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Pauli Moto's Asian Bistro, Masaharu Morimoto Continues to Hawk his Name at Tysons Corner - Sayonara, Morimoto.


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Morimoto's opening a restaurant in Tysons?  When?

It is supposed to be later this year in the huge new addition where JC Penney used to be at Tyson's Corner Center (because I guess Tyson's I isn't big enough already). It isn't going to be a Morimoto like in Philadelphia - in fact this article makes it sound like he won't be too involved and might be a bit of a mess.

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It is supposed to be later this year in the huge new addition where JC Penney used to be at Tyson's Corner Center (because I guess Tyson's I isn't big enough already).  It isn't going to be a Morimoto like in Philadelphia - in fact this article makes it sound like he won't be too involved and might be a bit of a mess.

 
I sense that this has disaster written all over it

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I'm not quite sure how long it's been open, but Amelie and I decided to check it out this past Friday. The decor is reminiscent of Morimoto's in Philadelphia insofar as the wave theme has carried over into Paulimoto's. We were expecting a bit more, I suppose, because the Morimoto's in Philly is really something else in terms of appointment and furnishings. Paulimoto's is more spartan and industrial- open ducts, naked woods and solid brown bakelite-like tables.

Paulimoto's advertises that it serves Chinese and Japanese food. The menu reads a lot like PF Chang's except the Japanese (Morimoto-inspired supposedly) dishes are a bit more fusion-ey. We decided to skip the Chinese and go for the Japanese and that was a wise decision. We looked around at the other tables' orders and the Chinese looked less-than-exciting.

We started with an agedashi tofu which was very good, and we also decided to order lettuce wraps (just like PF Chang's), because we just can't get enough of them. The lettuce wraps are identical to the ones at the other Asian bistro to include the "special sauce" that they put together for you.

We ordered three robatayaki just to see how they were here and they weren't very good. I should say the Kobe beef one we got was very good, the asparagus was ok, and the scallops were down right awful. I honestly thought they served us dried scallops on sticks.

For the main course, I got the miso black cod and Amelie got the tempura halibut with spicy miso. Luckily, both the entrees were well above the quality of appetizers. The miso cod had enough miso to flavor the entire cod steaks and the halibut was lightly fried in cubes and served with a spicy miso sauce on the plate. Both were served (as are all entrees) with brown rice (you can get white rice if you want). We did also order a side of wasabi mashed potatoes because Amelie had never had them before, but neither of us liked it so we didn't eat it. Too buttery, and for my palette, butter plus wasabi equals not good.

So all in all, the Japanese entrees were very good, particularly considering they were about $16 and you're in a shopping mall. The appetizers, ehh... not so good. The Kobe beef robatayaki was good though. The Chinese choices were nothing extraordinary from what I could tell and I wouldn't go there to eat Chinese anyway. If you've been to the Morimoto's in Philly, you'll recognize the inspiration of a couple of the entrees, but aside from that and the Morimoto sake, there is no clear influence of the Iron Chef here. Total bill for two appetizers, three robatayaki, two entrees, one side dish, and three Pellegrinos was $80. Not too shabby.

Definitely make a reservation if you want to go, otherwise you will wait a long time for a table. Also, as of the time of this writing, they didn't have their liquor license yet so we couldn't have any Morimoto sake.

Edited by mxyzptlk
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It has to be said: mxyzptlk's definition screams "chain". Morimoto's name seems like it is window dressing. The M'Moto in Philly is great... this sounds like the TGIFridays version of such.

(BTW, this is not based just on Mxyzplk's review)

Based on my experience, I would have to agree with you on all accounts.

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"Pauli Moto's (which was NOT open and looks disappointingly like a variation of P. F. Chang's with a Japanese bent-yes, you will still have to drive to Philadelphia to experience Morimoto-we did NOT get what some of us thought Washington was worthy of."

Sad, but a confirmation of my post from September 30th. We ARE worthy of the Philly original, not a vanilla shopping mall competitor to P. F. Chang's regardless of whose name is on the marquee. There will be long lines of the curious for the first few months; let's see if they are still there next Spring.

Coastal Flats, a locally owned "original" if you will, ultimately will be the pre-eminent Tysons Corner I dining destination.

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"Pauli Moto's (which was NOT open and looks disappointingly like a variation of P. F. Chang's with a Japanese bent-yes, you will still have to drive to Philadelphia to experience Morimoto-we did NOT get what some of us thought Washington was worthy of."

