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.

Momofuku Ko (Part 1)


BryanZ
 Share

Recommended Posts

Initially we didn't want to go for the wine pairing and as we were discussing the alternatives (which included picking a few half bottles) the server told us she would do her best to pick something for us but if we wanted alcohol with the meal the wine pairing really was the way to go, in her words "if you're going to do it you should just go for it."  She was 100% correct.  We were happy with all the pairings and it was great to get a few glasses of sake, the beer, and the carbonated sherry at the end -- all of which we would have missed out on.  Halfway through the meal she asked us how the pairing was going and we expressed our delight, she then told us if we had gone the other route it would have undoubtedly been more expensive and not nearly as satisfying which I thought was a pretty candid admission.

We had the wine pairings too (the $85 version) and thought they were terrific. I am not so sure about the last statement, however. There are plenty of boottles on the list below $50, and tons below $100. Since the cheapest wine pairing is $50 per head, I can't see how ordering individual bottles would "undoubtedly" be more expensive.

I do agree that the pairings are better, especially as the staff here are doing such a good job with them. But a pairing is undoubtedly more expensive, not less.

I was wondering about that myself. I was quoting her statement. I guess she would have picked very expensive wines for us, haha.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if you guys saw this, but Bruni finally got in:

http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/200...rs-the-hen-egg/

It's not a real review, he mostly complains about calling the egg a "hen egg", which I thought was a little silly and the explanation he got makes perfect sense.

I guess while I'm posting I'll add a couple thoughts from when I went. From reading this forum, I found out about the debut of the res system (Thanks Fat Guy) and was lucky enough to get an 8:45 res on the first friday after friends and family. But then a few days before that day, I got a call from them saying there was a bug and they had double books some slots somehow. I continued to listen with dread, but luckily they were not canceling me outright, but just asking if I wouldn't mind giving up that spot for a spot the following week that hadn't gone online yet. So to help them out I went the following Thursday. I was definitely nervous that something would go wrong and my res would get lost, especially since I didn't have an email confirmation, but they were ready for us when we showed up.

And obviously it was awesome. Especially the foie. (Which I got to eat half of my wife's since she's not a big foie fan, silly woman, but good for me. although I often get jealous comments at communal tasting dinners like the when my neighbor notices.)

There was one dish we received which I hadn't seen mentioned anywhere yet. My wife's also not a big scallop eater, which we usually point out before the meal so they sub something else. We did ask the server if they'd adjust the menus for things like that she doesn't like, but we were not sure that Ko was equipped to do that, so were not offended when the server who sat us told us it was a set menu and they couldn't switch it up. So looks like I'd have to make the sacrifice and eat her scallop too. But then after that course, the chef had noticed she didn't eat it, so he offered her an extra course. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was a nicely seared white fish (sea bass)? topped with Uni in a broth. And it was really good.

Ed aka Wordsmithing Pantagruel

Food, Cocktails, Travels, and miscellany on my blog:

http://www.wordsmithingpantagruel.com/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have secured the elusive on-line reservation. (On the first try!) Going this Sunday and I had to share it here, because no one else gets how truly exciting this is. For real... I had heart palpitations when I saw I got in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not a real review, he mostly complains about calling the egg a "hen egg", which I thought was a little silly and the explanation he got makes perfect sense.
Not so much a complaint...just an observation. By the way, Bruni hardly ever makes a substantive comment about a restaurant he intends to review. This used to be common when the Diner's Journal was a print column. After it became a blog, Bruni decided to use it mostly for general comments about the industry.
My wife's also not a big scallop eater, which we usually point out before the meal so they sub something else.  We did ask the server if they'd adjust the menus for things like that she doesn't like, but we were not sure that Ko was equipped to do that, so were not offended when the server who sat us told us it was a set menu and they couldn't switch it up.  So looks like I'd have to make the sacrifice and eat her scallop too.  But then after that course, the chef had noticed she didn't eat it, so he offered her an extra course.  I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was a nicely seared white fish (sea bass)? topped with Uni in a broth.  And it was really good.

The policy seems to be evolving. The server asked us if we had any dietary restrictions, and sure enough, my girlfriend doesn't eat scallops. For that course, they prepared a soft-shell crab dish and a scallop dish. They actually gave her the latter, but we swapped plates. It wasn't an exception for that course. About half the time, she and I received different items. Edited by oakapple (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shit totally forgot to get my momo on today.. Any chance there is still a spot open? I dont mean to sound like an elitist but is there some way I can use money or influence to step over you roaches..

Edited by Daniel (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shit totally forgot to get my momo on today.. Any chance there is still a spot open?  I dont mean to sound like an elitist but is there some way I can use money or influence to step over you roaches..

Show up as a walk in with Robuchon and you'll be golden.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How long the whole meal takes at KO? Based on available seats on KO website, the earliest seat is available at 6pm and looks like next round of seats open at 8:10pm.

