Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Momofuku-d @ Ssäm Bar, Milk Bar and Má Pêche

When I was planning the NYC leg of my USA trip, my hit list looked something like this:
  1. Shop
  2. Eat David Chang and Christina Tosi’s food
  3. Party
  4. Museums and stuff 
  5. Eat at a three Michelin starred and four NYT starred restaurant
  6. Eat more food from random NYC gems
Now that I’ve done all of those things #5 could be bumped to the top of the list, but that story will have to wait for another day when I feel I can give the proper attention to my upcoming love letter to Daniel Boulud. 

David Chang is pretty much the closest the restaurant industry has to a rock star of the uber cool variety. I’m not saying that he’s necessarily better than other top chefs, just that he has serious buzz around him and a kickass attitude. His cult like following stems from his ballsy but polished fusion of various Asian cuisines and southern cuisine, and his famous steamed pork buns. 

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On my second evening in New York I dragged my friends A & Y along to Ssäm Bar in the East Village for dinner (this wasn’t a particularly difficult task). We took the sharing approach and started with a bottle of pinot grigio and jonah crab claws with harissa mayo ($16). The crab claws were served on ice and were pre-cracked, which made it easier to get to the sweet flesh. 

The Claws were followed by the deliciously sinful steamed buns with pork belly, hoisin, cucumber and scallion ($10 for 2). They were addictively awesome served with the Sriracha chilli sauce; a cross between peking duck and steamed pork buns.

This was followed by a plate of Finchville Farm’s ham from Kentucky ($11) that was served with crusty bread and espresso ‘gravy’. The thinly sliced ham was cured and combined brilliantly with the creamy espresso gravy.

Our next dish was market greens ($10 silverbeet) with xo sauce that was underwhelming.

Our first main was the roasted lamb loin & belly with bulgur, snap peas and egg yolk ($26). The lamb loin was very tender and beautifully cooked while the tenderloin was even better. The gooey egg yolk and slightly crisp bulger were excellent accompaniments.

The poached chicken with sticky rice, morels and spring onion ($25) was very tender and the sauce packed a serious flavour punch.

Our meal was slightly soured by our waitress who seemed to hate life that evening. Judging by the quality of service delivered by the other staff I would assume this was an anomaly.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar on Urbanspoon
After we finished up we wandered across the road to the Milk Bar to get some pies and ice cream.
The Cereal Milk soft serve ($4.5) with cornflake topping was a more-ish creamy, salty and sweet treat that was perfected with the crunchy topping. If I could get that soft serve in Collins Street I would eat it all of the time.

Eating the decadently salty, buttery caramel Crack Pie ($5.25) with the crisp coconut crust made me feel like my arteries were hardening in a good way.

The Grasshopper Pie($5.25) was also a delicious combination of mint, chocolate, butter and marshmallow.

Momofuku Milk Bar on Urbanspoon
 Má Pêche
After a long morning wandering around MoMA, my cousin J and I hungrily descended on Momofuku’s midtown restaurant, Má Pêche. J was tired of listening to me talk about the steamed pork buns and Cereal Milk soft serve and wanted to try them. Má Pêche has a cool minimalist fit out with an upstairs bar and basement restaurant.
We started with the niman ranch beef tartare, which was flavoured soy, scallion and mint ($16). The tartare had fresh flavours was a brilliant textural combination with the crisp krupuk it was served with.

We had more steamed buns…

This was followed by a bahn mi with sticky slow cooked lamb shoulder, jalapeño, eggplant and cranberry ($10).

We finished with Cereal Milk and choc-malt soft serve

Ma Peche on Urbanspoon
*note: all prices exclude tax and tip

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