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Momofuku Ko (Part 2)


Fat Guy
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No words from the staff, and seemingly no expiration date indicated on each onigiri?

Now I really wonder about the attitude of the staff and that of the management, who are supposed to train them. I'm almost speechless!

Yes, No words at all. It was placed on the table but clearly it's for us, so we took them. Yes, no expiring date indicated nor what temperature it should be kept. I did mention in the letter maybe there's a training issue.

Haha, you are speechless... look at me, paid $546 a lunch for two! ($175 Lunch X 2 + $95 one beverage pairing + $6 water + $40 tax + $55 tips) Then at least 1 hr to write up the 2-page lettter! That's why I said, I had disappointing meals in my life but still glad that I tried them, but this is the first time I actually regret of going!

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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Perhaps, because Chang has subtracted so much, people are now conditioned to be surprised to find ordinary comforts and courtesies that existed at other comparably priced restaurants, long before there ever was a Momofuku.

He's sneaky, that Chang. I wonder if his next concept will be having the customer pay to cook and serve his/her own dinner.

Seriously, though, if I had the experience FDE had, I'd be pissed off as well. There is NO WAY that someone who dines there multiple times isn't treated better than the one-off.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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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And you got a gift of onigiri as you were leaving Ko? Didn't happen when I was there.

The onigiri is given at the end of the lunch only (along with the jar of pickled vegetables). Ko started the gift of the onigiri at lunch earlier this year. Uhockey had reported about this in his blog, and I said "hey, I never got this". Sure enough when I returned to Ko for lunch in the spring, I received the onigiri too.

Oops, I totally forgot about the jar of pickled veggies I got when I went for lunch, apologies.

And I should mention that whenever the check is brought (but for that one Le Bernardin time), it was with a extended thank you (and at PerSe and at lunch at Ko, with a food treat farewell).

I had dinner tonight at Momofuku Ko, and as usual, I had a wonderful dining experience....

12) White chocolate dusted with pea and mint powder

Ooo, they all sound wonderful but I wanna hear more about this, I'm a white chocolate slave!!

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He's sneaky, that Chang. I wonder if his next concept will be having the customer pay to cook and serve his/her own dinner.

Haha… a bit off topic but funny and great idea! I can imagine David Chang saying: “Since I am passionate about food, I want all my dear diners to be as passionate as me. So, what’s better than cooking your own food! “Momofuku Self-Serve” is a professional kitchen where I will have all the ingredients ready along with my prestigious cookbook for you to use (but not to take home). Just enjoy cooking for yourself. There is a cell phone (cheaper than using blackberry) in the kitchen, so just text me if you run into problems and I will get someone to answer your questions as I will probably be traveling around the world (looking for better ingredients for my dear diners of course). The best part is you get to eat your own cooking afterward. Don’t worry, I will supply you with pairs of wooden chopsticks (it’s recyclable not because it’s cheap). For such a special dining experience, only 8 seats are available daily and only $200 per head.” :laugh:

Mitch, you can write a proposal to him. Since he has that many fans, he should be able to fill those 8 seats for at least six months. No chef, no server, not even a dining room, just a small kitchen for customers to cook and eat since his fans have lower priority on the dining room, cutlery, or service even at that high price.

Then there will be people like us saying it is a rip-off, but there will be MORE people saying it is the best kitchen to cook, where is a better place to meet passionate foodies and fans of David Chang, and they will say we are totally missing the point of “Momofuku Self-Serve”!

Sorry for being off-topic, but I think Mitch’s idea isn’t bad at all.

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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FDE, your Chang-hating is showing...

Seriously, I would be more inclined to believe you if it wasn't obvious that you dislike the man, based on your last post. If you didn't enjoy your meal at Ko, so be it. Chang-hating should not figure into your observations; your objectivity just went out the window. You are entitled to your opinions, and the other posters are entitled to theirs. The comments do not have to be negative, on either side of the divide.

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Actually, there is one izakaya, probably only one of its kind, in Tokyo, Japan, with a similar concept.

You first order drinks, which are offered for every low prices, and then you make your own dishes in the kichen.

The name of the izakaya is Seihin (lit. Chastity and Poverty). Customers spend 1,500 to 2,000 yen, including drinks, on average per head, and leave the space with a full stomach (and a happy face).

If you want to look inside the izakaya, here are some links:

http://nylongirls.jp/topics/2010/06/seihin.html

where a pretty girl reports on this amasing izakaya.

Another report:

Part 1:

http://portal.nifty.com/2010/03/31/b/

Part 2:

http://portal.nifty.com/2010/03/31/b/2.htm

Sorry, they are in Japanese only, and sorry for getting off topic!