Is it fair to assume the whole meal takes 2 hours?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One needs to be reminded occasionally what the word "extraordinary" means, lest it be confused with what is merely excellent. I was reminded of this last night, when my girlfriend and I dined at L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (review here).

Momofuku Ko and L'Atelier are in many ways comparable. They both feature counter dining and an emphasis on "small plates," though L'Atelier has table seating too. Chang has acknowledged a debt to Robuchon, and even admitted that he would make an exception to Ko's egalitarian reservation system if the French chef dropped in.

It's especially striking that when Adam Platt reviewed L'Atelier, he said that the food was worth four stars, but he subtracted a star for ambiance. But there were no demerits for Momofuku Ko, to which he awarded four stars, even though Ko is, in every respect, less comfortable and less pleasant than L'Atelier.

What David Chang does, and that Joël Robuchon unquestionably does not do, is to make an approximation of top-tier cuisine available at what seem to be plebian prices. Ko's tasting menu (the only option offered) is $85, while it is $190 at L'Atelier. But L'Atelier also offers a wide variety à la carte, such that you could probably visit half-a-dozen times and make different selections each visit, without exhausting the possibilities. At Ko, you will have seen just about everything after a couple of visits.

We did not order the tasting menu at L'Atelier. Our dinner there for two was $475, while at Ko it was $447. (A higher food bill at L'Atelier was somewhat offset by a higher wine bill at Ko.)

I suspect that there isn't much overlap between Ko and Atelier patrons, and this produces a version of the Zagat problem: the people giving Di Fara in Brooklyn a 27 food rating aren't the same ones giving L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon the identical 27 food rating. (I use DiFara because we don't yet have a Zagat rating for Ko, though you can predict it will be pretty high up there.)

Ko is, of course, cheaper than L'Atelier, but the capabilities of the kitchen are proportionately lower. Excellence costs money.

This rant is not meant to take anything away from Momofuku Ko. It is a wonderful restaurant. But it has to be said that what Chang is doing — as good as it is, and as much as we enjoy it — is a whole order of magnitude below what the best restaurants are capable of.

Edited by oakapple (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This rant is not meant to take anything away from Momofuku Ko. It is a wonderful restaurant. But it has to be said that what Chang is doing — as good as it is, and as much as we enjoy it — is a whole order of magnitude below what the best restaurants are capable of.

So, Ko is "ghetto fabulous" and L'Atelier is "haute couture", but they each have their own merits

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what happened to the 10:00+ resi slots at Ko?  only see 9:15 latest now.

I had post 10:00 resy last night. New & notable item on the menu is a pasta course involving snails, mushrooms, ramps, asparagus, and a ricotta "milk" with dried broccoli rabe blossoms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sort of a review in the Wall Street Journal today by a reporter who snagged a reservation at Ko. She had pretty much the same take on the service situation that I did:

We loved watching the cooks, led by chef Peter Serpico, bustle about the kitchen just inches from our disposable chopsticks, but they exhibited little of the friendliness that many sushi chefs in similar arrangements have. . . . . [A]t Ko, the cooks set down our dishes with perfunctory explanations, and answered questions with a distinct "Don't talk to us more than necessary" air. Mr. Serpico also cut a slightly intimidating swath, sharply punctuating the air with instructions such as, "Two foie for five-six!" Entertaining as it was to hear us referred to as "five-six," it wore a little thin after a while.

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)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ate here last night and was blown away. I found the whole 2.5+ hour experience very very memorable. The food, the drinks, and the service were all great. I don't know, but being served by the chefs even if they didn't crack too many smiles was fine with me. Of course, David Chang was behind the counter all night which made it even better (the NYT was there taking pictures - Bruni's review will be out next Wednesday). They had a newish course of "lasagna" with mushrooms, ricotta salata and fried broccoli rabe flowers, a bright green spring pea soup with morrels (amazing) and crawfish, grilled trout and a ham/bacon puree and a different scallop dish than in the past - it featured what seemed like serano ham, caviar and was delicious. Least favorite dishes, the kimchi consommé and pork belly and the trout, both were still good just not great.

All fantastic, best meal I've had in recent memory hands down.

always-eating.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course, David Chang was behind the counter all  night which made it even better (the NYT was there taking pictures - Bruni's review will be out next Wednesday).

Been there twice and haven't seen a trace of Chang either time so it shouldn't be taken for granted that he'll always be there...especially behind the counter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh definitely, it was a great experience for him to be there and I am aware that it is not always the case. He was there for the NYTimes photoshoot and even told us he is in the restaurant maybe 1-2 a week with everything else going on in his life/career.

always-eating.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*headdesk* I have a reservation for tomorrow at 6:40 and now my husband says he can't go ...

I think God just doesn't want me to go to Ko.

Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apparently Gael Greene is free.

Haha, I'd take Gael Greene any day! At this point I'm seriously going through my phone asking people I haven't seen since high school . Le sigh!

Elizabeth Licata

Will eat for food

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...