Branzino

Branzino

For our final entree, my other friend opted for the Duck Ramen, with egg noodles, duck meat, and a soy-marinated egg. The broth had that wonderful umami thing happening, and she enjoyed the rich flavors in the somewhat lighter dish.

Duck Ramen

Duck Ramen

While we were more than satisfied with our meals, we decided to take a look at the dessert menu.

Menu -- Desserts and After Dinner Drinks -- Click to Enlarge

Menu — Desserts and After Dinner Drinks — Click to Enlarge

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone that dessert really isn’t this restaurant’s strength, since this type of dish doesn’t really figure prominently into traditional Japanese cooking. Still, we’ll share what we found.

If you must have dessert at Morimoto, the Churros are a solid choice. Fresh with that crispy outside and tender inside combo, these are as delicious as any churro you’ll experience. And as an added bonus, they come with two dipping sauces — one in a little bowl (vanilla cream) and Nutella in a tube. (The smiley face was our idea.)

Churros

Churros

But here’s where we’ve gotta show Morimoto Asia a little tough love. Behold the resident spectacle dessert: the MM Parfait.

This…creation…includes chocolate cream puffs, vanilla gelato, hazelnut “crunchies”, and sesame mochi. There was also about a can of Cool Whip, various sauces, fruit, and flowers. Because…why?

So, spoiler alert. We love you Morimoto Asia. So please. Stop trying so hard with this…whatever it is. Because. NO. It doesn’t taste good. And it’s weird.

Mm Parfait

MM Parfait

Cede the dessert title to nearby Sprinkles, Amorette’s, or even Vivoli Gelateria. And you just keep doing that Peking Duck and that Wagyu voodoo you do so well.

Nosh or Not?

You’ll love Morimoto Asia if:

  • You’re an asian food fan. They do all kinds, and they do it all well.
  • You’re looking for a great date night, or looking to impress someone with dinner.
  • You’d like something a little higher end, and a little less “Disney.”

You might want to skip Morimoto Asia if:

  • You’re on a budget.
  • You’ve got super picky eaters who have never tried Asian food before…and maybe skipped their nap that day.
  • You’re not an Asian food fan.

Overall

I kinda just gave it away, didn’t I? Morimoto Asia is a winner in terms of the dishes they offer. There’s huge variety, and as far as we can see, they do it all very well.

It’s also just a stunning restaurant. There’s so much to see at every turn, especially from the second floor. Go up to check that area out, even if you aren’t seated there.

But it is extremely pricey (although you can choose from dishes, like the Ramen, that don’t break the bank). If you’re dining here with the Disney Dining Plan, it will cost you two table service credits.

Still, if you’re looking for something kind of special, and kind of sophisticated, I’d urge you to give it a try. And if you’re a beef lover like me, save those pennies and get the Wagyu because it’s So. Worth. It.

So let me hear from all of you now — will you be heading to Morimoto Asia for an indulgent meal on your next Disney trip? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Comments

  1. Mark says

    I enjoyed the place, but like you say, “extremely pricey”. Thank you for the review.

  2. jennifer says

    AJ, do you have the menu for the Forbidden Lounge? We want to try this restaurant , but looking to not spend a fortune so we figured the lounge the way to go.

  3. says

    Great review, thanks, we are trying Marimoto on our next trip. We’ve booked for a late lunch, 3pm, on the dining plan which is only 1 credit not 2. Really looking forward to it after your great review.

  4. Janet says

    Ribs, oh my…..! It’s been nearly a year, and we still talk about them.

    Can Disney please open a Morimoto Asia here in Downtown Disney? We can usually get to Disneyland in 30 minutes or less. We’d eat at Morimoto Asia for all our special occasions & some “Just Because” days. The food was wonderful, but Florida’s so inconvenient for dinner. :)

  5. Erin says

    Great review!! Drooling over the duck. The parfait is actually a huge thing in Japan and believe it or not that is how they make them. It almost reminds me of how we’ve gotten onto the crazy milkshake trend where a variety of things go in it. If you google image Japan parfaits you can see how creative they can be!

  6. Dave says

    Went there in April of ’16 and ordered a steak. Nothing was mentioned on the menu how it was going to be cooked and I forgot to ask. It came out on a cast iron dish, uncovered and sizzling and popping so much that I had to hold a napkin up to keep the juices from staining my shirt, which it had already done when the server placed it in front of me and it was burning my arms. Manager came over and asked how everything was and I told him how I was getting burned from the sizzling, my shirt getting stained, so what does he do ? LAUGHS and walks away. Tried to keep my temper in check because I really wanted to punch him. Would be hard pressed to try this place again !!

  7. Barry says

    I tried Morimoto Asia shortly after it opened. My buddy and I mostly sampled the dim sum selection since we are huge dim sum fans. However, while the dim sum was good, it wasn’t amazing. I was really expecting something a little more up scale with a little more “wow” considering the price, even including the “Disney surcharge”. Now if you don’t have good dim sum where you live, you may be more impressed, but living just outside Vancouver, BC, we may be a bit spoiled for really good dim sum. We may get around to trying Morimoto again–the duck and the Wagyu beef look interesting as well as the ribs.

  8. Chris says

    How many ounces of the wagyu did you order. Just trying to get an idea based on the picture of what the ounces relates to.

  9. Mike says

    Wow…$14 for 3 ribs or the equally ridiculous 3 fake ‘krab’ Rangoon for $10. That is certainly pricy! The Waygu beef actually is reasonable by comparison for the best steak you can get. The room is certainly inviting too, so maybe we’ll stop in for a drink in November to see in person. Thanks for another great review!

  10. Jor says

    Seems like they’re trying to go for a riff on one of those shaved ice sundaes with all the crazy toppings for the MM parfait. But yuck. Too much! I think a simple sorbet in a really interesting asian fruit flavor like yuzu perhaps even with the option to have it in a glass of champagne would be more appropriate.

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