Sad, but a confirmation of my post from September 30th.  We ARE worthy of the Philly original, not a vanilla shopping mall competitor to P. F. Chang's regardless of whose name is on the marquee.  There will be long lines of the curious for the first few months; let's see if they are still there next Spring. 

 
There are still lines at P.F. Chang's to this day so I am sure that Pauli Moto's will not suffer, provided they are competitive on price. Sadly, the quality of the food does not matter much for the general public.

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There are still lines at P.F. Chang's to this day so I am sure that Pauli Moto's will not suffer, provided they are competitive on price. Sadly, the quality of the food does not matter much for the general public.

Worse yet, the general public has already begun dragging the place down. The Salmon Steamed in Garlic that I had last week had a nice flavor, but really would have been better fairly rare instead of well-done as presented. When asked, the server indicated that the chefs had originally been instructed to prepare the fish quite rare, but enough diners had complained(!) the first week about its rareness that the kitchen was running somewhat scared.

In Paul "Pauli" Ardaji's interview with the Tampa Bay Times last month, he says "If I were to draw a point of reference, Paul Lee's would be Ruby Tuesday's, P.F. Chang's would be (TGI) Fridays and Pauli Moto's would be comparable to a Houston's."

Hmmm. I went Thursday with two siblings, with intentions of sampling a few more dishes than normal, mostly of the "Morimoto specialties" section of the menu.

The Agedashi Tofu was surprisingly good, really. Also a hit were the Wasabi Mashed Potatoes.

Robotayaki were so-so. Personally I found the Kobe Beef disappointing, cooked to the point of losing its fine texture. The Beef Tenderloin were more satisfying, if merely serviceable. Tomato with Bacon were pretty generic...nothing special going on there.

Spicy Rock Shrimp Tempura were basically tempura shrimp poppers. They might as well have used generic shrimp; tempura frying emphasizes the batter while obliterating the lobstery quality of good rock shrimp. If you've ever chowed down on rock shrimp at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville FL, you'll be disappointed here.

Crab and Cream Cheese Roll are simply "crab rangoon" prepared in spring roll wrappers instead of fried wontons.

The halibut and cod (both prepared in light miso crusts, a bit of spicyness to the halibut) were tasty enough, but again would have been better somewhat less cooked, and the portions were quite small for $18.

_Pauli-Moto_ did not yet have a liquor license as of last week, so booze went unsampled. The list includes Morimoto's own brands of lager (brewed by Rogue) and sake (producer unknown). Also not yet available is Morimoto's steak Bi-Bim-Bap, although I'm told the description varies from the one served at _Morimoto_ in Philly.

The concept is dip/sauce-centric, with small dipping bowls of various things arriving with practically each dish.

The space is pleasantly modern for a mall-eatery, with the kitchen view only partially obscured by dividers. The robotayaki station stands apart to the left, ringed with bar-style seating.

Finally, along the back wall, almost curiously hidden, is a very large and expensive plasma display oriented portrait-format that continuously plays a screen-saver theme of wispy backgrounds elements while pithy phrases float across them. While I was waiting for the check to arrive, it displayed this enigmatic poem:

I'm sure

the food

you thought

was delicious

will not

taste the same

Dave

p.s. Hi donrockwell people! Not-so-long-time lurker, new member, first post. Please be gentle.

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I've been to Pauli Moto's twice now: once with my +1 on their opening night, and once this past Saturday with my best friend.

First visit:

The +1 and I strolled in at about 7.00 pm, and were seated immediately, at the robatayaki bar. The atmosphere is minimalist, though not austere.

We started with the Shanghai Vegetable Spring Rolls. They are, as one might guess from the name, a standard egg roll filling inside a spring roll wrapper. They were actually a bit too big for the supporting structure, which meant that cutting them was difficult - and that the contents readily oozed out when doing so.

The +1 ordered the Kobe Beef, Shrimp, and Meatball robatayaki. The Kobe Beef was the most interesting of the three, although it could've been flank steak from what flavor was discernable under the marinade. The shrimp was overcooked, and the meatball was described as tasting like a swedish meatball without the sauce. He also ordered the salmon roll sushi, which was a real disappointment - the rice was dry and bland!

I had the Salmon Steamed in Garlic, since all of the vegetarian items I was interested in ordering they were either out of or didn't have yet. This turned out to be a fortuitous move, because the salmon was delicious. It captured the essence of umame perfectly.

