Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

BryanZ

Momofuku Ko (Part 1)

Recommended Posts

actually, the menu seems to change somewhat automatically for second-time visitors.

I was getting different courses than the people next to me.

That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started?

I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers.

I got the foie dish. but, no, the dishes come as they come. a little bit to the consternation of the young lady seated next to me when I received the pea soup while she had the kimchi consomme...

I'm going back soon so we'll see what happens then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm coming out again next week and will be trying to get in. Preferably Tuesday or Wednesday, but I'm sure we'd take anything that comes up. Keep yer fingers crossed!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
He wanted to be the first major-media critic to review the place.

He normally does that anyway (unless you consider RestaurantGirl "major").

RG wrote up Momofuku Ko? I can't find it. Who'd she fellate to get the res?

no, it's just that usually she's first.

Sutton and Platt have been the only Ko reviews so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sutton and Platt have been the only Ko reviews so far.

This raises an interesting question, best discussed on the reviewing topic not here. The question is: what's a review? If a mediocre writer like Platt writes a first-impressions piece about Ko, does it magically become a review by virtue of being in New York Magazine (or on its website)? What about Ruth Reichl's piece on the Gourmet blog? What about all the detailed, heavily photographed reports on various websites (this one included)? What makes something a review or not a review?


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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sutton and Platt have been the only Ko reviews so far.

This raises an interesting question, best discussed on the reviewing topic not here. The question is: what's a review? If a mediocre writer like Platt writes a first-impressions piece about Ko, does it magically become a review by virtue of being in New York Magazine (or on its website)? What about Ruth Reichl's piece on the Gourmet blog? What about all the detailed, heavily photographed reports on various websites (this one included)? What makes something a review or not a review?

That's funny, because reading this and the Bruni thread makes me wonder, why are there so many people reviewing the reviews??? I just take the reviews in context. My classic example is that Bruni just will never get Japanese food, and that makes reading his japanese reviews a lot more helpful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sutton and Platt have been the only Ko reviews so far.

The question is: what's a review? If a mediocre writer like Platt writes a first-impressions piece about Ko, does it magically become a review by virtue of being in New York Magazine (or on its website)? What about Ruth Reichl's piece on the Gourmet blog? What about all the detailed, heavily photographed reports on various websites (this one included)? What makes something a review or not a review?

They are all "reviews" (though Ruth might try to claim that she's no longer a reviewer). My objection is that if your usual standard is that a review is based on a minimum of three visits, you shouldn't relax that standard for one restaurant, especially when the reason given is patent nonsense.

Sutton customarily is the first critic out of the gate, often the very week of opening. What he did with Ko is what he does everywhere, and I therefore don't have a problem with it.

You could also argue that New York, with its searchable restaurant database, is aiming for its reviews to have longer shelf lives. Therefore, a restaurant review receiving almost the highest rating Platt has ever given out shouldn't be the one written in the greatest haste, and with the least care.


Edited by oakapple (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm coming out again next week and will be trying to get in.  Preferably Tuesday or Wednesday, but I'm sure we'd take anything that comes up.  Keep yer fingers crossed!!

Good luck with that!

I also have a bridge to sell you if you are interested....

Easy....! I'm looking for the good mojo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

actually, the menu seems to change somewhat automatically for second-time visitors.

I was getting different courses than the people next to me.

That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started?

I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers.

I had the same experience - on our second visit they greeted us with a "welcome back" and said they'd chatted during the afternoon to make sure we got some different stuff. We got a variation on the foie dish, with pickled grapes and cashew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Platt has it equal with Per Se at four stars.

I prefer Ko to Per Se ... told Chang as much and he strenuously disagreed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The experience at Per Se is superior to the experience at Momofuku Ko by several orders of magnitude. But the food at Momofuku Ko is as good as any food anywhere. Execution is not quite up to Per Se standards yet but, in Ko's favor, the food at Ko is a lot more interesting than the food at Per Se.


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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sutton and Platt have been the only Ko reviews so far.

This raises an interesting question, best discussed on the reviewing topic not here. The question is: what's a review? If a mediocre writer like Platt writes a first-impressions piece about Ko, does it magically become a review by virtue of being in New York Magazine (or on its website)? What about Ruth Reichl's piece on the Gourmet blog? What about all the detailed, heavily photographed reports on various websites (this one included)? What makes something a review or not a review?

Platt gave it stars and it will show up in the NY Mag review archive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The experience at Per Se is superior to the experience at Momofuku Ko by several orders of magnitude.

It's all subjective ... I've been to both restaurants twice and found the experience at Ko better both times. We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible. Bad enough that that experience combined with the steadily climbing prices has kept us from going back. For me, being able to engage directly with the chefs makes the Ko experience preferable to me. Agree that Per Se's execution is more consistent but on the whole I'd take dinner at Ko over dinner at Per Se any time even when someone else is paying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's all subjective ... I've been to both restaurants twice and found the experience at Ko better both times. We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible.

It's subjective...but then again, it isn't. There's a sufficient body of responsible criticism about Per Se to state as a fact that "downright terrible" service there is exceedingly rare.

