momofuku má pêche – Midtown Manhattan, New York
‘In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made;
there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York.’
My first visit to New York was in 1999 on a family holiday. We were en route to Europe and three days in the Big Apple marked the half way point of a round the world trip. I remember shopping at the mall in the concourse of the World Trade Center, surprised that it was Westfield branded. I have a framed photo displayed at home that was taken in the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
We travelled to New York last year to attend the wedding of a dear friend. With photos in Central Park, and the ceremony and reception at Public in the Lower East Side, it was the quintessential New York celebration. We also had our first momofuku experience that week. I had read about David Chang when he visited Australia (he will open momofuku seiōbo in Sydney later this year) and was keen to dine at one of his restaurants. Four of us were defeated by the fried chicken dinner!
A convenient Midtown location, the restaurant has a narrow entrance and the street frontage is occupied by the milk bar.
The main dining room is below but I sat in the bar area upstairs. The space is lit by an amber glow and the bar itself is perched on a mezzanine level overlooking communal tables downstairs.
Small paintings cover the walls and there are two alcoves with half a dozen tables plus counter seating.
I’m yet to sample the famed steamed pork buns and unfortunately it was not part of the prix-fixe menu. At twenty five dollars for three courses, it was good value by New York standard.
I selected the summer rolls for an appetiser. Silken tofu, shredded lettuce and a crispy wonton cigar were wrapped in rice paper, and served with hoisin sauce and peanuts. These were refreshing and a healthy alternative to spring rolls.
A noodle fiend, I chose the rice noodles for the main. It was a fiery bowl of minced pork, bok choy, basil and cherry tomatoes. Although tasty, I struggled with the spiciness and I had to pause several times to gulp water.
A compost cookie from the milk bar concluded the meal. Sweet and chewy, the waiter described the compost cookie as ‘leftover ingredients smashed together’. I loved that the bill was delivered with a complimentary postcard!
I had intended on returning for the steamed pork buns, and a soft serve and a slice of crack pie from the milk bar but Mother Nature cancelled that plan for me with a state of emergency declared for Hurricane Irene.