I love hot banana dishes, so we had the Banana Spring Rolls for dessert. The red bean paste lent a depth of flavor to the rolls that we both really appreciated.

Our server was personable, if not thoroughly knowledgeable about all of the dishes. For some reason the folks sitting directly next to us had a different server, who seemed a bit of a space case...

Second visit:

My best friend and I were finishing up some shopping at Tysons (well, more her shopping and me helping her with it), and stopped by to put our names in at about 6.45. The host told us to stop back by in 45 minutes or so for an "updated time", which I would guess means the restaurants downstairs are already running into the problem of list-bombers not showing back up for their tables.

To make a long story short, we ended up waiting more like 1 3/4 hours, the last chunk of which was spent hovering near the entrance as we were told that we'd be seated "at any minute". Remember the service industry mantra, guys: Underpromise and overdeliver!

At any rate, we eventually got seated in the "outside" portion of the restaurant. Our server, of course, turned out to be the space case the +1 and I had been happy not to have on opening night. Suffice it to say that service doesn't seem to be the strong suit at Pauli Moto's thus far.

We started with the Shanghai Spring Rolls and Snow Pea Leaves in Garlic. The kitchen has apparently taken the constructive criticism to heart and started making the spring rolls a bit smaller, so they are now hot all the way through and not gooshy. The Snow Pea Leaves in Garlic were interesting in more than one way: since when does something ordered as a vegetable side dish get brought out as an appetizer? I would expect to be brought items in random order at a tapas restaurant, but this ain't Jaleo. The leaves themselves were a first for either of us. They had a texture closer to spinach, with a taste closer to kale. I enjoyed them more than my friend did, so I ended up taking the leftovers home with me.

At this point they were out of the Wasabi Mashed Potatoes (again), so I settled on a couple of the vegetable robatayaki and the vegetable fried rice. The japanese pepper robatayaki had a nice, crisp texture, and wasn't overdressed - which I'd been worried about after the +1's experience with the Kobe beef. The japanese beet/gourd was just weird... I don't know what they did to it, but it came out like a cross between a water chestnut and okra. bleah The vegetable fried rice was fresh, sufficiently moist, and featured little crispy slivers of asparagus.

As for my friend's entree, I'm afraid she didn't really comment on it although she a) didn't complain about it (as she is rather wont to do) and :lol: finished it, so that's the whole ringing endorsement, FWIW. :P

Dessert was again the Banana Spring Rolls, which were even better than the first time.

Overall impressions:

The service needs work, they should make sure to have enough of their most popular items to carry them through the dinner rush, and they need to get a better sense of how long their tables will take them. If they're getting swamped now with tables that linger far longer than they expect, imagine how insane they'll be driven once the liquor license rolls in.

All things considered, thus far I'd have to say I'd rather hit the P.F. Chang's at Fairfax Corner.

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We tried Paulimoto's tonight - overall, I'd say it needs some work but has got potential. It's way better than PF Chang's, anyway.

First impressions: it was COLD in there. As in, the hostess is wearing a parka cold. As in, the spouse, who goes out to get the mail in bare feet in the snow, thinks it's chilly. If a polar bear happened to wander in off the street, he'd be asking for hot tea. Either they weren't expecting it to get cold today and still had the air conditioning on, they expected there to be way more people warming the place up, or they thought the robatayaki grill would throw off more heat than it did. It did warm up a little over the course of the meal; whether that was because more people came in or because they turned on the heat I don't know. The restaurant was still only about half full when we left (around 8pm).

We ordered a couple of the robatayaki skewers, an eel and avocado roll, and the tofu miso soup to start. I think they've gotten over their early tendency to overcook the Kobe, because what we had was nicely medium rare and tender. The shrimp were reasonably good as well. The eel and avocado roll was okay - I'm not a huge fan of avocado, and we both thought it overpowered the unagi.

For entrees, we got the miso black cod and the beef short ribs Bourguignon style off the "Morimoto specialties" section, along with a side of the snow pea greens. The miso black cod is good, and I'd get it again. It's not as similar to the Nobu black cod as I'd thought it would be, but it's still worth ordering. This version is a little crispier and more lacquered, with a mustard-miso sauce on the side, as opposed to Nobu's, which is served swimming in a soy and miso sauce. The short ribs were nicely savory and cooked to the appropriate degree of falling apart. The snow pea greens reminded us both of an oshitashi (normally steamed spinach with ponzu and bonito flakes), except with garlic. And whoever's cooking the rice got it just right - done, but still sticky enough to eat with chopsticks.

