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BryanZ

Momofuku Ko (Part 1)

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Skipping the foie dish at Ko regardless of the altruistic reasons is a tragedy. When my dining companion offered me the rest of her dish last night because she couldn't finish it I felt like I'd won a Willy Wonka golden ticket.

OMIGOD, can I take your dining companion with me next time I go?

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When I was dining there on Monday, a gentleman next to me didn't eat oysters, so they replaced the oysters in the pork/oyster dish with a few pieces of smoked duck.  So it seems they will try to accommodate requests.

They presented the oyster dish to the guy sitting next to me the other night and he kind of hesitated and said "oh ... um ... oysters ... ok" to which chef asked "You aren't allergic or anything are you?" to which guy replied "um ... kind of but ... it's ok ..." at which point chef whisked away the dish and they made him the duck one.

You could tell that while they enjoy the press buzz they're getting they seem to want to try to avoid fatalities during their opening weeks.

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Skipping the foie dish at Ko regardless of the altruistic reasons is a tragedy. When my dining companion offered me the rest of her dish last night because she couldn't finish it I felt like I'd won a Willy Wonka golden ticket.

OMIGOD, can I take your dining companion with me next time I go?

Whichever of us can get the next reservation gets the spoils!!!


Edited by flinflon28 (log)

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A logistical question for those who have been. Does one cook take care of a set number of diners, making all of the dishes, as in at a sushi bar, or is the kitchen organized in a more traditional fashion with different stations responsible for various parts of each dish?

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A logistical question for those who have been.  Does one cook take care of a set number of diners, making all of the dishes, as in at a sushi bar, or is the kitchen organized in a more traditional fashion with different stations responsible for various parts of each dish?

Different stations were responsible for various parts of each dish.

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Yeah, it's sort of a hybrid model. There are three cooks behind the 14-seat counter. Each one is the relationship manager for a bloc of customers. So the guy at my end of the counter served me and the three or four people to my right. But the actual plating of the dishes follows various workflow patterns depending on where the components come from. For example our guy seemed to have all the cold stuff, so whenever sorbet needed to be plated or foie gras needed to be shaved over anybody's plate he did that.

I found that watching the cooks in action was a lot less of a spectacle than I expected or hoped for. It's not at all like hanging out on a regular restaurant-kitchen line, or even like it was watching the Noodle Bar cooks work in the previous incarnation of that space. There's a lot more actual cooking action when you watch the griddle cook at a diner. At Ko there's nobody back there flipping stuff in a saute pan or anything like that. The dishes have been designed for maximum advance prep-ability. So what you're watching, mostly, is late-stage finishing and plating. In the process of putting the kitchen front and center they actually made it less interesting.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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There has been a 9pm Wednesday reservation for 2 sitting there for like an hour now. Would somebody please take it?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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There has been a 9pm Wednesday reservation for 2 sitting there for like an hour now. Would somebody please take it?

GOT IT!!!


Edited by mjr_inthegardens (log)

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.

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At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.

This is great - I love the comraderie that Ko is bringing out in eGulleters!


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.

This is great - I love the comraderie that Ko is bringing out in eGulleters!

I couldn't agree more, since I actually just snagged that seat - I have no idea how, I first got error messages about 15 times. Jimk, thanks so much for the heads up. I really appreciate it, will report back.

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At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.

This is great - I love the comraderie that Ko is bringing out in eGulleters!

It's about time! This thread has been kind of a bitch fest... :wink:

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went last night with a friend, we were both blown away. there was some variety between our dishes. i requested that i not be served the egg in the egg dish.

all from memory, there may be some small details and order slightly wrong. it's just the simple comments:

2 amuses: chicharron and english muffin.

fluke sashimi / pork belly oyster - both really good.

scallop dish. really good.

foie gras - wow. blew me away. and i'm not a big foie gras fan. each of the previous 3 course (or 4 dishes) i could have multiple times and be real happy.

the egg / caviar dish. mine had tofu substituted instead of egg, which was a perfect choice - visually, texturally, and in compliment to the rest of the dish.

short ribs - he thought this was his least favorite dish, the interesting part; the worst dish here was still really solid.

miso soup / rice. this was my least favorite, then my friend mentioned this was probably meant as a palate cleanser. he was spot on, but to me, it was still a letdown compared to all the other shining stars i was eating.

pineapple sorbet / another sorbet. the other sorbet was much better than my pineapple one. i'm not a pineapple fan, so take that into account.

panna cotta / apple pie. mine was good, the apple pie was great.

things were served initially a little faster than i'd have liked, but it slowed down. it was neat to hear the callouts for each number. my friend kept saying "they're reading my mind" for the next dishes. the funny part, every time there was one of the split courses, 'his' was better than mine. but since we shared on those, it was all good.

there was a ribeye which was cooking after we had eaten, my friend was jealous for whoever was getting that served.

the wine / sake pairing went very nicely with the dishes. i am NOT a wine expert, and usually turn down pairings because i don't really appreciate most wines and their subtleties. meal was 85, wine pairing was 50.

i would definitely go again at some point in the future. if i can get lucky with reservations again. the person next to me asked if this was a once in a lifetime meal, and i said "i've had 1 or 2 others that were comparable", we talked briefly about how much we both love noodle bar and ssam bar, and how the food is so clean but cut perfectly, i said to him that it was simple but brilliant. and his reply? "simply brilliant. i like that".