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I think FDE said that he enjoyed his other meals at Chang's restaurant though not at Ko. I appreciated FDE's making fun of Chang's philosophy that Ko is just about the food. I find that approach to be ridiculous.

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FDE, your Chang-hating is showing...

Seriously, I would be more inclined to believe you if it wasn't obvious that you dislike the man, based on your last post. If you didn't enjoy your meal at Ko, so be it. Chang-hating should not figure into your observations; your objectivity just went out the window. You are entitled to your opinions, and the other posters are entitled to theirs. The comments do not have to be negative, on either side of the divide.

Think about it, if I hate Chang, why would I even go to Momofuku KO?! I like his other creations and that’s why I went but I had a bad experience there! So your idea that my experience is not objective because of "Chang-hating" is wrong!

But wow, taking a side joke that seriously?! Calm down man. Mitch started, I expanded, and you extrapolated further and calling me “Chang-hating”!! You probably didn’t read through everything, I mentioned in the posts and in my blog, (and to all my friends as well) that Chang is a genius and his creation of Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar is really one of the most relaxed and delicious meals I had. So please do NOT take things out of the context and label “Chang-hating” based on one paragraph!!! Equally, if you want to take things out of context, you can call me “Chang-loving” solely based on my opinion on Ssam and Noodle bar!

And if there is a “Momofuku Self-Serve”, I really wouldn't mind giving it a try. Jokes aside, if David is going to create a cooking class/school, it will be a unique one!

Anyone can share their experience here and you can choose to believe it or not. There were two more serious incidents/attitude examples during our meal that I found them disgusting but I chose to not mention them in Egullet. I excluded them in order to give you a more objective opinion because I believe those are one-time incident/error! I only mentioned them in my compliant letter.

Just to summarize above and to reply The Food Doc's statement, "Chang-hating should not figure into your observations". First, "Chang-hating" didn't exist and second, if anything, I already gave them the benefit of the two one-time errors!

I think FDE said that he enjoyed his other meals at Chang's restaurant though not at Ko. I appreciated FDE's making fun of Chang's philosophy that Ko is just about the food. I find that approach to be ridiculous.

Thanks Sethd of understanding that it is just a joke on the philosophy!

Edited by FDE (log)

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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You say joke, I call it sarcasm. Either way, thou protest too much. Chang-bashers eat at his restaurants just as Chang-lovers do; they just eat there for different reasons. Again, you are entitled to your opinions, as I am mine. I wish you well.

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I really don't think many people who dislike Change or his dining philosophy would be willing to spend $250pp for the "minimilist dining experience" offered at KO. Considering I can eat better for much less (and get a whole lot more)at Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, The Modern, and even Per Se, i don't plan on journeying to Ko anytime soon.

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A few thoughts about Momofuku Ko:

Momofuku can't mean lucky peach. It means peach luck.

Momo = Peach

Fuku = Luck

To mean lucky peach, it has to be changed to fukumomo.

cf. Fuku mochi = Lucky rice cake

Note that Momofuku in Momofuku Ando, who was the inventor of instant ramen, means one hundred lucks.

Momo = One hundred

Ko means child(ren) in Japanese, not "son of".

Thus, kinoko (ki = tree(s) + no = 's + ko = child(ren)) means mushroom.

I'm still interested to know more about the onigiri (and the pickle) given as a gift. Is it considered by Momofuku Ko as an extension of the lunch? Or, is it just a product of the whim of the chefs? What are the ingredients? What rice variety? Is the flavor always the same?

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A few thoughts about Momofuku Ko:

Momofuku can't mean lucky peach. It means peach luck.

Momo = Peach

Fuku = Luck

To mean lucky peach, it has to be changed to fukumomo.

cf. Fuku mochi = Lucky rice cake

Note that Momofuku in Momofuku Ando, who was the inventor of instant ramen, means one hundred lucks.

Momo = One hundred

Ko means child(ren) in Japanese, not "son of".

Thus, kinoko (ki = tree(s) + no = 's + ko = child(ren)) means mushroom.

I'm still interested to know more about the onigiri (and the pickle) given as a gift. Is it considered by Momofuku Ko as an extension of the lunch? Or, is it just a product of the whim of the chefs? What are the ingredients? What rice variety? Is the flavor always the same?

Sounds like you need to make a lunch reservation (the onigiri and pickled vegetables are served only at lunch; I have always considered them a gift from the chef--much like the food gift from Per Se). I look forward to your review. I don't think that the food at Ko is traditional Japanese or Korean (which may be why the name translation is not exact either).

