The website has spent a considerable amount of time covering Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs with four reviews of the restaurant since it opened about two years ago now. There was my first impressions dinner review; initial lunch review; a second lunch review; and then a lunch and brunch review from earlier this year.
But with a renewed interest in happy hour offerings at Disney Springs, which I cover in this post along with a review of STK’s happy hour, it made sense to see what Morimoto is serving up.
Happy hour is available at the bar on Mondays through Thursdays from 3pm to 5:30pm and then again every night from 10pm through close.
The bar areas at Morimoto are significantly larger than STK’s, so you should have little trouble finding a table. On the downside, seating is on the uncomfortable side. The hightop chairs in particular are not holding up real well and provide little support. You can opt to sit very low to the ground if you want to though or sit on a backless cushion just inches off the ground.
Here’s what the menu looks like online.
And in person.
The Sushi Rolls and Noodles are always available at these prices, while the “bites” and cocktails are exclusive to this menu.
While ordinarily expensive, I’ve always thought Morimoto’s cocktail game was one of the best that the Springs has to offer with inventive recipes that use quality ingredients. Unfortunately, none of us liked any of the happy hour drinks, to the point where all four would have gone undrunk if I had not heroically stepped in. Above is the $8 “Smoked Manhattan – Junmai Sake, Makers Mark Bourbon, Ginger Liqueur, Orange Bitters and Hickory Smoke.” It was far too orange-forward with a thick, syrupy consistency backed up by what tasted like rotten ginger.
The $8 “Bee’s Knees – Ketel One Vodka, Lavender Honey, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, Mint, Yuzu Sorbet.” This one was divisive – there was way too much mint and lemon juice, but I enjoyed the refreshing flavors of the sorbet and the naturally sweet lavender honey. But there was very little vodka going on and the mint was overpowering. If I had to get another one of these four cocktails again, it would probably be this one, though.
The $8 “Forbidden Lounge High Ball – Suntory Toki Whiskey, Sparkling Water, Kiwi” was disgusting and that’s coming from three guys that rarely meet a whiskey-based cocktail that isn’t immediately consumed. There’s way too much club soda going on and you’re basically drinking a large glass of carbonated water with a very faint flavor of oak and artificial kiwi. Not very good.
The $8 “Kinjyo Cocktail – Milk Tea, Stoli Vanilla Vodka, Thai Tea, Baileys Foam” was an interesting one, though it suffered from a really bitter, lingering coffee aftertaste. The drink is a little thicker than most, but still went down easily with a refreshing creamy vibe. I would order another one of these, but it would still be among my least favorite cocktails that Morimoto has offered. Nobody else would take a second sip.
Here’s the regular drink menu:
The Manhattan East is ordinarily $14 and shares all of the same ingredients as the Smoked Manhattan except for the smoke part.
And I’ve really enjoyed that cocktail in the past. But the happy hour presentation is considerably different being served in a low ball glass with ice. So I’m not sure if it’s an issue with the bartender or the cocktail list, but these were four big “no’s” from several gentlemen that almost always say “yes.”
The $8 “Kushiyaki ‘Grilled on a Stick’ – Chicken Yakitori (2pc), Pork Skirt Steak (1pc), Miso Marinated Black Cod (1pc)” is what I was looking forward to most, food-wise. I love skewered meat. But the chicken yakitori “felt” under-cooked with a slimy texture and little flavor. The Pork Skirt Steak should have been juicier, but was dry with just a bland spice to it and the fish offered little character as well. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t nearly as tasty as I had hoped.
The $8 “Beef Bulgogi Nachos – Wonton Chips, Thinly Sliced Soy Marinated Beef Short Ribs, Gochujang Sauce, Jalapeños, Cheese, Scallions” were a huge winner and a big part of why you may want to seek happy hour here out. It was a whopping portion – a huge amount of food. You’ve got crunchy, salty wonton chips slathered with cheese and the mildly spicy chili sauce. Then that’s topped with a lot of really flavorful, tender beef and crunchy scallions. These are very shareable and a tremendous value for $8. Worth seeking out.
The $8 “Cashu Pork Quesadilla – Pulled Braised Pork Belly, Caramelized Red Onions, Spicy Mayo, Blended Cheese” was another good value. These have a barbecue vibe to them with the mixture of tangy pulled pork, piquant red onion, mildly spicy mayo, and a little bit of cheese in each bite. Each piece is topped with a crunchy bite of pepper and jalapeno for a little bit of heat if that’s what you’re looking to experience. You can otherwise brush them off if you prefer. Overall, I think these are worth picking up, but they’re not the home run that is the nachos. This is far less food.
The $8 “Menchi Katsu Sliders – Two pieces of Chef Morimoto’s Award-Winning Fried Hamburger Slider, Kimchi Mayo, Japanese Barbecue Sauce, Green Papaya Slaw” are among my favorite things. Whenever I’m dining here, I always recommend them, which is odd for me considering that I usually lie and say anything that I’ve tried before is terrible so everyone will order something else and I will have a new picture of something. But even I ignore logic when it comes to these delicious little hamburgers. Deep-frying the beef/pork mix adds a really pleasant crunch to the meat and the process somehow does not weigh the dish down at all – it’s a light batter. The sauce has a really flavorful tang to it and the green papaya slaw adds just a touch of sweetness along with a lot of crunch. The bun is soft and does a surprisingly good job of keeping everything together, while not getting in the way of the flavor. You absolutely want these.
On a previous visit, I tried the $8 “Chicken Wings – Spicy Garlic Soy Glaze, Chili Threads, Sesame.” These were just fine – meaty and juicy with a mild spicy quality to them. You might pick a plate up if you’re stopping and enjoy wings.
A terrible picture of the $8 “Shichimi Spiced Edamame – Sesame, Japanese 7 Spice.” These are also very shareable and have a really nice spiciness to them that helps the beans stand out against other similar offerings. I’d pick an order up to have something to nibble on until the rest of the food arrives.
The ramen dishes are available all day, but also appear on the happy hour menu. They typically taste good and are filling. My favorite is the Singapore Laksa Noodles. Really comforting flavors.
Sushi is perhaps “just okay.” Quality is decent, but I don’t think we’re wowing anybody, and $12 for six pieces is on the spendy side.
Overall, like STK, there are some high and low notes. You absolutely want the sliders and the nachos and a couple of the other items are viable as well. The drinks disappointed across the board, but it’s possible that it was bad luck. Beer pricing is still on the rough side at $8 for 12-ounces. Stargazers is doing pints for $5 during their happy hour and you can choose from among 16 local options. STK is also charging $4 for their 12-ounce bottles. But the restaurant’s full food and beverage menus are available if you want to go in that direction. The bar seating is not particularly comfortable in my experience, so if you’re thinking about ordering off of the regular menu, I’d go in that direction. I think service in the restaurant is a little better than the bar too. If you’re just after the sliders, then they are also available at Morimoto Street Food, which is the to-go quick service located down to the left of the restaurant’s main entrance. There, you’ll pay $12.