US OPEN 2011: Food Tasting Preview with Morimoto and Mantuano

US OPEN 2011 Aces Restaurant Bar and Grill 1
Dear Food Diary:

Not all PR events turn out to be like the last one. The US Open 2011 Food Tasting Preview for example, was the total opposite. A beautiful afternoon with food, bubbly and more, just like the invite promised. If you’re off to see the games, you’re in luck! there’s so many great food options all over, your tummy will be happy.

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From the minute we walked in, up to my very last bite. This was a complete showcase of all the food and drink options at the event this year. 

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From the Food Village to the lounges and restaurants. We got to sample a bit of everything.
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The celebrity chefs presented their restaurants, dishes and inspiration.
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Now let the food and drinks match begin…


MOET CHAMPAGNE BAR
US OPEN 2011 Moet Chandon Ace restaurant
The new sponsor Moet will be serving their Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial and Grand Vintage throught the bars and restaurants. Seth, their Champagne specialist introduced us to the Moet Imperial Ice which can only be found at the new Champagne Bar. Trust me, it’s worth looking for it.
US OPEN 2011 Moet Chandon Ice Imperial
The Moet Imperial Ice is the first champagne created to be enjoyed over ice.
US OPEN 2011 Moet Chandon Ice Imperial 2
Refreshing light fizz. Perfect for a hot summer day.


HONEY DEUCE
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This is the Signature drink of the US OPEN. Grey Goose Vodka, with raspberry liqueor, lemonade and the cute honeydew melon “tennis balls”. The glass loss pretty cool. The drink itself was only ok. I preferred the Moet Imperial Ice. 


ACES RESTAURANT (Club Level) with MORIMOTO
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Aces has Iron Chef Morimoto’s sushi and sashimi along with a sophisticated seafood menu. This is the premier dining destination on the grounds.

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The soy sauce he uses is actually prepared in the restaurant. The store bought one are too salty so they cook it and modify it. He hand brushed each one of our fresh bites, so we’d get just the right amount of soy sauce. 
US OPEN 2011 Aces Restaurant Bar and Grill morimoto sushi sashimi
Salmon, Tuna, Fluke, Yellowtail. California Roll, Salmon Roll and Spicy Tuna Roll. No fancy fish like in his restaurants, but these more “common” offerings were very fresh, balanced and had good flavor.
US OPEN 2011 Aces Restaurant Bar and Grill with iron chef Morimoto 5
I’m a big fan of his food (both Morimoto Philly and NYC) and his style. He’s an Iron Chef, but the times that I’ve met him, he’s always super friendly, humble and has a good sense of humor (see the video above). I just had to say hello and snap this. I know I look red! urghhh, the curse of the Asian glow.
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Aside from Morimoto’s sushi and shashimi, Aces also offers a classic Crab Cake. Loaded with lump crab meat. Yum!
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Their Lobster Mac’n Cheese was one of my favorites from the whole tasting. Loaded with lobster chunks, it has a perfect crust. Cheesy and nicely seasoned. It stood out even amongst all the yummy stuff we were serv
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Portobello Fries were like a tempura with a spicy soy dipping sauce. Portobello mushrooms have a natural umami. The exterior is extra crunchy. They’ve been serving this for years, I can see why people would come back for this. Pretty addicting.
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CARROT CAKE was moist and loaded with carrots and raisins. Just the right amount of cream cheese frosting. We were very full, but couldn’t stop eating this fragrant and sweet piece of cake.
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CHOCOLATE CAKE was also very moist. Melt in your mouth dark chocolate goodness. Pieces of caramel crunch every now and then would pop up for a surprise.


WINE BAR
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Wine bar at the South Plaza features Top Chef Masters’ Tony Mantuano. Small bites with wine pairings. 
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The Flaming Ouzo Shrimp is one of their signature dishes. It was fun watching it being made. The ouzo gave it a nice star anise and coriander aroma. Tasted ok, I felt like it needed a bit more seasoning. 
US OPEN 2011 Aces Bar and Grill with the chefs 10
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Tomato bread with Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese was a classic. Perfect combination of salty and fatty, with a hint of fresh tomato and garlic. If this was a tennis player it would be Kournikova, yes! that sexy.
US OPEN 2011 Aces Bar and Grill with Top Chef Tony Mantuano 9
I’m a huge fan of Top Chef, I thought Tony was super chill and nice on the show. He jokingly told me it wasn’t easy, which it didn’t look it either. (He’s holding a Wine Bar Cookbook btw).


MOJITO RESTAURANT & BAR
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Diablo shrimp and scallop ceviche had a citrus and tomato base. Fresh and sweet shrimps and scallops, bit of orange and lime with a hint of spiciness and fresh cilantro to brighten it up.
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The Cubano Sandwich got lost in the mix of everything on our table. It wasn’t very memorable. I wished it was warmer or the cheese melted at least. But then again, I’m not a big fan of Cubano sandwiches in general.
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The Seared Scallops with jalepeno corn bread came to us a bit later in the tasting, so it was cold. The flavors were good, a little on the sweeter side. 


CHAMPION BAR & GRILL (Club Level)
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Is their classic steakhouse. The steak I got was juicy and the horse radish sauce on the side was a tangy pairing. The carnivore in me was happy and wished there was more.


FOOD VILLAGE, SOUTH PLAZA CAFE
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Simple Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach Quesadilla. It had a nice crunch around the edges. Great for on the go between matches. You’ll find this at the South Plaza Cafe.
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The Fulton’s Seafood Stand offers a Lobster Roll with celery, chili sauce, ketchup, tarragon and scallions. Buttery bread with sweet Maine lobster chunks. I’m not sure about the ketchup, but it wasn’t much, so it didn’t overpower. Not the best lobster roll I’ve had, but definitely not bad.


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If you ever wondered what it’s like to eat with a food blogger, well, here is a day in the life of. Our table wasn’t big enough for everything they were bringing.
US OPEN 2011
After all that food and fun, J and I stayed to watch some preliminary matches and chilled in the sun. Actually we burned… Also followed some tennis players we didn’t  know, but fanatic kids holding giant tennis balls assured us their fame LOL… We had a yummy great time. LOVE.