FOOD / October 30, 2011

MOMOFUKU KO UNAPOLOGETICALLY AWESOME- AND YOU NEED TO TRY IT

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AMAZING- EXTRAVAGANT- COOL – DOWNTOWN- FUSION

OUT OF 10

FOOD-10     SERVICE-8     DECOR-7.5     PRICE- VERY EXPENSIVE     VIBE- SPEAKEASY DINE AT CHEFS TABLE

MOMOFUKU KO is David Chang’s answer to a Haute Cuisine Chef’s Table Downtown. It is my pick of the month, for New York fine cuisine set in a cool, rock-and-roll downtown atmosphere. With one of the most bizarre reservation policies where you try your chances in a lottery-like online reservation system, pay up front for the tasting menu on your reservation; it is anything but easy going, however once in the door the mood is really relaxed, downtown culinary geeks.

The extremely ugly storefront in the East Village with a tiny sign of a peach (momofuku means grilled peach) fits the speakeasy trend (..yawn) of a few years ago. Once you get past the bunker like entrance, a very small 12 seater bar awaits uber-foodies as chefs cook in front of you the set tasting menu. They are accomodating for people who may have small dietary restrictions but this is not for someone with a difficult palate or a vegetarian.

The tasting menu ($125 for dinner and $175 for lunch) changes daily but in general has a few signature dishes. You should allow two hours for dinner and three hours for lunch. Trust me it will be worth it!  They do not allow photography so be grateful for the few I sneaked out! 😉

The menu starts with Momofuku’s signature Pork Crackling and Pickles which are light, salty and appetizing for whats to come.

The courses are not written but delivered and described to you by one of the chefs.

The 10 courses usually hits a few appetizers such a Hamachi Sashimi with Black Bean which was interestingly light and delicate. Nice to taste Chinese flavours used on a japanese dish so cleverly.

The lovely, soft Smoked Hen Egg served on top of stewed Onions,  crispy Potato Chips and salty Caviar combine textures, temperatures and flavours beautifully. The earthiness of a soft boiled egg is a few years old but there is something nostalgic about it, like the yolk is a little warm gift waiting to be opened.

The lovely, soft Smoked Hen Egg served on top of stewed Onions, crispy Potato Chips and salty Caviar combine textures, temperatures and flavours beautifully. The earthiness of a soft boiled egg is a few years old but there is something nostalgic about it, like the yolk is a little warm gift waiting to be opened.

I have never had anything comparable to the Shaved Torchon Of Hudson Valley Foie Gras with lychee and pine nuts.  The Foie Gras is grated from a cold block to produce a light, cold, snowy layer on top of the lychee and pine nuts. It is a gustatory journey! It starts as a light, cold, fluffy texture but once it warms in your mouth it becomes fatty, warm, “sweet and meaty”. The portion was relatively large for how rich it is. It is an astounding dish.

I have never had anything comparable to the Shaved Torchon Of Hudson Valley Foie Gras with lychee and pine nuts.
The Foie Gras is grated from a cold block to produce a light, cold, snowy layer on top of the lychee and pine nuts. It is a gustatory journey! It starts as a light, cold, fluffy texture but once it warms in your mouth it becomes fatty, warm, “sweet and meaty”.
The portion was relatively large for how rich it is. It is an astounding dish.

Pork Belly, Oyster and Broth A raw oyster sits in a warm asian broth with a large slab of grilled Pork Belly. Here the chef plays with the lightness of the broth and the oyster which slowly cooks in the hot broth juxtaposed by the thick no-nonsense Pork Belly. A divine dish however the heaviness does catch up with you.  Other fish, pasta and meat courses are all excellent such as the delicate Nantucket Bay Scallops with Atlantic Halibut with cauliflower, ham, black olives.

Pork Belly, Oyster and Broth
A raw oyster sits in a warm asian broth with a large slab of grilled Pork Belly. Here the chef plays with the lightness of the broth and the oyster which slowly cooks in the hot broth juxtaposed by the thick no-nonsense Pork Belly. A divine dish however the heaviness does catch up with you.
Other fish, pasta and meat courses are all excellent such as the delicate Nantucket Bay Scallops with Atlantic Halibut with cauliflower, ham, black olives.

A Hanger Steak with Carrots and Spring Onion was so delectably rich and moist with the crispy outside it really reflected on the talent of the chefs.  The Elysian Fields Farm Lamb with stuffed shallot, sheep milk ricotta was the last savoury course and was delicously cooked, meaty and slightly fatty lamb with interesting creamy stuffed shallots. By this point I was so full but it was delectable and impossible to not finish. Two desserts finish the tasting course and are delicate but less impressive than the savoury courses.

A Hanger Steak with Carrots and Spring Onion was so delectably rich and moist with the crispy outside it really reflected on the talent of the chefs.
The Elysian Fields Farm Lamb with stuffed shallot, sheep milk ricotta was the last savoury course and was delicously cooked, meaty and slightly fatty lamb with interesting creamy stuffed shallots. By this point I was so full but it was delectable and impossible to not finish.
Two desserts finish the tasting course and are delicate but less impressive than the savoury courses.

Chefs cooking in front of you at the bar The chefs are relatively relaxed having most sauces, vegetables and meats half prepared and casually assembling them with effortless precision.  It is a joy to watch, interact and ask questions (If you are a food geek like me).

Chefs cooking in front of you at the bar
The chefs are relatively relaxed having most sauces, vegetables and meats half prepared and casually assembling them with effortless precision. It is a joy to watch, interact and ask questions (If you are a food geek like me).

The Momofuku empire is slowly expanding from the original momofuku ssam, then noodle and milk bars throughout the East Village. Its patronage is quite rightly deserved due to its inventive and flavourful approach to Korean and Asian Food.

Momofuku Ko is a fantastic dining experience which takes you on a journey through Asian and European cuisine, flawlessly perfected in a cool, downtown atmosphere.

Dinner for two with wine cost about $450. After 10 well-paced, perfectly-portioned courses you will be happily full and thoroughly enlightened. Save it for a real treat! It will not let you down.

LOVE IT ” SWEET AND MEATY”

MOMOFUKU KO

163 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003

(212) 500-0831

MOMOFUKU KO is David Chang’s answer to a Haute Cuisine Chef’s Table Downtown. It is my pick of the month, for New York fine cuisine set in a cool, rock-and-roll downtown atmosphere.





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