Momofuku Ssam Bar (or, Where David Chang Leads, I Will Follow)

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A few weekends ago, I had friends in town. We had a list of places that they wanted to visit and eat at while they were here, and so on Sunday night, we made our way to one of those restaurants – BaoHaus. Except, we got there and realized it wasn’t really a sit down restaurant, and we all wanted to have a nicer meal. So, we passed on BaoHaus and began thinking of other places, which is right about when it occurred to us that we were around the block from Momofuku Ssam. A David Chang restaurant that’s long been on my list of must-try places in NYC? Sold!

So we headed to Ssam and put our name down for a table. We waited about a half hour which, from what I gather, isn’t that long for Ssam (the restaurant doesn’t take reservations and wait times can often be lengthy). We started our meal with pork buns for everyone. If there was one dish I wanted to try at Ssam, it was the pork buns – and they did not disappoint. Very flavorful:

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For my main course, I ordered the Roasted Jurgielwicz Duck. There were lots of little garnishes and sauces on the plate; I’m not quite sure what everything was, but I know it all worked in harmony together quite well. This was a tasty entree (though the pork buns definitely take the top honors for the best dish of the night):

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I often find that, when I’ve been wanting to go to a hyped restaurant for a long time, it inevitably disappoints me when I finally make it there. But, I can honestly say Ssam did not let me down. And now that I’ve been to two of David Chang’s NYC restaurants (Ssam and Ma Peche), I only have two left to go (Noodle Bar and Ko). Checking them all off is, most definitely, a delicious quest.

The Details: Momofuku Ssam Bar | 207 Second Avenue, New York NY, 10003 | 212.254.3500

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 12

(image via GQ)

This week’s most awesome finds:

  1. Odds Are, You Probably Don’t Exist. A fascinating idea to consider.
  2. I’ve pretty much given up on Glee; I quit watching after the first episode of this season because it’s gotten downright awful at times. However, I saw this clip floating around the internet and I have to say it’s an amazing mash-up. You can’t go wrong with Adele.
  3. Those Who Stay Will Redeem Themselves – probably my favorite article about last weekend’s victory over Ohio State.
  4. Okay, these vintage ads are decidedly not awesome, but they did make me laugh at how ridiculous they are. They are all offensive, but my personal vote for the worst would be: Most men ask, “is she pretty?,” not, “is she clever?”
  5. I love this so much – Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake are two of GQ’s Men of the Year, and their interview and pictures together make me so happy. Adorable.
  6. This video, where Diane von Furstenberg talks about her travel philosophy, is great. First, I love DvF (one of the all-time most stylish women). Second, the illustrations are so charming.
  7. This sounds like the best trip ever. Aziz Ansari AND David Chang in Tokyo, drinking Zima? Hilarity ensues.
  8. Nostalgia Fact-Check: a series of blog posts on New York Magazine’s website, re-examining old movies/TV shows/music. This is such a fun idea (and perhaps one I might steal for my own blog?). I especially love the posts on Dawson’s Creek and Ace of Base – two things that, I’ll admit, I loved way back in the day, but that don’t hold up quite so well now.
  9. I found this compilation of analogies, and some of them are hilarious (some hilariously good, others hilariously bad). I have no idea why, but I think I liked this one the best: “The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.”
  10. I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before. Damn right, that’s hurting my scar. I’ll never be able to hear “Milkshake” the same way again.

Check it: The Awesome Archives

Momofuku Ma Peche

When I was planning my NY trip, I knew I wanted to eat at a David Chang restaurant. My first choice was Noodle Bar, but they don’t take reservations, and I figured that since I only had a few days there, it would be a safer bet to go with a restaurant that did. So, we ended up at Ma Peche.

Now, I’m no expert on the culinary world, but it seems that people are almost universally obsessed with David Chang. So, I went into the meal with very high expectations. It was a good meal, but I can’t help but think it was a bit disappointing. And perhaps that’s just because, when your expectations are sky high, there’s nowhere to go but down.

I started with a Calamansi lemonade (tasty) and then Janelle and I shared an order of summer rolls. I thought these were actually the tastiest part of the meal and I’d definitely order them again:

(Sorry for the awful pictures, but I blame it on the “atmospheric” low lighting of the place. And I didn’t bring my good camera with me. So, yeah, mostly I blame it on me.)

For my main, I got the striped bass. I thought the miso sauce + mushrooms were really flavorful, but…were they $28 tasty? Maybe not.

After eating dinner, we stopped at Milk Bar upstairs and got the famous Crack Pie. It was pretty delicious, although I’m more of a chocolate kind of gal. I actually thought the Grasshopper Pie sounded more appealing, but it was sold out. As with Ma Peche, I had ridiculous expectations of the Crack Pie, and while it was yummy (and super rich), I guess I had the sense it would be mind-blowing. And, it was not. Later this week, after returning home from my trip, I found this list of the 10 most overrated NY eats, and the Crack Pie was one of them. So I guess it’s not only me.