As far as dessert went, the banana spring rolls are pretty good, once you get used to the texture, which is a little odd because of the red beans. They also had green tea ice cream and mango sorbet.

Still no liquor license - our waiter said that last he'd heard it should come through for this weekend. Wegman's carries some of the Morimoto beers, though, and the soba ale's quite good.

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We tried Paulimoto's tonight - overall, I'd say it needs some work but has got potential.  It's way better than PF Chang's, anyway.

To be fair, the PF Chang's at Fairfax Corner seems to have their act much more together than its sibling at Tysons Galleria. My first visit to a Chang's was the one at Tysons II, and that was enough to keep me away from PFC for years.

I agree that once Pauli Moto's is at the top of its game, it will outshine PFC by far.

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I went to Paulimoto's with my kids for lunch today. We all ordered the tofu miso soup, which was served lukewarm. The kids all ordered standard Chinese stuff, Lo Mein and rice! How hard can it be to screw that up? Well I tasted their food and while it was good, it must of had a ton of MSG in it because I instantly got a head rush and a headache. I had the Ceviche small plate, which was indeed small, but I wasn't hungry, and actually it was very good. I think it was slices of tuna, yellowtail, and the third fish escapes me, marinated ceviche style served in a wine glass.

They still need to work on the servers skills though. One server could not serve the soups, so I took them from him and served the table. He had sloshed the soup all over the liner plates and was unsure of holding the tray and serving. The other poor server placed her tray on a stand and served from there, but as she took the plates off, she did it from the inside out, and the tray started falling. I caught it. I take this in stride as I remember doing the exact same things the first hew weeks I waitressed years ago.

Would I go back? No, but only because of the MSG.

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My wife and I had dinner there tonight, our first experience with the restaurant being open.

Our experience was brief and disappointing, highlighted when we left by 8 to 10 empty tables on a night when every other restaurant in Tyson's expansion had a lengthy wait.

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Had dinner here with a few friends last Wednesday. I think Morimoto should be ashamed to have his name associated with this place. Miso Black Cod was so overcooked! A fish that should be meltingly tender practically needed a steak knife. The marinade was also cloyingly sweet. A friend who should know better, ordered bibimbap- did not come close to even the most middling versions available anywhere along Little River Turnpike. Zero flavor!

Only mild highlight of the meal was the mushroom robatayaki. Big meaty flavorful grilled japanese mushroom on a skewer- simple but tasty.

And they still didn't have their liquor license.

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It has to be said: mxyzptlk's definition screams "chain". Morimoto's name seems like it is window dressing. The M'Moto in Philly is great... this sounds like the TGIFridays version of such.

(BTW, this is not based just on Mxyzplk's review)

K

 
if you read any of the post and read some of the articles in epi and food and wine, you'll see that its not related to mori's in philly... get your facts straight...

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Had dinner here with a few friends last Wednesday.  I think Morimoto should be ashamed to have his name associated with this place.  Miso Black Cod was so overcooked!  A fish that should be meltingly tender practically needed a steak knife.  The marinade was also cloyingly sweet.  A friend who should know better, ordered bibimbap- did not come close to even the most middling versions available anywhere along Little River Turnpike.  Zero flavor! 

Only mild highlight of the meal was the mushroom robatayaki.  Big meaty flavorful grilled japanese mushroom on a skewer- simple but tasty.

And they still didn't have their liquor license.

 
again, get your facts straight... black cod is not a tender fish and is to be cooked close to well if you don't know... thats right, you don't... if you like ill mee and hee bien, then go back, no one forced you...

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again, get your facts straight... black cod is not a tender fish and is to be cooked close to well if you don't know... thats right, you don't... if you like ill mee and hee bien, then go back, no one forced you...

 
Get your spelling right if you're going to come in here and question gnatharobed. It's "Il Mee" and "Hee Been." You're welcome to come in and speak your mind, but if you don't do it with intelligence, you'll be taken down in about two seconds.

And as a general reminder to restaurant professionals here: it's always a good idea to disclose any professional affiliations in your signature file.

Cheers,
Rocks

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again, get your facts straight... black cod is not a tender fish and is to be cooked close to well if you don't know... thats right, you don't... if you like ill mee and hee bien, then go back, no one forced you...

