Friday, August 20, 2010


Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave
New York City

"Greek Sardine - arugula, strawberry and toasted rice"

We went to dinner here at 9PM on a Monday night, and the place was full. But we had better luck here than at The Daily Show, and, as soon as we arrived, a table in the corner--adjacent to the kitchen with a long view of the restaurant--opened up.

View from the corner table by the kitchen.

Originally we had gone to Balthazar in SoHo, but were turned off by the touristy atmosphere. And it looked a bit like a deluxe version of TGI Fridays. In contrast to the website photos, there seemed to be no feeling of intimacy there. So we pulled our name from the reservation list and headed to Momofuku, another of Vicki’s favorite restaurants.

"Warm Silken Tofu - heirloom tomatoes, myoga, watermelon"

The service was knowledgeable, unpretentious and endearingly disheveled-looking. Our waitress had a nose-ring, tunic and sparkly eyeshadow; and our two other servers were dudes in baggy cargo shorts and sneakers. They knew how to present a steamed bun to the woman at the table--open faced towards her.

"Blackened Bluefish Sandwich - iceberg lettuce, potato chips" -- A to-die-for fish sandwich.

The restaurant is connected to a milk bar (more in the next blog), which features items like "Hawaiian BBQ" shakes, "Banana Green Curry Bread," and "Crack Pie" (“toasted oat crust and gooey butter filling”). There, a clerk was wearing a huge blue bow around her head earlier on in the day.

"Steamed Buns - pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions"

Open plea to David Chang: please open up a restaurant in San Francisco.

Pork Steamed Bun - A special of the day

In Short

Food: Small plates of creative fusion (not just Asian-fusion); they call it American food
Bathrooms: Clean but small
Ambiance: Local, sophisticated, creative crowd
Quirks: They serve no hot water!
Other: Lots of meat (pork) on the menu. Vegetarian plates are limited.

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