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I'm still interested to know more about the onigiri (and the pickle) given as a gift. Is it considered by Momofuku Ko as an extension of the lunch? Or, is it just a product of the whim of the chefs? What are the ingredients? What rice variety? Is the flavor always the same?

I agree with Ellenost, you should go for lunch when you are in NYC next time and please let me know what you think. Those are gift from the chef. I guess they are like souvenirs to give you a good memory of the meal the next day when you eat them. But not in my case of course.

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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  • 1 month later...

Can't join you, but I'll throw in my 2-cents that my lunch at Ko a couple weeks ago was phenomenal. Had several dishes that completely floored me. The foraged mushroom salad with roasted jalapeño dressing was a triumph. Sweet corn and sour cream ravioli with Spanish chorizo, cotija, pickled tomatoes and lime zest (a riff on elotes?) was one of the best things I've eaten this year. Aji Tataki was spectacular, as was of the more "food porn" creations, a plate that contained both Santa Barbara uni and wagyu beef. The cheese course, which I'm blanking on at the moment, made me appreciate water chestnuts, something I'd previously thought impossible.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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I had lunch at Momofuku Ko today, and there were some significant changes in the menu to reflect the fall season. Still a bit tipsy from the wine, but hopefully I remembered it well:

1) The meal started with a Kumamoto oyster served with a glass of oyster stout beer from Dublin. I particularly love Kumamoto oysters, so this was a nice treat. The beer had a nice briny flavor to it; according to the chef, oysters were included with the hops during the brewing process.

2) Amuses bouche:

Pommes soufflé filled with squash puree and hackleback caviar

Roasted potato slice topped with bone marrow and burnt onion powder, and served with Korean chile puree

Poblano soup topped with choke cherry puree and a fried lily bulb

3) Quartet of crudo:

Madai drizzled with XVOO and topped with crispy fish scales and chives

Long Island fluke topped with pickled red peppers and onions

Raw scallop topped with apple vinegar and radish slices

Marinated mackerel topped with beets and freeze-dried soy sauce

4) Another quartet of crudo:

Santa Barbara uni with heirloom tomatoes and puffed black rice

Beef tartare made from 14-day dry-aged sirloin topped with hackleback caviar

Salt-cured and soft-boiled quail egg drizzled with horseradish oil

Slice of pan-roasted Wagyu beef topped with sauteed shallots

5) My favorite dish of the afternoon: mushroom salad served with pickled red onions, micro-cilantro and a charred pickled jalapeno puree. Mushrooms included chanterelles, hen of the woods, lobster and royal trumpet. Meaty, tart and spicy: just a wonderful combination.

6) Puffed chicken’s egg topped with scallions and dhydrated pieces of ham, served in a bacon dashi broth

7) My other favorite dish of the afternoon: sweet corn- and sour cream-filled ravioli, served with cotija cheese, chorizo bits and sweet corn kernels. Another lovely combination of sweet, spicy and savory.

8) Braised lamb rib served with daikon slaw, yellow wax beans in XO sauce, grilled rice rolled in pork fat, and a chilled dashi broth containing cucumber balls and pea tendrils

9) Grilled trout filet served with pickled vegetables

10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and hazelnut brittle

11) Roasted beef short rib served with an eggplant terrine and pickled watermelon relish

12) Cheese course: Sunflower and rye "bread box" containing melted Camembert cheese, cherries and water chestnuts, topped with macadamia nut shavings

13) Pre-dessert: Bittersweet chocolate ice cream topped with a ramen "posado" (similar to puffed rice bits), and served with a glass of almond milk

14) Dessert: Peach compote topped with nutmeg ice cream and bay leaf powder, and served with a vanilla wafer chip

I did not care much for the beef tartare: the saltiness of the caviar completely overwhelmed the delicate beef. I also felt that the peach compote needed an additional herbal component such as mint to balance the dish. Otherwise, the food was again creative and delicious, and this was the perfect meal to celebrate my 40th meal at Momofuku Ko. We were sent home with the jar of kimchi pickles and the infamous onigiri, which I learned was specifically made by a Japanese line cook downstairs. Too full to enjoy it tonight, but will have it for lunch tomorrow. Will let you know how it tastes.

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I had lunch at Momofuku Ko today, and there were some significant changes in the menu to reflect the fall season. Still a bit tipsy from the wine, but hopefully I remembered it well:

1) The meal started with a Kumamoto oyster served with a glass of oyster stout beer from Dublin. I particularly love Kumamoto oysters, so this was a nice treat. The beer had a nice briny flavor to it; according to the chef, oysters were included with the hops during the brewing process.

