Disney Springs is very much still under construction, but Morimoto Asia is getting ready for its September 30th opening. The restaurant is a collaboration between celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group.
Click the image above to see a video of the new restaurant.
The restaurant is huge — more than 23,000 square feet — with a vast, two-story-high ceiling in the main dining room. Hanging light sculptures feature depictions of lobster traps.
Part of the requisite theming that every Disney restaurant must have by law is that Morimoto Asia took over a former bottling plant, so you’ll see that theme over the upstairs bar. For the record, there never was a bottling plant there, just as there never was a fireworks factory at the old Pleasure Island. You’ll also notice the white top of the bar flows into a sort of ribbon that rises and runs throughout the restaurant.
A sushi bar on the second level overlooks the dining room below. And across the way is an outdoor balcony that will have a great view of the springs of Disney Springs — once it’s finished.
Some of the kitchen is in full view of the dining room through a glass wall and guests can watch the action. You’ll also see Peking ducks hanging in a display case.
What they won’t see are the other large kitchen and food prep areas, including where those roasted ducks are finished in a deep fryer. (Click the video to see some of the backstage kitchen.)
There’s a steamer, a ramen and noodle station, and even a rice polisher — Morimoto has his own rice farm and processes the grains onsite.
I got an advance tour of the restaurant and a preview of some of the dishes that will be served there. Morimoto’s corporate chef, Takao Iinuma, served me sticky ribs, which are different than something that sticks to your ribs, although these probably would.
I also got to try some of that Peking duck, which is served in one course instead of the traditional three-stage presentation. The duck meat was wonderfully fatty, as it was supposed to be.
I also sampled the Angry Lobster, which seems to be an upgrade from the Angry Chicken that is a specialty in the various Morimoto Not Asia restaurants. Apparently the protein is angry because of the hot spices. You won’t be angry if you order it — the chow fun noodles alone would make a great meal.
The restaurant has a staff of about 200 people and seating for 474.
Reservations are currently being taken at OpenTable.com and will be available through the Disney reservation system on Nov. 1. Or, beginning Sept. 30, you can call the restaurant at 407-939-6686. I’ll have more details about the restaurant opening soon.