 
I thought black cod was another name for sablefish. Where is our fish expert? If so it is known for its velvety, rich flavor, and delicate texture.

We had this at a dinner at 2941 and it practically melted in out mouths. If I am wrong please let me know. If not, get your facts straight.

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I thought black cod was another name for sablefish.  Where is our fish expert?  If so it is known for its velvety, rich flavor, and delicate texture.

We had this at a dinner at 2941 and it practically melted in out mouths.  If I am wrong please let me know.  If not, get your facts straight.

 
You aren't wrong.

Black Cod

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I thought black cod was another name for sablefish.  Where is our fish expert?  If so it is known for its velvety, rich flavor, and delicate texture.

We had this at a dinner at 2941 and it practically melted in out mouths.  If I am wrong please let me know.  If not, get your facts straight.

 
I only went through about 30 of the 130000 hits Google provided for "black cod" and Google agrees with mdt.

Let's see -- Morimoto runs "Morimoto's".

 

As culinary director but not on-site chef Morimoto

 
Full article
Connected enough to me.
If that's not enough for you, Kanishka never claimed they were directly related.

 

Morimoto's name seems like it is window dressing. The M'Moto in Philly is great... this sounds like the TGIFridays version of such.

 
I'm sorry your restaurant has been taking a beating, but maybe you ought to use the opportunity to gain from the feedback of some well educated and experienced eaters instead of ignorantly lashing out.

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Black Cod is the name for several different types of fish (none of which are actually cod). Sablefish is known as Black Cod and it is very rich and delicate (why it is also known as Butterfish). However, the Black Cod from the waters south of New Zealand is not so delicate, or rich. This fish (which is always known as a Black Cod) has a meatier flavor.

Because of the cooking method employed, I am assuming that this restaurant is using Black Cod and not Sablefish.

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You aren't wrong.

Black Cod

 
In some places in New England black hake is also referred to as black cod. This is not the case in the vast majority of the US market and, technically, only sablefish = butterfish = black cod = Anaplopoma fimbria in the eyes of the official labelling standards of the U.S.

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In some places in New England black hake is also referred to as black cod.  This is not the case in the vast majority of the US market and, technically, only sablefish = butterfish = black cod = Anaplopoma fimbria in the eyes of the official labelling standards of the U.S.

The Vernacular name for Notothenia moariensis (commonly known as Ice Fish) is black cod, and can be labeled as such. However, the FDA does discourage, but does not prohibit, the use of vernacular names.

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The Vernacular name for Notothenia moariensis (commonly known as Ice Fish) is black cod, and can be labeled as such.  However, the FDA does discourage, but does not prohibit, the use of vernacular names.

 
We're both right because we're both oversimplifying things. Vernacular names are discouraged but scientific or common names are encouraged. What's the difference between a common name and a vernacular name? How often it is used? How widely people outside the home area know the name? The only way to ensure that you are using an appropriate label when it comes to point of sale of non-prepared food (so it doesn't apply to prepped food at the grocery or to restaurants) is to use the scientific name or approved common name on the FDA list. The FDA only lists black cod = sablefish = Anaplopoma fimbria . This is due to the prevalence of usage of this name for this fish despite the official fisheries management plan for the U.S. calling it sablefish. There are a variety of enforcement actions that can be taken but the reality is that the FDA is woefully understaffed for enforcement and this type of "fraudalent" activity is pretty low priority. Where you are likely to run into a problem is if you were to try and import a mislabelled fish. Just ask the Vietnamese catfish farmer.

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The FDA only lists black cod = sablefish = Anaplopoma fimbria .  This is due to the prevalence of usage of this name for this fish despite the official fisheries management plan for the U.S. calling it sablefish. 

The FDA lists both fish as being called Black Cod. You can find the names here.

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The FDA lists both fish as being called Black Cod.  You can find the names here.

 
I believe that is an old list and not the current one which doesn't seem to be online. If I'm remembering correctly, this was one of the changes due to a big push by the NW fishery folks. Or maybe not.

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Le "bleh." When we vistited, we largely ordered the most pedestrian dishes imaginable. You know, the ones that you'd assume that any Asian restaurant should knock out of the park? Are they using pasta dough for the steamed pork dumplings? Does anyone else think that these things are pierogi in disguise? The crab in the cream cheese and crab spring rolls was largely undetectable.

