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Momofuku Ko – New York

December 4th, 2009 · No Comments

After it was lauded by the NY Times food critic, we had to go here to find out what the hype was all about. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this place or the food since the executive chef, David Chang, does not permit it. Take the address with you since this is a very unassuming place with just a small peach on the door. We actually walked (almost ran) by it twice before we finally found it – all sweaty – since we speedwalked/ran there because we were late and feared they would give up our hard-won reservation. Reservations are absolutely required here although it did not stop a few hopeful couples from dropping by to see if they could snag a table. Reservations for one of the 12 stools at the long wooden bar open up exactly a week in advance at 10am EST and it is often full in a full minutes. There are 2 dinner seatings so if possible I would try for the later seating since we felt a bit rushed with the earlier seating. The lunch reservations open up 2 weeks in advance but are also difficult to obtain. Basically, you have to open up an account with the momofuku website and then visit the website daily to try to get one of these highly-sought reservations. If there are no reservations the first time you log on – try re-loading the page – sometimes you get lucky and a spot opens up. You should have your credit card ready since it is required to hold the reservation (and they will charge you if you cancel the reservation without enough notice) and you only have limited time to secure the reservation – there is actually a time counter on the site counting down the time for you.

The head chef and his 2 assistants work behind the counter and everyone gets ringside seating of the cooking and can interact with the chefs. The music – rock – was a bit loud and not to everyone’s taste – for us, it just made it a little hard to hear the names of the dishes we were being served.

The decor is simple and service is basically by the people cooking your food as well as the 2 front staff. The food is what people come here to experience. The two best dishes were the reisling jelly, pine nut brittle, lychee and shredded torchon of foie gras Hudson Valley, and the lightly smoked soft boiled egg with caviar. The worst dish was the monkfish with sea urchin and spicy seafood broth since we found that the spicy seafood broth was so strong that it overpowered the fish and sea urchin. The rest of the dishes were good including the daikon ravioli stuffed with caramelized onion or oxtail in oxtail consomme, venison with huckleberry and celeriac whipped cream, chichirron with black pepper buiscuit and red cabbage soup, spice white wine sorbet with asian pear, fall squash ice cream with goat cheesecake. The desserts were okay but I can’t say I really liked the fall squash ice cream or the spice wine sorbet. The menu tries to source local foods and it takes approximately 3 weeks to change any one of the dishes on the menu. The wine pairing is interesting including sake and sherry and generous, at least my dinner partner had a good buzz by the end of the dinner despite all the food.

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Momofuku Ko
163 1st Ave
New York, NY 10003
(212) 500-0831
Cost: $125 dinner (approx 2 hours) , $175 lunch (approx 3 hours), $95 wine pairing
Verdict: Reasonable price for the quality and amount of food, interesting wine pairing, difficult to get reservations

Tags: Asian · Japanese · New York

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