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weinoo

má pêche

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Last week I had dinner at má pêche...it was the 3rd or 4th time I've eaten there, and though I won't say it has gotten amazingly better over the course of the year since it opened, there were nonetheless a few dishes that I wouldn't mind having again.

Of course, almost anytime you have to go downstairs to dine, I find it a bit off-putting. And this room basically screams dull. It's just plain blah, but maybe that's just plain me. A seven-spice sour, a cocktail that's one of Don Lee's creations, was still on the menu, and it's still a nice way to start a meal here.

We started off with a fluke appetizer, five or six slices of very fresh fluke, served on a bed of sweet pea and basil puree, with puffed rice. A few items on the prix fixe menu looked good and everything is also available a la carte, so we chose the English pea soup with shrimp as another appetizer; it was fine though far from revelatory, as was the squid salad (fine, that is). Strangely, the veal chop I ordered was served with our appetizers, but I'm glad it came early, because it was dull, though I like the bed of polenta and mushrooms it was served with.

Our group's favorite dish of the night was probably the pork chop (OK - the corn we ordered as a side was pretty darn tasty too). This Bev Eggleston "chop" was humongous; the size of half a loin, which it might very well be. Served perfectly cooked, on the rare side of medium-rare as requested, it could easily feed 4 people. Our trio tried valiantly, and I still took half of it home for lunch (and dinner!) the next day. It's served alongside a whole slew of root vegetables, with some snap and English peas and a whole bunch of salt thrown in for good measure...

2011_07_18 Ma Peche Pork.jpg

A few desserts are offered in the restaurant now; we skipped those and took home some sweets from Milk Bar instead.

I can't say that there's any reason, any more, to rush uptown for má pêche. But if you're in the neighborhood, and looking for something a little different, it's a worthy option - I doubt it would even scare the parents.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Funny how we have such different tastes; I had two dinners at Ma Peche two weeks ago, and the first was so delicious, that my sister begged me to return with her for an encore (she wasn't with me for the first dinner, and was so jealous when I told her about what she had missed). I loved the peas soup with the shrimp, and I usually don't like pea soup at all. My sister adored the veal with polenta and mushrooms. We both loved the foie gras torchon which is sadly no longer on the menu. We also both loved the corn. The big hit was the chocolate dessert. When my sister first looked at it, she said she was too full. I told her to try it anyway. Bottom line: she put her arm around the chocolate dessert, and barely let me have a spoonful. Thank goodness I had eaten this fantastic dessert the previous night. Unfortunately, my sister doesn't eat pork, because I've been dying to try the sliced pork chop since it looks so yummy and it looks too plentiful for only me. Maybe I'll just have to have it myself with plenty of leftovers!

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Of course, almost anytime you have to go downstairs to dine, I find it a bit off-putting.

You can always sit at the bar, can't you? Or do they not let you if there's more than one person in your party?

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Of course, almost anytime you have to go downstairs to dine, I find it a bit off-putting.

You can always sit at the bar, can't you? Or do they not let you if there's more than one person in your party?

This was actually meant to be a sit down dinner, in the restaurant.

Besides the fact that one can always sit at the bar, do you find the food at all challenging, interesting, groundbreaking or even much better than you can get at a lot of other places?

Would you rather eat here than say, Rouge et Blanc?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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No and no.

But I do have to say that every time I eat at Ma Peche (which isn't often), it's always a little better than I'd remembered it.

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I find it kind of fascinating to watch the evolution of all the Momo places, as chefs come and chefs go and as the food sometimes gets worse and then gets better again.

Though I haven't been to Noodle Bar in a while and Ko in forever, má pêche (which has arguably one of the finer chefs to come out of the Chang tree), seems to me to be the least cutting edge, at this point in time, of all 4 restaurants. And the one I feel least likely to return to.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I would never have expected a restaurant in a Midtown hotel to be cutting edge. (How long did Paul Liebrandt last at Gilt again?)

What I thought Ma Peche would be was Chang's attempt at a "straight" restaurant. And given that Tien Ho is not only the best chef to have come out of Momofuku, but IMO one of the best chefs in New York period, I found that an interesting prospect indeed.

The disappointment is that, instead of Chang's take on a "straight" restaurant, they've given us something more like Ssam Bar Lite.

With Chef Ho running the kitchen, it could never be bad. And in truth it's very far from that. It just isn't particularly interesting.


Edited by Sneakeater (log)

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I don't know why anyone would say Tien Ho is one of the best chefs in nyc. My impression from seeing him work and in conversations with him was that's he's very old school product of the french system in ways I find both bad and good. Chang build his empire on imaginative cuisine that borrows from many different cultures. He was able to do that because of work horses like Tien Ho. His standards for quality are high, but it's no surprise to me that his food lacks something special. But what I do find surprising is that Chang wasn't able to produce a restaurant where 'straight' food was also something notable. This may serve as evidence of what he's best at. No twist, no dice ?

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I don't know why anyone would say Tien Ho is one of the best chefs in nyc. My impression from seeing him work and in conversations with him was that's he's very old school product of the french system. . . .

And why would that be a liability?

Chang build his empire on imaginative cuisine that borrows from many different cultures.

Ssäm Bar regulars say that Tien Ho was the very man who produced the imaginitive cuisine there, when it was at its height.

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But it isn't really "straight" food. That's the problem (or not, depending on how you look at it).

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