morimoto.jpgWord is out that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto has signed on to open a contemporary Japanese restaurant in Napa’s Riverfront development. SF Eater and The North Bay Bohemian both have bits on it today, but apparently this wasn’t news to Napans…Thirsty Reader reported that the deal had been inked more than a month ago.

<UPDATE> So here’s a little bit more juiciness…
It sounds as if Morimoto won’t just be a figurehead at yet another celeb-chef restaurant. The company that does the retail leasing says Morimoto is looking to possibly purchase a condo in the development and has “fallen in love with Napa.” “He’s going to be here a lot. He’s decided he’d rather spend time in Napa than in Las Vegas or San Francisco,” according to spokesman Craig Semmelmeyer. The other big news is that yet another big name is expected to be announced in the development. Hmmmm.

Morimoto is about as big as big gets in the celeb chef world. Though his TV presence is limited (his English isn’t ready for prime time) he’s been featured on Iron Chef America and the original Japanese version of Iron Chef. He’s also the star-power behind several restaurants back east.

Does anyone remember the first season of Next Food Network Star when he scoffed at contestants trying to bone a fish. <Shudder>