Sunday, October 4, 2015

Morimoto Asia - Disney Springs

Last night, we had dinner at Morimoto Asia, the newest addition to The Landing in Disney Springs.  

Morimoto Asia, like Tutto Italia, Tutto Gusto, and Via Napoli in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot, is owned by the Patina Restaurant Group.  I recognized the manager who came to our table to discuss gluten free options with me, because he used to work at Tutto Gusto.

 Morimoto Asia does not have a gluten free menu, and I don't think a lot of their dishes are naturally gluten free, but they were very willing to customize starters and entrees to make them safe for me to eat.

The manager I spoke to did mention that I could order sushi, and that they have tamari gluten free soy sauce.

For a starter, I chose the five spice chicken wings with chopped jalapeno and crispy garlic.  They are made in a dedicated fryer, so no worries about cross contamination.  If you love fried chicken, you will love these wings, which were nice and crispy, with a subtle seasoning.

I had a really hard time deciding on an entree.  Some of the dishes that could be modified to be gluten free included the pho ga, singapore laska noodle, egg fried rice, morimoto peking duck, filet mignon, kung pao chicken, and the black pepper steak.  I ended up choosing the kung pao chicken, minus the carrots and bamboo shoots.

I was a little surprised when my meal arrived, and I actually thought I had been given the wrong entree, but the manager ended up having a dish made for me based on what I told him I like, which is a sweet and spicy sauce.  My chicken and vegetables were served with a delicious apricot sweet chili sauce, which I really enjoyed.  The meat and poultry dishes are not served with rice, so I ordered a bowl of brown rice for my entree.

For dessert, I had three options to choose from, the mochi-mochi, or today's chef's choice gelato or sorbetto trio.  The gelato and sorbetto are from Vivoli Il Gelato, which opened earlier this summer in Disney Springs.

I ordered the mochi-mochi with annin tofu, coconut mango soup, fruit boba, frozen mango, and lemon-yogurt powder, which is naturally gluten free.

The bottom layer is the annin tofu, which had an almond flavor, and a panna cotta like consistency.  The small green and pink balls are strawberry and kiwi flavored boba.  The coconut mango soup was served on the side, and it is usually poured over the dish table-side, but I wanted to try it first to make sure it did not taste like coconut.  The white substance on top, which looked like feta, is the lemon-yogurt powder.

There was a lot going on with this dessert, but all the flavors and textures worked really well together.  I loved the almond flavor of the annin tofu, and the coconut mango soup was so creamy and delicious, with no hint of any coconut flavor.  The portion was very large, and easily shared.

Overall, I enjoyed all three of the dishes I tried at Morimoto Asia, and look forward to dining there again soon.  My gluten-eating husband and daughters loved the morimoto spare ribs, grilled chicken bao, and the chicken dumplings.  Mitch liked the duck nasi goreng, but not enough to order it again.  We saved 20% on our meal with our Tables in Wonderland card, which was a nice surprise, considering that I couldn't even use it at Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar, which is Disney owned and operated.

October 13, 2015 Update

This past Sunday, I had dinner with my daughters at Morimoto Asia.  Emer, the manager who helped me on our last visit, assisted us again.

We started our meal with the five spice chicken wings with chopped jalapeno and crispy garlic.  Emer was able to tell me that this dish is now gluten free without modification.  I am not sure why the jalapenos were absent from the dish on our last visit, but it didn't really matter, because we did not eat them anyway.  The wings were nice and crispy, but a little lacking on salt this visit.

I considered ordering the pad thai, which can be modified to be gluten free, but ended up choosing the crispy bronzino, which is a boneless mediterranean sea bass, fried and served with the same apricot sweet chili sauce I had with my chicken entree on our last visit.  We loved the vegetable slaw served with this dish, and ended up ordering both white and brown rice to eat with all the delicious sauce on my plate.  My mother is fond of ordering whole fish entrees at restaurants like Trattoria al Forno, but this was a first for me.  My girls were a little put off by the whole fish, especially the beady eyes, but they were able to get beyond that and sample my fish.  We all enjoyed the crispy bronzino, but had to be careful eating it, because we found a few stray bones.  This dish was modified to be gluten free by changing the sweet and sour sauce it is usually served with.  The fish itself is fried in a dedicated fryer, so no worries about cross contamination.