Tarting it Up: The Pauli Moto Experience

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Husband and I went a month ago and were throughly unimpressed. The food was boring and forgettable. I didn't go in expecting Iron Chef quality (it was the MALL), but I did expect something that would make me go "yum". The service was SO slow, the manager had to apologize to nearly every table in the restaurant. And it wasn't particularly crowded that evening.

If you are in the area, drive a mile or two down Chainbridge to Sweet Ginger-- the food is much better- a good mix of variety of Asian foods and excellent service.

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I went to Pauli Moto for lunch today. I had the mushroom, asparagus, and beef tenderloin robatayaki. They were all cooked very well with a subtle soy/teriyaki flavored sauce. It came with 3 small sauce dishes of ginger sesame oil sauce, a light soy sauce that had the flavoring of bonito, and a spicy mayo sauce. I also had the tempura sushi which I thought was very plain because it only had tempura shrimp and asparagus with no sauce. The tempura was very oily. My coworker had the new style sashimi which was salmon and white fish. THe sauce was very oily and the sashimi was slightly cooked as if it was nuked in a microwave. I love seared tuna, but the texture of this nuked sashimi was definitely not going for me. The pluses were attentive service and I liked the decor of the place. Not sure if I want to go back to the place to try out the main entrees...

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While at the mall on Friday, my friend and I decided we were starving but did not want to leave yet, so we opted to eat there. As JoeH predicted,

There will be long lines of the curious for the first few months; let's see if they are still there next Spring. 

there was no wait at Pauli Moto's (or Gordon Biersch, but going there once was plenty for me). We decided to try Pauli Moto's since my shopping companion prefers Asian food over anything else and he didn't want to wait for a table. Well, I should have found the time to re-read this thread before we left for the mall. dry.gif

To put it simply: not good.

We started with the Shanghai Spring Rolls and Snow Pea Leaves in Garlic. The kitchen has apparently taken the constructive criticism to heart and started making the spring rolls a bit smaller, so they are now hot all the way through and not gooshy.

It appears they've reverted. The spring rolls were gooshy and had a definite peanut butter taste to them. My friend thought it was due to frying them in peanut oil, but I've never come across peanut oil that tasted quite so strongly of peanuts. blink.gif

From there, it just got worse... I ordered the Szechuan Eggplant and Pork. Not only was it not good, it was bad. Bad as in "I can't eat this" bad. A few meager pieces of oil-logged eggplant, old-tasting pork and tepid in temperature. Luckily, they'd brought me two bowls of rice -- one white and one brown.

But good company can make up deficiencies in food, right? Unfortunately, it was so loud in there (although the place was only half full) that I could only hear my friend if he shouted (and he is not a shouter). And between the din and his rate of speech, we caught only about 15% of what the waiter said, but that evolved (devolved?) to the point where we were in hysterics making up dialogues as to what we thought he might be saying.

The only saving grace of the experience was that I was still hungry when we went to Ray's the Steaks for dinner later that day. biggrin.gif I guess I'll try Coastal Flats next time (or eat a better breakfast before going to the mall).

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is Alan Yu involved in any way....I read earlier that he was going to be the Chef after he left Zengo....

Anyway, it's a damn shame that a person lends his name to something but has nothing to do with it. I specifically go to Philly once a year for Morimoto and cheesesteaks, Pats to be specific (again). I love Morimotos and have had some of the most mind bendingly good food there

Grilled King Crab with spicy aioli and tabikko

fresh tofu with accompaniments (made at your table)

a trio of fresh made noodles, one was green tea

sushi (obviously)

lemongrass rice pudding brulee with mango salsa

japanese eggplant with minced chicken, red miso and american cheese :angry:

to many good things to remember them all, great sake and martinis also......probably why I can't remember everything :)

It's just to bad that he put his name in with something that reeks of mediocrity......I wouldn't do it....

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Well, that's just a damn pimpin' shame because god knows Morimoto doesn't need that. Maybe he has expensive habits we don't know about. I too enjoyed the original Morimoto and it was good enough to impress me at the time when I didn't know jack about food. I am especially saddened to see reports of bad pork dishes because I hate to see a damn good product wasted. I still remember smelling a pork dish at Morimoto's and swooning as I do over suckling pig these days. You could eat that dish with your eyes and never stop.

