You Had Me at Morimoto

Nearly in our own backyard, literally less than 5 miles from our house, Musashi Japanese Restaurant Vegan & Sake Bar reopened at their new location in Feasterville on July 12. Interestingly, it used to have a liquor license but is now a BYOB, how odd is that? Although I believe you can order flights of Sake.

The mission of Musashi is as Chef Nobu says, “Consuming healthy food for a long life.” It accomplishes this goal by bringing Bucks County its first Japanese restaurant with a focus on vegan (Shojin) a very traditional form of Japanese cuisine.

According to their website, Chef Nobu Miura ventured into Bucks County with 30 years of Japanese culinary experience. Trained by masters in Tokyo Japan, he arrived in North Carolina where he owned his first Japanese restaurant for 11 years and was awarded best in the area for three consecutive years and the title of Iron Chef of North Carolina.

He then moved to the prominent Baltimore sushi restaurant Edo Sushi At Inner Harbor, and finally to Philadelphia’s premier Japanese restaurant Morimoto’s, under Iron Chef Morimoto (well-known food network star), and lastly he worked at Philadelphia’s finest ramen restaurant called Ramen Bar.

OK, we were dually impressed! Chef Nobu’s healthy style places a focus on natural nutrition and is light on sodium, carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol. For some of you, this may not be an incentive, but to us it was definitely worth investigating…

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Decorated in a modest, yet somewhat kitschy traditional Japanese atmosphere in a tired-looking strip mall, the parking lot was packed, a good sign indeed. Walking in, we were greeted by a very enthusiastic hostess and when told we had reservations, she smiled broadly and seated us at our reserved table by a corner front window, arguably the best seat in the house (which is not saying a whole lot.)

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Side antidote: Ceramics was one of my majors in college with a particular interest in Raku. I immediately noticed these beautiful little dishes for soy sauce at each setting and it immediately put a smile on my face. Back to the present…

Their menu is quite extensive so it took a while for us to review all of the options and come to final decisions. While we did, our wine bottle was uncorked and our waiter, Erich, asked if we had any questions regarding the menu. Yes we did. What’s the difference between the regular Seaweed Salad and the Musashi Special Seaweed Salad? Erich explained the special one came with three different types of seaweed salad, the regular, only one.

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As you can see, we opted for the special and it arrived with an abundance of colorful veggies with two dressings on the side, one ginger, the other peanut. I think my favorite is still the original seaweed salad, shown in green, top right, between the black and purple.

Next question? Russ asked about the curry dishes, and with high praises from Erich he also wanted to know whether to get the Chicken or Pork Cutlet Curry. Without hesitation Erich said he loved the chicken best. But before we decided on entrees, I selected the steamed Wasabi Pork Shumai, five pieces of deliciously flavored, tender dumplings that arrived in a bamboo basket. They were excellent!

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For my main course I ordered the Dynamite Roll, eight pieces with spicy crab, spicy salmon, and wasabi pea topped with a thin slice of jalapeño with a dollop of wasabi sauce. Always accompanied by some wasabi paste and pickled ginger, I certainly got my quota of boldly intense flavors! The problem was, they delivered it on the same platter as Russ’s appetizer of Tekka Tuna Sushi Roll.

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Oh well, I just took the initiative to move his order to another plate. What we learned from other Japanese restaurants, but forgot to put into practice this time, was to let them know the order you want things delivered, and when, otherwise you end up getting everything all at once, or at the very least, out of order. Patience is a virtue, right?

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That curry entry Russ asked about? Well he did opt for the Chicken Katsu Curry which arrived while I was enjoying my sushi. Holy smokes, no small portion there! Large slices of breaded chicken enveloped a mound of white rice, flanked by four colorful, shredded vegetables. The curry sauce, resembling brown gravy, came in a separate container allowing you to add as much, or as little as desired.

All-in-all we were pleased with the caliber of the food and definitely plan to add this establishment to our growing list of neighborhood places to dine.

“Goshisousama deshita”

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