For dessert, I was told that I could order the mochi-mochi, the sorbetto trio, or the cream caramel, which can be modified to be gluten free.  When I asked about the gelato trio, I was told that it was not safe because of possible cross contamination of the gelato, but I did stop at Vivoli Il Gelato before we left Disney Springs, and they told me that all of their gelatos are gluten free.  My daughter Emma and I split the mochi-mochi, which I need to add to my The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney - Gluten Free Desserts post.  This dish is dairy free without the lemon-yogurt powder, so it is a great option for gluten free and dairy free diners.

December 1, 2015 Update

Yesterday, I stopped at Morimoto Asia to see their new gluten free lunch and dinner menus.  The dinner menu includes the following dishes:

  • Edamame
  • Five spice chicken wings
Dim Sum
  • Sesame balls - sweet red bean paste, white sesame (Update - no longer gluten free)
Sushi Rolls - choose white or brown rice
  • Spicy tuna - tuna, spicy mayo, scallion
  • Spicy yellowtail - Japanese yellowtail, spicy mayo, scallion
  • Spicy salmon - salmon, spicy mayo, scallion
  • California - crabstick, avocado, cucumber (Update - no longer gluten free)
  • Vegetable - spicy mayo, asparagus, carrot, cucumber
  • House greens - mixed lettuces, morimoto kabosu vinaigrette
Noodles + Rice
  • Pad Thai (chicken, shrimp, or veggie) - stir-fried flat rice noodles, egg, bean sprouts, scallions, fried tofu, pickled turnip, sweet tamarind sauce
  • Pho Ga - Vietnamese style chicken soup, rice noodles, thai basil, cilantro
  • Wok fry shrimp - quick fried shrimp, stir-fried Chinese vegetables
  • Lobster chow fun - whole lobster wok fry, sauteed flat rice noodles, Chinese vegetables
  • Wok sauteed Chinese vegetables - seasonal greens, garlic

The lunch menu contains all the same dishes except the five spice chicken wings, Pho Ga, and the lobster chow fun.  I have heard that Morimoto Asia is being pretty inflexible about modifying other dishes to make them gluten free, so you may only be able to order food that is on these menus.

December 6, 2015 Update

Yesterday, we had lunch at Morimoto Asia, and I noticed some changes had been made to the gluten free menu.  The sesame balls, which I had hoped to try, and the California roll are no longer on the menu .  A manager I spoke to said they had changed suppliers for ingredients in the sesame balls, and they are no longer gluten free.

For lunch, I ordered Pad Thai with chicken.  I really liked the sweet tamarind sauce that the rice noodles are tossed in, but there was just a little too much of it.  I would order this dish again, but request that the chefs go light on the sauce.

When I asked a manager about the gelato, he said he would walk over to Vivoli Il Gelato and check on its gluten free status for me.  He knew they made cookies & cream gelato for another Patina restaurant at Disney, so he was concerned about cross contamination.  It turns out that gluten containing ingredients are not put in Vivoli Il Gelato's gelato machines, and that they stir in the cookies after the gelato is made.  My daughters did not want the vanilla or chocolate ice cream that came with their kids' meals, so my husband and I asked if we could have a scoop of gelato instead.  I had the pistachio, which is very good, and Mitch had his favorite, the amarena cherry.

Reservations for Morimoto Asia can be made on Open Table, on Disney's website, or by calling 407-939-MOTO (6686).

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Morimoto Asia?


  1. Just wanted to comment that I asked if anything was gluten free at Morimoto's Street Food quick service and received eye rolls and attitude. Nothing was gluten free.

  2. I spent over 2.5 hours at Morimoto for lunch in May, while dealing with an absentee waiter and manager regarding food allergies. I went to the quick service side today and simply asked if they had gluten free options and received eye rolls from a woman with a chef hat and attitude from the cashier. Unnecessary, rude and uncalled for. Never dining at Morimoto again.