Unless David Chang has managed to overcome human nature — which is that both people and perceptions are fallible — you'll eventually have reports of "downright terrible" service at Ko, too. Per Se has had four years for them to accumulate (and very few have), while Ko has had four weeks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's all subjective ... I've been to both restaurants twice and found the experience at Ko better both times. We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible.

It's subjective...but then again, it isn't. There's a sufficient body of responsible criticism about Per Se to state as a fact that "downright terrible" service there is exceedingly rare.

Unless David Chang has managed to overcome human nature — which is that both people and perceptions are fallible — you'll eventually have reports of "downright terrible" service at Ko, too. Per Se has had four years for them to accumulate (and very few have), while Ko has had four weeks.

No actually, it's subjective. Period. Someone else can find the experience to be superior at Per Se and someone else can find the experience to be better at Ko. Neither is wrong if both are basing their conclusions on our own experience. I don't care what the body of criticism says about either place - reviews help me decide whether to go to a restaurant, they don't tell me after I've eaten there whether I was rightly or wrongly satisfied (or dissatisfied) by the experience. There were aspects of the service at Per Se that rubbed me the wrong way that I know weren't about human error, but about how they run the place (e.g. agressive upselling on the wine, bringing the check before I asked for it). I just know that at Ko I feel happy and at Per Se ... well ... less so ... isn't that what we're talking about when we talk about "the experience"?

I guess I just don't know how anyone could say the experience at restaurant A is objectively better than the experience at restaurant B any more than someone could say that Monet is objectively better than Jackson Pollak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

but someone can say that Monet is objectively better than the stick figures I draw.

just because something is partially subjective doesn't make it entirely so.

Per Se is objectively better than Chuck E. Cheese. Period.

in four years we'll have the data necessary to compare Per Se and Ko. maybe the differences will be close enough to make it entirely subjective (Rousseau v. Toulouse-Latrec), maybe they will be broad enough to render a somewhat objective judgment.

aesthetics (of which food is a part) are not immune to objective judgments, it's just that there's plenty of inherent subjectivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

or put differently, like most thing, it's a mixed bag.

Per Se is objectively more comfortable than Ko (whether it's warmer is a separate matter). it's objectively more in the traditional mode of fine dining service. whether Per Se performs well in that traditional mode is a matter best measured by a large aggregate number of experiences. same thing for kitchen consistency. whether you prefer the style of service at Per Se, or whether you prefer the style of food, are both subjective matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
but someone can say that Monet is objectively better than the stick figures I draw.

just because something is partially subjective doesn't make it entirely so.

Per Se is objectively better than Chuck E. Cheese.  Period.

in four years we'll have the data necessary to compare Per Se and Ko.  maybe the differences will be close enough to make it entirely subjective (Rousseau v. Toulouse-Latrec), maybe they will be broad enough to render a somewhat objective judgment.

aesthetics (of which food is a part) are not immune to objective judgments, it's just that there's plenty of inherent subjectivity.

Well, Ko isn't Chuck E Cheese and it's not a stick figure. Keith Haring did pretty well for himself with stick figures but they weren't really my thing.

And actually we were talking about "the experience" at one versus the other. And there isn't one experience. I have my experience and you have yours. My 8 year old niece may declare the Chuck E. Cheese experience far superior to Per Se, and she'll be right because she's talking about her experience. I bet she'd like Ko though now that I think about it.

Put another way, if you made 1000 people listen to Pachabel's Canon, followed by Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, and all 1000 say the Pachabel is more pleasing that doesn't make the classical piece objectively more pleasing - it just summarizes the subjective views of 1000 people.

Anyway, my point was merely that s soon as we start comparing the "experience" we're putting it in the world of the subjective because we're talking about some individual person's experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put another way, using the criteria for service, decor and ambience that are generally understood as the underlying assumptions of consumers who dine at a variety of top-tier restaurants, Per Se is a superior restaurant to Ko by several orders of magnitude in every regard (except the food). Its of course possible for an individual to prefer a given experience -- plenty of people prefer the Ssam Bar experience to the Per Se experience too, or the brasserie experience to the Michelin-three-star experience -- just as it's possible for an individual to prefer just about any experience to any other.


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)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyway, my point was merely that s soon as we start comparing the "experience" we're putting it in the world of the subjective because we're talking about some individual person's experience.

You are perfectly entitled to say that the whole "style of experience" at Ko appeals to you more than Per Se. You'd have a lot of company, just as the folks who prefer Heavy Metal to Beethoven have a lot of company.

You are not entitled to say (and expect to be taken seriously) that the service at Per Se is "downright terrible". You can say that you personally had an experience that struck you that way, but most of us would conclude that that that experience was grossly atypical of the restaurant's usual performance.

I think it was docsconz or slkinsey who once said (on an EG thread) that you may enjoy Salieri better than Mozart, but you can't say that Salieri actually is better than Mozart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Anyway, my point was merely that s soon as we start comparing the "experience" we're putting it in the world of the subjective because we're talking about some individual person's experience.

You are perfectly entitled to say that the whole "style of experience" at Ko appeals to you more than Per Se. You'd have a lot of company, just as the folks who prefer Heavy Metal to Beethoven have a lot of company.

