Internationally known chef Masaharu Morimoto, who has appeared for years in the titular role on Iron Chef on Food Network and its various spinoffs, is surprise-opening a pan-Asian restaurant in West Hollywood tonight. The new Sa’Moto opens inside of the well-known Doheny Room, offering diners new takes on everything from laksa soup to dumplings — and with lots of cocktails and style, naturally.
Sa’Moto is just the latest venture for the globetrotting Morimoto, who operates restaurants from Hawaii to Las Vegas to Doha to Mumbai and beyond. The menu and name are unique to Los Angeles (so far) though, with plans to play on the lounge-y vibe of the existing Doheny Room while also offering surprising dishes like raclette cheese and gochujang, or heartier plates of sticky ribs. Currently, Morimoto operates a variety of restaurants from ramen to teppanyaki under various names, and already the chef has plans to expand Sa’Moto in the fall to New York City.
The surprise new restaurant is a collaboration with SBE founder Sam Nazarian’s Disruptive Restaurant Group. Nazarian himself has been on a worldwide expansion tour of late, saying all the way back in 2017 that he was planning to open 60 new restaurant ventures in just four short years under his Disruptive Restaurant Group banner. And while the pandemic has slowed some of that progress, this new partnership is meant, in part, to put DRG and Nazarian back on track.
Reps for the restaurant tell Eater that soon Sa’Moto will also be available on the company’s C3 platform, a hybrid model and standalone platform for virtual kitchens and compact food hall setups in more urban markets. That’s another focus for Nazarian (and lots of others) in recent years, as delivery-only restaurants continue to explode across the industry.