2) Amuses bouche:

Pommes soufflé filled with squash puree and hackleback caviar

Roasted potato slice topped with bone marrow and burnt onion powder, and served with Korean chile puree

Poblano soup topped with choke cherry puree and a fried lily bulb

3) Quartet of crudo:

Madai drizzled with XVOO and topped with crispy fish scales and chives

Long Island fluke topped with pickled red peppers and onions

Raw scallop topped with apple vinegar and radish slices

Marinated mackerel topped with beets and freeze-dried soy sauce

4) Another quartet of crudo:

Santa Barbara uni with heirloom tomatoes and puffed black rice

Beef tartare made from 14-day dry-aged sirloin topped with hackleback caviar

Salt-cured and soft-boiled quail egg drizzled with horseradish oil

Slice of pan-roasted Wagyu beef topped with sauteed shallots

5) My favorite dish of the afternoon: mushroom salad served with pickled red onions, micro-cilantro and a charred pickled jalapeno puree. Mushrooms included chanterelles, hen of the woods, lobster and royal trumpet. Meaty, tart and spicy: just a wonderful combination.

6) Puffed chicken’s egg topped with scallions and dhydrated pieces of ham, served in a bacon dashi broth

7) My other favorite dish of the afternoon: sweet corn- and sour cream-filled ravioli, served with cotija cheese, chorizo bits and sweet corn kernels. Another lovely combination of sweet, spicy and savory.

8) Braised lamb rib served with daikon slaw, yellow wax beans in XO sauce, grilled rice rolled in pork fat, and a chilled dashi broth containing cucumber balls and pea tendrils

9) Grilled trout filet served with pickled vegetables

10) Shaved torchon of foie gras with Riesling gelee, lychees and hazelnut brittle

11) Roasted beef short rib served with an eggplant terrine and pickled watermelon relish

12) Cheese course: Sunflower and rye "bread box" containing melted Camembert cheese, cherries and water chestnuts, topped with macadamia nut shavings

13) Pre-dessert: Bittersweet chocolate ice cream topped with a ramen "posado" (similar to puffed rice bits), and served with a glass of almond milk

14) Dessert: Peach compote topped with nutmeg ice cream and bay leaf powder, and served with a vanilla wafer chip

I did not care much for the beef tartare: the saltiness of the caviar completely overwhelmed the delicate beef. I also felt that the peach compote needed an additional herbal component such as mint to balance the dish. Otherwise, the food was again creative and delicious, and this was the perfect meal to celebrate my 40th meal at Momofuku Ko. We were sent home with the jar of kimchi pickles and the infamous onigiri, which I learned was specifically made by a Japanese line cook downstairs. Too full to enjoy it tonight, but will have it for lunch tomorrow. Will let you know how it tastes.

Thanks for your very detailed report. It was similar to my lunch last month (but there are always updates). The peach compote is new, as is the trout and all of the amuses bouche. I agree about the corn ravioli--it was brilliant! I love how they will make variations each time (mackerel is also new in the sashimi). Did you find the short rib as tender as the short rib on the dinner menu; I found it almost too crusty in comparison to the dinner version that I loved last year. Congratulations on your milestone (40th) visit (I think I'm at about 2 dozen visits). Which do you prefer the lunch or dinner? Have you recently gone to Ko for dinner (I ask because I'll probably make another dinner reservation in the next week or two, and was wondering about the current dinner menu. My last dinner was about two months ago).

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Not sure that I’ve got much to add here (others in the momofuku ko thread seem to have a pretty firm lock on originality/eloquence), but here’s my two cents regardless:

I had my first ko lunch experience this past friday (9/17/10), and it was amazing. I found it to be of a significantly higher order of quality than my ko dinner experience earlier that week, which was itself excellent (and drove me to snag the lunch reservation two days later when it fortuitously opened up).

The selection that I enjoyed was quite similar to the one that The Food Doc described in far greater detail above (unsurprising, given that we lunched 2 days apart). While some of the items were completely identical, like the lamb rib bento box concept, #8 on Food Doc’s list (or at least the description that I heard matches the posted description perfectly); basically the same -- like a British Columbia oyster (I’m assuming due to daily freshness/availability) in place of the Kumamoto oyster in the oyster stout amuse; or else a signature item (the shaved foie gras/lychee/Riesling gelee/pine nut crunch) that I couldn’t get enough of; it looks like there was a decent amount of tweaking over just those two days (and/or adjustments for market availability).

1.Service comments:

I personally didn’t find service/ambiance at ko to be an issue, but I enjoy a variety of different service styles. For instance, at the other end of the spectrum, I’m fond of Eleven Madison Park and greatly enjoy the service there (and don’t much mind fancying up when I dine there).

