Dried apricots, almonds, peanuts, nori, bacon
House-made English muffin smeared with pork fat and garnished with chives
2006 Domaine Paul Blanck Pinot Gris, Alsace, France
Fluke sashimi, toasted poppy seeds, spicy buttermilk, chives
Oyster, crispy pork belly, braised cabbage, kimchi broth
Coddled egg, soubise onion, potato chips, hackleback caviar, sweet potato vinegar, chervil, chives
Crispy chicken skin with togarashi pepper
Pan-seared scallops, yuzu viniagrette
Torchon of shaved foie gras, riesling gelee, lychee, pine nuts
Deep-fried short ribs, carrot, daikon radish, scallion, pickled mustard seeds, fried parsley
Miso soup, grilled rice cake smeared with pork fat, pickled turnips and cabbage
Photo courtesy of The Wandering Eater.
Pineapple sorbet, chewy pineapple
Fried apple pie, sour ice cream, toasted miso, cinnamon sugar
The man behind the curtain.
If you’re a vegetarian or someone who doesn’t eat meat, fish or dairy, Momofuku Ko is not the restaurant for you. It’s a restaurant for omnivores by an omnivore. Hallelujah!
I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow account of the meal which you can read about here, here or here. Note to readers — it’s only been two weeks since the posted date on a couple of those entries and there are already variations on a few dishes. The menu changes daily with micro-minor tweaks so that no two experiences are ever alike.
Out of 10? A very strong 7 to borderline 8 based on this first initial visit. There are a few things on the menu that seem almost stereotypical for New York-based chefs. Most places have a crispy pork belly dish. Everyone does something with slow-cooked egg. It’s a commandment that foie gras must appear. It’s difficult for me to get excited about any of these things individually but Chef Chang succeeded. He pierced my jaded veneer without even trying.
And yet, I’m reticent about becoming a Momofuku acolyte. The reservation system is absolutely insane. Seatings are only available online up to one week in advance. Each new day opens precisely at ten o’clock in the morning, Eastern Standard Time. A DSL, cable or faster Internet connection is mandatory. You’d best have the reflexes of a grasshopper since 90% of the reservations are gone in thirty seconds or less. That being said, it’s possible to reserve if you check for cancellations later in the day. You’ll still need to be superhumanly quick but at least your chances will improve.
If you can get your foot in the door, you’ll have a wonderful time. The menu is a celebratory revelation of all the things that aren’t good for you according to the food police. This is a restaurant whose time has come.
Momofuku Ko is located at 163 First Avenue (East 10th Street) in the East Village.