i love momofuko.
this review/write up has been a long time coming. have been back from NY for over a month, have been busy at work, have totally neglected tumblr. i’m sorry, please forgive me?
soooo the highlight of new york was eating. eating a lot. and the golden star of our eating (gluttonous gorging) was eating at 3 out of 5 of david chang’s restaurants. in 6 days. it was heaven.
the first thing i’m going to say is believe the hype. the momofuko empire is as good as everyone says. probably better. fuck the haters on yelp, they wouldn’t know good ramen if it bit them in the ass.
we started our momofuko pilgrimage at milk bar. after spending an entire day wandering MOMA, we were famished and ready for some sugar for a pick me up. visited the uptown location outside of má-pêche. i was on a mission to sample as many sweets as i could without getting a stomach ache. we decided on two slices of pie and a small cup of soft-serve.
as you can see, the packaging of the pie slices are adorable, a throw back to mcdonald’s old deep-fried pie packages. our first slice was of their crack pie which has a buttery, sweet, creamy filling, very similar to a butter tart, but with a burnt sugary taste. it was addictive, i could have eaten another three slices. i guess that’s why they call it crack pie. our second slice was of their candy bar pie, essentially a gigantic reese peanut butter cup with homemade peanut butter, dark, bitter chocolate and a layer of salty pretzels. again, delicious. but a bit too sweet after eating half a slice. rounded out our lunch of desserts with a cup of cereal milk soft-serve ice cream. i was expecting a super-sweet junky cereal like fruit loops as the cereal component but to my surprise it was corn flakes (or what i learned as corn flakes after ready the cereal milk pana cotta recipe in chang’s cookbook). it was delicious, silky-smooth, creamy yet light with a hint of honey & corn flakes. so good.
AAANND on the way out we bought 6 cookies, a tote bag & chang’s new magazine, lucky peach). after dessert/lunch, we headed back to the hotel for showers (disgustingly hot) & a nap.
later that night we headed to the east village for dinner at noodle bar. got there around 8:45pm. it was a sunday night, i thought we were in the clear in terms of line-ups. but i forgot that it was the night before july 4th, meaning everyone was off the next day and didn’t need to be up in the morning. waited about 45 minutes, neither of us really cared, we expected a wait. we sat at the bar, which i actually preferred as it super cozy & we were able to talk to the bartender.
i ordered a session lager ($5), mark opted for the momofuko lychee slushie ($10) which was spiked with soju (a korean vodka). the slushie was out of this world, sweet, smooth and very very boozy. i regretted by beer instantly. up next was appetizers. i was so excited about the food i neglected to take pictures of everything but did snap this one of my appetizer of pigtails with kimchi pears.
don’t be turned off by the pigtails, they had the same consistency and flavour of short ribs, but were fattier (in a good way) and more succulent. they were tossed in a pretty standard korean bbq-like sauce. the kimchi pears were awesome, pickley, briny yet sweet on the inside. i’m contemplating trying out the recipe here at home.
also shared two types of buns: oyster buns & chang’s famous pork buns. let me preface this by saying that the buns are really buns like you’d get at an asian bakery. they are more like asian tacos. the pork buns deserve every drop of ink that has been written about them. the outer shell was doughy and chewy, and the contents inside were breathtakingly good, melt in your mouth pork belly (oh how i love you), scallions, pickled carrots & hoison sauce. the oyster buns were also very good, old bay oysters were panko (i think) crusted, deep fried & dressed with pickled celery, hoisin and iceberg lettuce.
we shared a main, it was a mistake, we both could have eaten an entire bowl. we opted for the classic momofuko ramen which featured a delicious broth (with beautiful beads of pork, beef and chicken fat floating on top), handmade noodles, shredded pork shoulder, pork belly, scallions and chang’s perfectly cooked slow-poached egg. i was in ramen heaven. i literally wanted to wrestle the bowl away from mark and hightail it out the door to hide in some dank alley and spend a couple quiet moments savouring the deliciousness. seeing that we had dessert earlier in the day, we opted out.
two night later after seeing how to succeed in business without really trying, we headed to ssam bar. arrived late-ish for dinner, about 10:15 (on a tuesday night). no line, were given a great communal table at the front of the restaurant. i ordered beer (ob beer), mark stuck to water, we were stinking hot. and then got into the food.
appetizers consisted of two dishes, bar buns & veal sweetbreads. i must say that the bar buns were even better than the pork buns at noodle bar. i don’t specifically remember what was in the buns other than a huge slab of pork belly but we both agreed that they were amazing. sweetbreads were equally great, battered, deep-fried, crispy on the outside, soft & delicious on the inside. they were accompanied by almond, sauerkraut & thai chilli. we also shared soft shell crab, but i did most of the eating because mark wasn’t a fan. can’t remember what else we had that night. but do remember that we definitely liked our meal at noodle bar much more.
so yes, david chang deserves all the praise he receives. his food is super delicious, a weird hybrid of korean, japanese, chinese, american & french rolled into one. but still pretty accessible & not fussy & super familiar. the flavours are stuck in my head. we’re headed by the NY in october and i’m trying to figure out how we can get down to the east village for some noodles. we need to. i can’t wait until next year when chang is slated to open 3 restaurants here in toronto. plus i don’t want to have to battle the toronto foodie crowd for a table. the end.