In contrast, going by what I’ve heard about ko and my experiences in other parts of the momofuku empire, I took full advantage of the casual/eclectic atmosphere – I specifically changed into a comfy short sleeved shirt, drawstring pants (expansion potential!), and flip flops for lunch, and also brought a viscoelastic foam pad that I folded over repeatedly to pad my stool during the 3 hour gorgefest (I think in the real world, people use them as bath mats or college dorm mini-décor). If I had one of those portable “seats” that unfold to provide instant back support, I would have brought that too/instead.

At the same time, I can also see why people, especially those coming in with perfectly reasonable expectations of what a two star Michelin restaurant experience usually is, may be unpleasantly surprised, or get an indifference/condescension vibe (which I personally didn’t). I also suspect that this is much more likely at dinner; the degree of interaction/energy level was far higher at lunch vs dinner, and there was definitely a casual warmth factor that was strongly and actively present at lunch. Somewhat obnoxious patrons were jokingly humored, etc etc.

People who asked questions at dinner definitely weren’t ignored or insulted (as some have claimed), but unless you actively engaged the chefs with questions, there was a much greater degree of brusqueness and “end of a long day” vibe. It’s not an issue of A-team vs B-team (at least when I went) – the set of people there for dinner and lunch were almost entirely the same – they just seemed less time-pressured and generally less tired (as most people would be at noon vs close to midnight). Another dinner patron, when asked for food allergies/preferences, stated that he didn’t want any eggs (and obv had not stated this during the reservation process) – this was handled with aplomb, as far as I could tell.

2.Food comments:

-There’s very little overlap between dinner and lunch (besides the foie); the only thing I can think of was the lamb rib, but these were parts of drastically different preparations and presentations.

-Overall, the creativity factor seemed sig higher at lunch vs dinner, even after adjustments for more time/room to play around; there were a few items at dinner that were “meh,” but not really any at lunch

-One exception to the lunch >> dinner rule -- I think the lamb rib at dinner was really outstanding. As part of the (necessarily) smaller, bento-box concept at lunch, I think it lacked the same degree of tastiness and fattiness (but again, this probably 1.worked better in the context of the more restrained bento box theme and 2.was an inherent limitation due to the need for smaller, and (thus?) less fatty lamb rib(lets?))

-I found a few of the sashimi-ish fish preparations less exciting, but not by any stretch of the imagination bad; this is probably a personal taste issue [eg, Sushi of Gari (more creativity) >> Sushi Yasuda (more purity of ingredients/subtle quality) for me]

-My main source of sadness would be the lesser emphasis on (and obviously, limited facilities for) pastry/dessert vs more conventional high-end restaurants. This is unlikely to trouble other diners, but I also have an immense appetite* (especially for sweets). When dining out at a new/promising restaurant (or a seasonal adjustment to a restaurant I really love), I will frequently consume 3-5 desserts to start (all the interesting ones on the dessert menu**), followed by the tasting menu (w/a few a la carte savory items tacked on), and then the tasting menu dessert(s), assuming they don’t overlap w/the regular desserts.

-Non alcoholic drink options are _really_ limited (sparkling water, Q Tonic, and coffee – no dr pepper, even), but that’s something I’m pretty used to – there are only a few restaurants that have the interest/wherewithal/service-levels to do really interesting non-alcoholic beverage pairings for me (custom non-alcoholic cocktails, etc). Most people dining at Ko probably won’t be affected at all by this issue.

Bottom line:

I can now see why some people choose to dine at Ko dozens of times a year. I’m not quite at that point (yet), but I’ve booked another lunch reservation for 2 weeks out, and would have booked one for this week had I been faster. If there were a full seasonal menu change, lunch at ko would rank higher than anyplace else in NY in my book.

As a inevitably flawed, apples and oranges comparison, I probably enjoyed my ko lunch more than my extended tasting at Per Se, even if the ko experience was severely less luxe, and there were more misfires. I’m trying to adjust for the huge service/ambiance differences; as I mentioned before, I like both ends of the spectrum, and more importantly, both experiences are similarly lengthy tasting menu driven meals. That being said, I think it’s also a fairer comparison for me personally, because the dessert menu selection at Per Se is also compressed (though not nearly as much – I was able to snag the additional desserts off the vegetarian menu, and an extra dessert off the standard tasting menu, and the mignardise selection is insane). This is also w/cost insensitivity – were one to tack on the bang for the buck card, ko would place even more favorably.

Notes:

*-When my dining 2nd flaked out on me and I had trouble lining up a replacement, my (rejected) counterproposal to ko to avoid the partial cancel fee, was for me to pay for and consume 2x the tasting menu.

**-Café Boulud is a challenge.

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  • 4 months later...