You are not entitled to say (and expect to be taken seriously) that the service at Per Se is "downright terrible". You can say that you personally had an experience that struck you that way, but most of us would conclude that that that experience was grossly atypical of the restaurant's usual performance.

I think it was docsconz or slkinsey who once said (on an EG thread) that you may enjoy Salieri better than Mozart, but you can't say that Salieri actually is better than Mozart.

Actually, I didn't say that the service at Per Se is downright terrible. I said: "We've never had really outstanding service at Per Se and our last visit there service was downright terrible." And the service I was referring to was the service we experienced, not the service in general, which I think should have been pretty clear.

I think I posted a review of that dinner somewhere here on this site and others seemed to agree that we had experienced bad service, urged me to write a letter (which I did), etc. etc. etc.

And I agree with docsconz or whomever that you can't say Salieri actually is better than Mozart ... by extension, you also can't say Salieri is objectively worse as a factual matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

actually, the menu seems to change somewhat automatically for second-time visitors.

I was getting different courses than the people next to me.

That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started?

I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers.

I had the same experience - on our second visit they greeted us with a "welcome back" and said they'd chatted during the afternoon to make sure we got some different stuff. We got a variation on the foie dish, with pickled grapes and cashew.

I've been to Ko four times and, in my experience, they are very aware of repeat diners. (On at least three of my visits, other diners there were also repeat visitors.)

This is what I have observed about menu variations. It appears that there are no alternatives (and only minimal variation) for the already-classic dishes -- the egg and caviar, the shaved foie gras, the deep-fried short-ribs. For a couple of the other courses, there appear to be standard alternatives. Although the staff will try to give repeat diners alternates they have not previously had, the alternates are not limited to repeat diners. Often, for a couple, one person will get one dish and the second person the other.

More specifically--

With respect the amuses, if they have something special, it may be offered as a third amuse, but it is offered to everyone there -- not just repeat diners.

Of the six main savory courses, there appear to be standard alternates for two courses and a variant on a third.

1) The standard fluke with buttermilk alternates with a dish of shrimp and grated, frozen avocado.

2) The kimichi consomme/pork belly/oyster alternates with a spring pea soup containing a tofu canelloni filled with trumpet mushrooms and, at times, topped with either lobster or crayfish.

3) As noted above, the shaved foie gras is sometimes prepared with grapes and cashew brittle, instead of the standard lychee and pine nut brittle.

The "palate cleanser" of miso soup/pickled vegetables/grilled rice cake remains constant.

The pre-dessert is one of an assortment of sorbets.

The dessert is either the deep fried apple pie or the cereal milk panna cotta, although on one occasion I was served a deep-fried strawberry rhubarb pie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

actually, the menu seems to change somewhat automatically for second-time visitors.

I was getting different courses than the people next to me.

That's pretty remarkable. Did you have any say in that before the meal started?

I'll be pretty chapped next week if I don't get the foie dish I had on my first visit but it's being offered to first timers.

I had the same experience - on our second visit they greeted us with a "welcome back" and said they'd chatted during the afternoon to make sure we got some different stuff. We got a variation on the foie dish, with pickled grapes and cashew.

I've been to Ko four times and, in my experience, they are very aware of repeat diners. (On at least three of my visits, other diners there were also repeat visitors.)

This is what I have observed about menu variations. It appears that there are no alternatives (and only minimal variation) for the already-classic dishes -- the egg and caviar, the shaved foie gras, the deep-fried short-ribs. For a couple of the other courses, there appear to be standard alternatives. Although the staff will try to give repeat diners alternates they have not previously had, the alternates are not limited to repeat diners. Often, for a couple, one person will get one dish and the second person the other.

More specifically--

With respect the amuses, if they have something special, it may be offered as a third amuse, but it is offered to everyone there -- not just repeat diners.

Of the six main savory courses, there appear to be standard alternates for two courses and a variant on a third.

1) The standard fluke with buttermilk alternates with a dish of shrimp and grated, frozen avocado.

2) The kimichi consomme/pork belly/oyster alternates with a spring pea soup containing a tofu canelloni filled with trumpet mushrooms and, at times, topped with either lobster or crayfish.

3) As noted above, the shaved foie gras is sometimes prepared with grapes and cashew brittle, instead of the standard lychee and pine nut brittle.

The "palate cleanser" of miso soup/pickled vegetables/grilled rice cake remains constant.

The pre-dessert is one of an assortment of sorbets.

The dessert is either the deep fried apple pie or the cereal milk panna cotta, although on one occasion I was served a deep-fried strawberry rhubarb pie.

That's a whole lot of great information from someone who's been a member of eGullet for less than an hour! Thanks and welcome to eG!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of the fluke I had a crab/avocado dish, the details of which I couldn't catch.

On my visit, I asked one of the people working on the floor (not really servers, not really hostesses . . . ? ) if they were doing the apple pie, and she said it was that or the panna cotta and asked which I preferred to have. She couldn't have been any nicer about it, or about any of my other questions that night. I think that if there's a dish you want to make sure you get they will be happy to do that for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...