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No doubt - like a family, we have fight (intensely) about it, and some of us (finally) realize that there's no use, we just learn to deal with it as best we can.

FYI, I'll be relying on these last minute reservation opening alerts when I plan my trip to NY later this spring.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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No doubt - like a family, we have fight (intensely) about it, and some of us (finally) realize that there's no use, we just learn to deal with it as best we can. 

FYI, I'll be relying on these last minute reservation opening alerts when I plan my trip to NY later this spring.

Good luck with that; I was just there for a week and was hoping to get in, but alas, to no avail. Maybe next time....Good thing there are so many other wonderful places to go!

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At this moment (10:43) there is an open 1-spot at Ko tonight at 6:45 looking for a good home.

This is great - I love the comraderie that Ko is bringing out in eGulleters!

I couldn't agree more, since I actually just snagged that seat - I have no idea how, I first got error messages about 15 times. Jimk, thanks so much for the heads up. I really appreciate it, will report back.

Glad you were able to get the reservation Daisy17! Can't wait to hear about it.

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I can't thank you enough for the tip, jimk.

So many of the other posts are really dead on, so I'm not going to repeat it all. My first post-amuse course was a peekytoe crab with something and something and wasabi. It was beautifully composed and flavorful, but not my favorite of the night. This means that I didn't get to try the fluke, which also means that I'm going to have to go back soon.

The smoked egg/caviar/fingerling potatoes/onions simultaneously stumped me and took my breath away. How does this dish work? Why are these things even together on the plate? Truly more than the sum of its parts. I would love to have been in the room when they came up with this dish.

My other favorite of the night was the shaved foie over lychee, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee. Holy crap. Again, the combination of flavors and textures was remarkable, inventive, delicious. This dish made me laugh.

I loved the short ribs and the scallop too. The apple pie was fantastic - again, enhanced by the toasted miso and sour cream ice cream which on their own were unremarkable. Together, delicious. I should add - there is a LOT of food. These are not timid portions.

The pace started off way too fast but slowed down about halfway through to comfortable. The two servers on the floor were friendly and helpful, and their suggestions for my abbreviated wine pairing were perfect. And boy do Serpico and Chang run a tight ship - the cooks are incredibly precise and focused. Maybe a little too focused? Many posters have noted that as the night went on they loosened up and were more talkative. That happened last night too, pretty much around dessert for me, and I would have loved for it to happen earlier. I didn't feel encouraged to ask questions and pretty much stopped after the first couple of dishes. I would have really enjoyed more information about what I was eating and how it was prepared. Luckily, a lovely and interesting couple sat down next to me and we had a great conversation.

In all, a fantastic experience.

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Johnder you have offically become Momofuku Ko's first regular..  :biggrin:

I think I might be on my way to becoming its second ... just randomly checked the web site to see if anything was open and grabbed a 2-top for tomorrow night. This will my second visit, both times secured on the web site fair and square. This will be our second dinner there in two weeks.

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Another really great meal at Ko on Saturday night. This was our second visit in two weeks and we were greeted as old friends (apparently there's someone who has managed to get in three times since the public opening). They were sure to give us a few new dishes so that was great ... we had a pre-amuse this time of fried ebi heads which was great, simple. The rest of the ebi showed up a couple of courses later with poppy seeds and grated frozen avacado. They gave us a new variation of the foie dish as well - instead of lychee, riesling gelee and pine nut brittle, this one was the grated foie over pickled grapes, apricot puree and cashew brittle. Sorbet course was lychee over cashew "sand" ... instead of the apple pie we got the cereal milk panna cotta with guacamole and chocolate which was wonderful and which is still evolving they said.

What else to mention ... there was a bit of a backlog for the second seating but the kitchen sent folks waiting lots of snacks so there were no complaints. I noticed they grilled some peppers for them, and I saw another group got the english muffin and pork fat served with bacon and egg which looked incredible.

We didn't do wine pairing this time but instead ordered a bottle of kabinet riesling off the list that went well with most courses, supplemented with a small pour of the rioja to go with the short rib course.

Chang was there for much of the evening helping out with service and chatting with guests.

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The smoked egg/caviar/fingerling potatoes/onions simultaneously stumped me and took my breath away.  How does this dish work? Why are these things even together on the plate?  Truly more than the sum of its parts.  I would love to have been in the room when they came up with this dish.

Daisy17, can you explain your reaction to this dish a bit more? I liked this dish quite a lot, but I'm not sure why it's not just Momofuku's interpretation of some fairly obvious combos (eggs, caviar, potatoes, onions). I think they've managed to innovate the form of those items in a great way- and the purple vinegar is delicious- but I can't really understand the stumped reaction. Did you like it more than the Jean Georges egg or the L'Arpege egg, for example?

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None of the components of the dish, although executed beautifully, could have prepared me for how amazing they were together and how well they played off each other. That's all. While I can't say that caviar and potatoes or egg and onions are unique, some of the preparations were interesting (the potatoes notably). The components individually did not move me, but together (and all in each bite) they were transcendent. (And I have issues with eggs, which I luckily managed to completely get over by 6:45 last sunday night.)

The onions reminded me of the onions Ratner's used to serve with the pierogen. That might be the oddest part of what I have to say about the dish. (ETA: this is a compliment.)


Edited by daisy17 (log)

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