I have made it a tradition of sorts to celebrate both Christmas Day and Super Bowl Sunday at Momofuku Ko: there usually is a one-seat reservation that remains open during those days, and I enjoy the fact that most of the diners are first-timers and tourists who are discovering Momofuku Ko for the first time. The meal was delicious, as always, and the beverage pairing was interesting, to say the least. I hope that I remember the dishes correctly (ellenost, you were there Friday night; chime in any time):

1) Amuse bouches:

Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt

Corn and lobster fritter with remoulade

Duck meat chili with lime-flavored sour cream and house-made corn chip

2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with chorizo powder, sesame yoghurt and jalapeno puree

3) Spanish mackerel with apple-red bed puree, pickled red cabbage, puffed rice and micro-greens

4) House-made brioche topped with bone marrow, pickled pearl onions, lemon confit and micro-sorrel

5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar

6) House-made cavatelli with beef tongue, watercress and horseradish

7) Almond-crusted skate served with pan-roasted cauliflower, turnips, green olives and almond milk foam

8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee

9) Roasted breast of Muscovy duck glazed with pomegranate molasses, served with sauteed mustard greens, turnip green puree and pumpernickel-dusted turnip

10) Pre-dessert: Earl grey tea panna cotta topped with sweetened buckwheat crumbs and Seville orange sorbet

11) Dessert: House-made yeast doughnut holes with caramel-parsnip ice cream, and white chocolate and hazelnut crumbs

Momofuku Ko has gone through a lot of personnel changes since it opened in March 2008; of the original staff, only Peter Serpico and Mitch Bates remain (Sam Gelman has moved on to Ma Peche). Thankfully, the quality of the food and beverages has remained high in the past three years. Of the original menu that was served three years ago, three dishes remain: the togarashi-dusted chicharron; the soft-cooked Knollcrest Farms egg with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips and hackleback caviar; and the shaved torchon of foie gras with pinenut brittle and riesling gelee (which remains my favorite dish of all time at Ko). I cannot wait to see what the coming years have in store for the restaurant.

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I have made it a tradition of sorts to celebrate both Christmas Day and Super Bowl Sunday at Momofuku Ko: there usually is a one-seat reservation that remains open during those days, and I enjoy the fact that most of the diners are first-timers and tourists who are discovering Momofuku Ko for the first time. The meal was delicious, as always, and the beverage pairing was interesting, to say the least. I hope that I remember the dishes correctly (ellenost, you were there Friday night; chime in any time):

1) Amuse bouches:

Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt

Corn and lobster fritter with remoulade

Duck meat chili with lime-flavored sour cream and house-made corn chip

2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with chorizo powder, sesame yoghurt and jalapeno puree

3) Spanish mackerel with apple-red bed puree, pickled red cabbage, puffed rice and micro-greens

4) House-made brioche topped with bone marrow, pickled pearl onions, lemon confit and micro-sorrel

5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar

6) House-made cavatelli with beef tongue, watercress and horseradish

7) Almond-crusted skate served with pan-roasted cauliflower, turnips, green olives and almond milk foam

8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee

9) Roasted breast of Muscovy duck glazed with pomegranate molasses, served with sauteed mustard greens, turnip green puree and pumpernickel-dusted turnip

10) Pre-dessert: Earl grey tea panna cotta topped with sweetened buckwheat crumbs and Seville orange sorbet

11) Dessert: House-made yeast doughnut holes with caramel-parsnip ice cream, and white chocolate and hazelnut crumbs

Momofuku Ko has gone through a lot of personnel changes since it opened in March 2008; of the original staff, only Peter Serpico and Mitch Bates remain (Sam Gelman has moved on to Ma Peche). Thankfully, the quality of the food and beverages has remained high in the past three years. Of the original menu that was served three years ago, three dishes remain: the togarashi-dusted chicharron; the soft-cooked Knollcrest Farms egg with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips and hackleback caviar; and the shaved torchon of foie gras with pinenut brittle and riesling gelee (which remains my favorite dish of all time at Ko). I cannot wait to see what the coming years have in store for the restaurant.

I had dinner at Ko last Monday night, and there were a few differences: the amuses and the pre-dessert. My amuses were: in addition to the chicharron, we had lobster with pepper and mizuna, and ama ebi on a rice cake square. The amuses you had sound better. My pre-dessert was the sancho ice cream over diced apples (I had this on the lunch menu in November). As much as I enjoy the skate, I wish Ko would "retire" it until next year. I think I've eaten it at least 3 times for dinner and once for lunch. I wouldn't mind if they brought back the deep-fried short rib. Last year I loved it so much I went to dinner 3 weeks in a row (yes, I know I'm a bit excessive). I'll be back for dinner in March.

