Living Up to Expectation

By luck, happenstance and good fortune, a friend scored a reservation a Momofuku Ko, and I got to go.  The whole process of the reservation – having an account, logging on at 10am on the dot, refresh, refresh, refresh – is so much more annoying than a simple phone call.  It’s enough to turn me off completely.  But I didn’t have to do the heavy lifting this time, and after the divine meal, I would refresh until my fingers go numb.

The limited capacity of Ko, steps up the game tremendously.  Effortless courteous service and a calm, grown up nature is a departure from the chaotic Noodle Bar and Ssam.  Sitting at the bar and having the food explained in front of your face, made you feel included and pampered.  Our menu to the best of our collective memory:

-2 chiccharons, black pepper biscuit, a spoonful of soft tofu with burnt applesauce

-cube of fried cheese served on top of pickled cauliflower

-fluke with spicy buttermilk and poppy seeds

-spanish mackerel with yuzu and rice cracker beads

-oxtail consomme with carmelized onion and oxtail dumplings made of daikon skin

-smoked poached egg with caviar and fingerling potato chips

-hand torn pasta with snail sausage and shattered chicken skin

-fried monkfish in a spicy fennel soup with uni

-shaved foie gras over lychee gelee and peanut brittle

-duck breast w/braised daikon, chinese mustard greens and pumpernickel dust with duck leg pate

-spiced white wine sorbet with asian pear

-goat milk cheesecake with butternut squash sorbet, dried cranberries and crushed pumpkin seeds

There’s no denying the innovative combinations and textures – the interplay of east and west, spicy and sweet, smooth and crunchy, high and low brow.  Never a dull moment for three hours, the chefs fielded questions, down to “what are you squirting on the plates and wiping off?”.  Answer:  vodka.  It degreases the plates and is fit for human consumption.  As a testament to its foodie cred, there were singleton diners, happy to dine alone for the experience.  It’s worth the hype. 

Momofuku Ko

163 First Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets

http://www.momofuku.com

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