Momofuku Ssam Bar (New York - East Village)

207 2nd Ave.
NYC, 10003
(corner of 2nd and 13th)
Chef: David Chang & Joaquin Baca

Momofuku was our first meal upon arriving in New York. We walked in around 10:00 PM and it was still packed. Luckily, seats at the bar opened up shortly. The restaurant exuded a very simple and minimal look, bringing focus to the food itself. "Momofuku" means "lucky peach" and "ssam" alludes to anything that is encircled or wrapped. As a "meathead," David Chang experiments his menu with offal and pork. (To learn more, read "you know when you're a meathead when...")

We started out with a few of the beau soleil oysters from Canada with a kimchi consommé. Unfortunately, I think we were starved at this moment and forgot to take a picture of it. The oysters itself were very fresh and the kimchi consommé had a very subtle but present kimchi taste to it.

Steam buns with pork belly, hoisin, cucumber, scallions - One of Momofuku's signature dishes is the steam buns with pork belly. We had to order this dish to see what the hype was all about. The pork belly was tender, succulent, and fatty. Other than the high quality of the pork belly, this dish was fairly standard. The both of us enjoyed this dish but neither of us were wowed by it.

Crispy pig's head torchon with sucrine and spicy mustard - When I first saw this item on the menu the first thing that popped into my head was pig's head? I was thinking about how this dish would be plated. As a pigs head on a dish? I asked the waitress about the dish and she assured me it wasn't a pig's head on a dish. This was my favorite dish that we ordered that night. The torchon had a nice crunchy coating on the outside and on the inside a tender meaty mixture. The torchon was served with spicy mustard and plums that complemented the torchon very nicely.

Spicy pork sausage & rice cakes with Chinese broccoli and crispy shallots - This dish was textural heaven. The shallots had a crunchiness to it, the rice cakes had a crispy outside and the glutinous inside, and the Chinese broccoli still had a nice firmness to it. The dish was indeed spicy but not overwhelmingly spicy. Brooklyn Pennant Ale - Since we just arrived in New York that night, we had to make ourselves feel like New Yorkers by ordering a Brooklyn Pennant Ale. I have no idea whether or not New Yorkers drink this stuff, but I found it to be very good.
Our one regret while dining at Momofuku Ssam Bar was that we couldn't order more items from the menu. We arrived there fairly late and it was just the two of us and only so much our bellies could fit in. The atmosphere at Ssam Bar is very laid back with no pretentiousness present. We would definitely like to try David Chang's other restaurants next time we visit.

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