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I feel I need to post my positive experience here, so sorry in advance for the length. The "name" thing is a shame, because it does create certain expecations.... Having never been to Morimotos, I am at an advantage. Having read this thread, and guessing that the objective is probably more of a PF Changs type destination then the actual Morimoto experience, puts me at another advantage.

I've been twice--a month apart--with a family group of 14 or so...both times we had a great experience. Both times were on a Sat night at 6pm. To wit, the expectations are usually lowered when feeding the family with a large group. However, we were quite pleasantly surprised on both occasions. That's not to say that that weren't some disappointments, but both times the service was exemplary. (Ryan deserves special mention here....he was our server the first time, and even though not our server the second time, remembered us and came over to the table to say hello and to let us know that he would make sure second server, Jason, would take care of us.)

Unfortunately, I can't recall all the dishes that were ordered both times. I cannot comment on the tastes of the other's dishes, only on my own. I'll list a few of the definite hits and misses and reactions from the crowd.

My husband enjoyed the spicy eggplant and pork dish, and almost ordered it again on the second visit, but I convinced him to try something new. The second time he ordered the Mu Shu Pork and liked it just as much. FIL absolutely loved the Congee, and remarked that he would almost order another for dessert! (It was set down in front of him--I turned my head to have a conversation with my niece, and when I turned back it was practically finished!) Speaking of desserts, those were also a hit...the banana spring rolls, filled with azuki beans and presented surrounding green tea ice cream were enjoyed by all, even those who refused dessert because they were too full. Although I could not take part in the spring rolls, I did sample the green tea ice cream. Unlike many that I have sampled these days, it actually had the flavor of the tea come through. Almost reminded me of the green tea ice cream we would get in NY--almost. But this was quite tasty. I enjoyed a lemon mousse dessert that was very light and refreshing--layered with a sponge.

The guest of honor at the 2nd dinner is a vegetarian, so she ordered some of the robotayaki...which came out on skewers and are very small servings. She would not have had even enough to eat, but I had ordered a side of steamed veggies and shared these with her. Unlike her brother, who ordered the kobe beef robotayaki, and that seemed to be a much larger portion. The meals are served with brown or white rice--everyone enjoyed both, but both times we totally finished off the brown rice and even had to ask for more.

Beef short ribs were declared tasty, but to me the serving also looked small. I recall that my SIL had the black cod the first time and really enjoyed it.

Both times I had the sea bass--and both times the chef did not dissapoint. Due to specific food allergies, I had corresponded with the restaurant in advance to determine what to order. Expecting to order my fish prepared simply with no sauce, the chef (I was told "Alan") surprised me and prepared for me a wonderful sauce to accompany the fish--the first time a citrus ginger sauce. The second time I was not expecting anything different, and he asked if he could surprise me--and he did with a creamy lobster ginger sauce. Both sauces were delicate and subtle, to not overpower the fish.

Being a mixed group with 12 of 14 members of asian heritage, the dishes were deemed very authentic and tasty. I would classify it has "home-y." The dissapointments would be the size of some of the dishes, and the temperature of the restaurant. (The air was blowing down directly on us, and it was quite uncomfortable)

All in all, it depends what you are looking for...I think one will have a better experience if you dine here not during a real busy time, and are not looking to have a "Morimoto" type meal. And engage the servers, as they both made recommendations that proved to be accurate. If you order the robotayaki, make sure you ask how many pieces come with an order to make sure you are ordering enough. (And ask for Ryan for your server :) )

Almost forgot--the added bonus-I forget the name right now, but the cube-shaped hard candies as you leave the restaurant are very fun!

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Rumor has it (by a post on chowhound) that Pauli Moto's will be closing soon. Any confirmation?

I can't confirm the closure, but I note from the health inspections record that they have a chronic problem with a non-draining wokline that was periodically backing up into the kitchen, a problem neither they nor the mall management seem to have figured out a fix for. The last major inspection indicates that the HD was going to institute "enforcement inspections" if the problem wasn't fixed as of about a week ago.

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Great. I'm going there tonight (not my choice, for a friend's birthday), and I called to confirm that they were open, at least for today. They are...now I'm using the board to determine which dishes to order, but I must say...I'm not really excited!

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Great. I'm going there tonight (not my choice, for a friend's birthday), and I called to confirm that they were open, at least for today. They are...now I'm using the board to determine which dishes to order, but I must say...I'm not really excited!

I know some people who went last night. It's open, and from what I hear about the food, you'll wish it wasn't.

