Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Star(Chef)-Studded Iron Chef Dinner at Sashi

This past summer, Chef Makoto Okuwa of Sashi in Manhattan Beach challenged Chef Michael Symon on Food Network's show Iron Chef. This wasn't the first time Chef Okuwa is on the Iron Chef show, as he was actually Iron Chef Morimoto's sous chef before opening Sashi, but this was the first time he's there on his own.

To celebrate his appearance, Sashi set up a special dinner filled with superstar chefs including Iron Chef Morimoto himself, Top Chef Master Michael Voltaggio (who lives nearby and is a big fan of Sashi), Noriyuki Sugie (Ironnori/Breadbar), chef Sonny Sweetman (Exec chef of Wolfgang Puck), and chef Waylynn Lucas (Exec pastry chef of Patina).

Iron Chef Morimoto

Although they each had prepared one dish, they all worked together the whole night. Everything was also plated outside the kitchen, so the attendees can admire the famous chefs at work.

They had actually prepared hors d'oeuvres too that were served along with beer and other drinks, but since I came with my friend and her whole family we were running way late and got there barely on time for dinner service. If you want to read about the appetizers, see Epicuryan's post.

The first dinner course was a deconstructed "Bagel and Cream Cheese"
Makoto Okuwa, Sashi
Deconstructed bagel and lox
As you can perhaps tell by the color, this was a copper river salmon. I tend to have fun with deconstructed dishes, though the olive oil addition was superfluous and perhaps even detracted from the natural oils of the copper river salmon. You really do not need to, and probably shouldn't, add too much to such a quality fish.

Caesar Salad Soup with Bacon Foam
Noriyuki Sugie, Ironnori
All I could really taste was the bacon foam - not necessarily a bad thing but this did not stand out to me.

Chilled Lobster Salad - with Tiny Greens, Summer Vegetable and Yuzu Dressing
Sonny Sweetman, Wolfgang Puck
Chunks of fresh lobster and yuzu? No complaints here.

Steamed Kinmedai Snapper - with XO Jan and Fish Sauce
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto
Steamed Kindai by Iron Chef Morimoto

Morimoto's dish ended up being my favorite of the night. The snapper had such a tender texture and being Chinese I love the XO broth. Still, I wasn't sure if this was representative of Morimoto's food and I expected more of a Japanese influence.

Naturally, lots of photo-snapping in between courses by everyone in attendance.
Michael Voltaggio
Top Chef Michael Voltaggio
Wagyu Beef - "Thai Flavor"
Top Chef Michael Voltaggio
Wagyu Beef Cheek by Michael Voltaggio
This was a wagyu beef cheek, slightly gelatinous yet tender, and of course, everyone likes sriracha.

Dark Chocolate Ganache - Eucalyptus Ice Cream and Peppermint Meringue
Waylynn Lucas, Patina
I really enjoyed the smooth and dense ganache. The cooling peppermint cuts the richness nicely.


The team, posing for photos

Morimoto KaraokeingAt the end of the night, Chef Okuwa asked each chef to say a few words, but Morimoto decided to amuse us with some enka instead!

While it was a long night, watching the chefs prepare individual dishes kept us entertained, along with the wine and sake pairings, which were included in the $120 price tag. Although the dishes didn't blow me away, it was certainly a fun night and a rare event to attend.


Christine Wu

You're so lucky! That's all I can say :)


You know, I went to Morimoto in Napa, and I too found the lack of Japanese influence, but I enjyoed every dish. Kudos to him for branching out and succeeding

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