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My sister just sent me her blog post draft for Momofuku Ko. I'm still editing the final post, but here are the food bits for those who are interested:

---------------------------

For the amuse bouche, we started with a small lobster bisque, a two-ply thin piece of chicharrones (fried pork skin), and liver topped with garlic and coriander. A good start. The Chicharrones, which I had in its original form in Honduras, was clearly for the fat-avoidant NY clientele, but mostly the flavor had been retained.

The appetizers thus began, the two-part seafood progression began with sweet shrimp, ama ebi, swimming shell-less in a light broth, topped with a razor thin slice of green chili pepper, and flavored again with coriander.

After that, some slices of lightly seared Spanish Mackerel, plated and supplemented with a red beet puree.

Next up was bone marrow on brioche in a Gruyere broth, topped with roasted garlic. It sounded to me better than it tasted, given the sedate flavor of bone marrow, which usually for me has knock-out potential.

Here is supposedly a menu veteran, smoked egg (poached?) with caviar, over a bed of onions and accompanied with a side of sliced fingerling potatoes. I’m a sucker for all eggs poached, so this was definitely memorable. A good smoked flavor, with added sodium from the caviar nestled into a cut in the egg.

A small pasta dish, mixed with small cubes of beef tongue, and grated horseradish, followed the egg. This for me was the most lackluster dish of the night, and really, quite salty. I’m always one to say that my kidneys will peace-out before my liver, but even this proved to be too much salt. I told our server lightly that it was, for me, a little liberal with the seasoning.

“Yea. It is.”

Finally, the big hitters were coming up. Roasted skate with a great almond milk foam, cauliflower, on a bed of olives. Great texture, and almond milk was a nice, creamy but light compliment.

Muscavi duck breast with Chinese mustard greens and a pumpernickel crusted turnip. Cuts like a steak, eats like a duck on a diet. Muscavi is lean, so for those of us used to a bootylicious bird, this might be a little disappointing—nonetheless, something to try.

Now for the savory-sweet go-between: foie gras hailing from Hudson valley, with cookie brittle and lychee. Personally, this was a little too avant-garde for me in terms of liver treatment. But my friend, a seasoned eater of hepatic tissue, was very much satisfied.

Now for sugar proper: we start with an earl gray panna cotta, topped with caramelized butter corn and a scoop of orange ice cream. Next was some fresh donuts, which, coming right from Red Rooster was not impressive. Finally, a parsnip caramel ice cream. A better showing than olive oil ice cream at the noodle bar, but less satisfying than a scoop of Ben and Jerry’s. A gourmet’s icey treat for sure.

I know the story is sort of only half told without the pictures. The food is good, no doubt, but the service really takes away from the experience considering what little ambiance there is in a 200 square foot space. Coming from a loyal David Chang diner, I have mixed feelings about the hype around Ko, though, to say I’ve completed the Momofuku restaurant series does prompt some feelings of foodie pride.

I work at day, I run my start-up at night. Somewhere in between, I eat and blog about dinner - EatBigApple New York Food Blog

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  • 3 months later...

I was going to eat at Momofuku Noodle Bar last night when a slot opened at Momofuku Ko. It's been four months since I last ate at Ko (see my previous post on SuperBowl Sunday), and I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the courses were new to me. Let's see if I can remember them correctly:

1) Amuse bouches:

A spicy seafood consomme with lime, basil and fresh garbanzos

Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt

Spanish mackerel tataki with beet puree and puffed black rice

2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with coconut-avocado puree, lemongrass and frozen cucumber juice. Needed heat to balance out the dish.

3) Branzino served with white asparagus spear cured in miso, black sesame, yoghurt, grapefruit and horseradish. Nice balance of flavors.

4) Green aspargus spears, sugar snap pea pod containing honey dew balls (made to resemble peas), poached pork loin roll with shiso, and charred pea shoots in dashi. Refreshing yet flavorful.

5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar

6) House-made macaroni with spring peas, house-made chorizo and octopus. Meaty and delicious.

7) Pan-roasted halibut served with a remoulade of zucchini/kohlrabi/fennel, grilled ferns, compote of charred onions, and a pepperoncini-lemon sauce. Tart, spicy yet delicate.

8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee

9) Roasted beef short rib with pickled onion and charred green onion. Reminded me of the very first short rib dish that Ko served on opening day, but better.

10) Pre-dessert: Green tomato sorbet with oregano and rhubarb. Interesting palate cleanser.