Cheers!
Rocks.

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I made it out of Pauli Moto's alive.

First off, I'll be fair: they were very kind and accomodating to our group of six twentysomething women celebrating a birthday. They brought out a complimentary chocolate mousse cake with the name of the birthday girl written in chocolate, which was very nice.

But seriously...

Service: My first impression of the restaurant was, upon being seated, a server saying, "Look out, can you hold this?" and handing me a warm bowl of edamame. I have no problem lending a hand, when it's necessary, but it wasn't, and "look out" aren't welcoming words to a patron. Nice goes a long way, but only so far. Our server was a lovely young woman who was completely inept. When we asked for wine and martini recommendations, she said, "Oh, I don't drink." OK...but do you know your product? We ordered our food, then she came back twice to "double check" the order. Food came out staggered, and I had to tell my friends to go ahead and eat...my skewers came about 10 minutes after their entrees. Each plate was "auctioned off" and handed to me to pass around the table. Again, I don't mind helping, if it's necessary, but it just wasn't. Water refills had to be asked for several times.

Beverages: What self-respecting bartender serves a gin and tonic with no lime? :unsure: Other than that, the specialty martinis were pretty good, and they have a decent beer selection.

Food: Most of my group stuck with the "Chinese standards" like sweet and sour chicken, which appeared to be pretty standard. The birthday girl had the spicy tuna roll and a California roll...very fresh and beautifully presented. I had the crab and corn chowder, which was very satisfying--the sweetness of the corn and crab were balanced by a savory broth. I also had a Kobi beef skewer and a Japanese yam skewer. I was happy with both but not blown away...the dipping sauces were very good. I wish I knew what they were, but our server didn't explain them and I didn't bother to ask.

The food was fine, the service was friendly but terrible. There's just nothing special about Pauli Moto's, despite the atmosphere, which is quite lovely.

Glad I read this thread before I went...I didn't expect much, so I wasn't too disappointed. ;)

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I had an errand to complete that required a visit to a store in Tysons Corner Mall called Resoration Hardware. I am the type that hates malls. All malls. I have been dreading this errand for weeks.

Anyway, I walk out of the store (waste of time btw), and I see Morimoto's place is right there, so I stop in for a quick early lunch. Uggh. Wish I knew how to put one of those frowny face thingies in here. It was awful. Just awful. The Vegetable Spring Roll ($6.75) was absolutely un-edible. Soft, slimy, overcooked goo surrounded by a tough, cheap, thick, frozen, cardboardy wrapper. It came with Three Dipping Sauces, one of which was chinese mustard out of a jar, another one was chinese garlic-chili paste out of a jar. Spicy Tuna Roll ($7.25) was little better. The 16 year old kid that I watched make it only had to consult the instruction manual once. It came out looking like neon-bright, orange, nuclear ooze surrounded by old, salty rice. The Eel and Avocado Roll ($7.25) was actually nicely warm and surprisingly okay, judging from a "I know this isn't a great sushi restaurant in the first place" perspective.

When I left at 12:30(?) there couldn't have been more than 4 tables taken. I don't know Morimoto, and I admit this was a very limited sampling, but I'm really surprised he allows his name to be associated with this place. Coastal Flats (no idea what this is), on the other hand, had people lined up out the door.

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Pauli Moto's "temporary" closing in Tyson's appears to be ongoing...and their website hasn't changed in a while, with the half-dozen other locations still "opening soon" or "opening in 2006". Any scuttlebutt on whether they're down for the count or not? It doesn't look like anything has been done to the interior since the lights went out.

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Just went by there last night (we were eating at Coastal Flats). Still closed, looked like nothing obvious was going on inside, i.e. couldn't see any signs of construction, though if it's a kitchen reconstruction then I guess it's possible we wouldn't see it. There was actually mail on the floor inside that looked like it had been shoved int he crack of the door. I'm not familiar with how much mail a restaurant gets, but it certainly looked like more than one day's worth of mail, but I'm not certain. There were probably 20-30 pieces of mail (including some junk mail) on the floor.

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There were probably 20-30 pieces of mail (including some junk mail) on the floor.

The +1 and I noted this myself when we wandered past over the weekend. Given that several of the pieces were either return-receipt requested, power bills, or notifications for pickup of registered items, I'm guessing they're G-O-N-E.

But the customer service desk says they were told it's supposed to reopen in "a couple of weeks," so who knows?

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