Thursday, January 19, 2012

Momofuku Ko


On Tuesday, I managed to snag a reservation at Momofuku Ko in New York.

For those who don't know, Momofuku Ko is one of David Chang's restaurants, has two Michelin stars, and is consistently the hardest restaurant in New York to get a reservation to. There's no phone--there's only an online lottery for reservations, and since the restaurant only has 14 seats, and only takes reservations seven days in advance, the 14 seats that become available every day at 10 am are immediately gone. I've been playing reservation roulette with them for FOUR YEARS, and this is the first time I got lucky.

Amazingly enough, I was planning to be in New York on Tuesday anyway to see friends. So that worked out really well.

The food was incredible. There's no menu, you just take what the chefs--who are working right in front of you--give you, and everyone gets the same thing. You can choose a beverage pairing; my friend and I split one, and it was fine, but they charged us $95 for one beverage pairing which was almost as much as the food cost ($125). Verdict: not worth $95. (Mostly wines, a couple of beers, a sake, the best one was the first one, a huckleberry negroni.) Stick with the food.

They also don't allow you to take pictures. So no pictures.

Here are the courses, in order: (The chefs spoke quickly, so I'm sure there are key ingredients missing for each of these. But you get the general drift.)
1. Salsify puree with black truffle
2. A chiccarone (pork rind) with salt
3. Oyster with green apple and coconut vinaigrette
4. Fried whole shrimp with some kind of mayo
5. Shortbread with chicken liver mousse
6. Curry fish consomme with shrimp
7. Spanish mackerel with ginger pickled shallots
8. Gruyere consomme with brioche, bone marrow, candied lemon zest
9. A soft-boiled egg with caviar and chips
10. Ricotta cavatelli with fried beef tongue and horseradish
11. Trout with rutabaga mayo, panko, radishes
12. Shaved frozen foie gras with pine nut brittle and lychee
13. Duck with pomegranate glaze, braised pumpernickel, spicy greens
14. Some kind of crazy Asian citrus fruit sorbet with Earl Grey panna cotta
15. Passionfruit meringue, coconut custard, Thai basil

I couldn't even begin to finish all that food.

I liked the ambiance, too: very chill and casual, but with high-class food, and I got to watch the chefs work, which I really like.

Would I ever go back? Probably not, but not because I didn't enjoy myself--only because it took me four years to get a seat there. But you should definitely try for a reservation. The $125 is totally worth it.

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