11) Dessert: Ice cream served with shortbread, poached rhubarb and pistachio. Can't remember the exact composition of the ice cream and short bread (ellenost, you might know this one... :-)

An after-dinner dark chocolate-amaretto bonbon was served at the end of the meal. Really satisfying and creative dishes. Can't wait to see what lunch service has in store.

Edited by The Food Doc (log)
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I was going to eat at Momofuku Noodle Bar last night when a slot opened at Momofuku Ko. It's been four months since I last ate at Ko (see my previous post on SuperBowl Sunday), and I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the courses were new to me. Let's see if I can remember them correctly:

1) Amuse bouches:

A spicy seafood consomme with lime, basil and fresh garbanzos

Chicharonnes seasoned with todarashi and salt

Spanish mackerel tataki with beet puree and puffed black rice

2) Slices of raw diver scallops served with coconut-avocado puree, lemongrass and frozen cucumber juice. Needed heat to balance out the dish.

3) Branzino served with white asparagus spear cured in miso, black sesame, yoghurt, grapefruit and horseradish. Nice balance of flavors.

4) Green aspargus spears, sugar snap pea pod containing honey dew balls (made to resemble peas), poached pork loin roll with shiso, and charred pea shoots in dashi. Refreshing yet flavorful.

5) Smoked soft-cooked hen's egg from Knollcrest Farms, served with soubise onions, fingerling potato chips, hackleback caviar and sweet potato vinegar

6) House-made macaroni with spring peas, house-made chorizo and octopus. Meaty and delicious.

7) Pan-roasted halibut served with a remoulade of zucchini/kohlrabi/fennel, grilled ferns, compote of charred onions, and a pepperoncini-lemon sauce. Tart, spicy yet delicate.

8) Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with lychees, pine nut brittle and riesling gelee

9) Roasted beef short rib with pickled onion and charred green onion. Reminded me of the very first short rib dish that Ko served on opening day, but better.

10) Pre-dessert: Green tomato sorbet with oregano and rhubarb. Interesting palate cleanser.

11) Dessert: Ice cream served with shortbread, poached rhubarb and pistachio. Can't remember the exact composition of the ice cream and short bread (ellenost, you might know this one... :-)

An after-dinner dark chocolate-amaretto bonbon was served at the end of the meal. Really satisfying and creative dishes. Can't wait to see what lunch service has in store.

How would say say their game is overall compared to your last visit? Haven't been in a while, and was wondering if it was still as good/better/worse.

Edited by LPShanet (log)
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I've been to Momofuku Ko more than 40 times since it opened in 2008, and for the most part, I believe the quality and the creativity behind the dishes have remained more or less high, although in my honest opinion, the very first tasting menu in March 2008 remains the best. The wine pours for the wine pairing have become stingier, unfortunately. The chefs engage the diners more willingly these days, making the dining experience a little more accessible than it was in the past.

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Can't wait to see what lunch service has in store.

Another fantastic lunch at Ko on Saturday. Here's what was on the menu:

1) amuses: oyster; mussel soup; carrot purée with hackleback caviar in pommes souffle.

2) diced octopus, green tomato and country ham in spoon

3) sashimi: sea bream with fish scales; branzino; Spanish mackerel with beets; scallop with poppyseed.

4) trio of vegetables: spring onion filled with rice porridge; Japanese

eggplant; kimchi asparagus.

5) kimchi gelee consommé with spring vegetables. Gorgeous and tasty.

6) mixed mushroom salad (tempura and grilled) with candied cashews and a side cup of mushroom consommé with chive oil. Excellent.

7) puffed egg in bacon broth. Creamier texture-better.

8) bento box: rice rolled with pork fat; soft shell crab tempura in hand roll with house made XO sauce: uni with pea shoots and

melon balls in chilled dashi; and mustard greens.

9) ricotta dumplings in fried chicken consommé with fried chicken skin and ramps. Fabulous.

10) trout with radishes over diced potato salad. Fabulous.

11) charcuterie: rabbit Terrine; smoked lamb and sliced pig head terrine. Not for me--nothing wrong with it, but I don't care for either rabbit or pig's head anything.

12) chicken breast stuffed with chicken thigh stuffing and asparagus. Lovely.

13) marscapone cheese with gelee. Light.

14) foie gras torchon with lychee, pinenut brittle and riesling gelee.

15) English pea ice cream with white chocolate foam and goat butter pound cake. Interesting.

16) white miso ice cream with toasted black rice and sticky white rice in waffle cone.

17) onigiri to take home.

Service was (as always) friendly and attentive. Chefs were very friendly and informative.

Fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

Note to self: need to do this more often

BTW, I think the ice cream from your dinner (if it was the same as mine from early May) was goat cheese.

Edited by ellenost (log)
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