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How long is the wait at Momofuku? Or other suggestions, please

I am choosing a restaurant to have dinner with some friends in town from London Saturday night- around 8 or 9 (we'll be 4 in total). Is it too risky (wait time) to do Momofuku? I haven't been, and have been wanting to try it, but because this are friends that we rarely see, I want to choose a place where the whole experience will be comfortable. If this isn't a wise choice, any suggestions for a place to wow them, won't break the bank and we can have a conversation? Thanks! (Downtown, but E.V. isn't a must)

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  1. BTW, I believe that Momofuku is not too expensive, but please correct me if I am wrong.

    1. We were there on a Saturday night a couple of weeks ago. We were told it would would be 45 minutes, put our names down, and went outside to discuss other options.

      The hostess came out and called a couple of names. One party was seated. The next time she came out she called out about four or five names none of which had stuck around. I'm not sure if they decided to take a walk to kill time or just left because they didn't want to wait.

      Regardless, our wait ended up being less than ten minutes.

      1. I am a huge fan of Momofuku, but it may not be the kind of place you are looking for. The seating is all along countertops; they don't have regular tables. If you want to spend some quality time with friends over dinner, this won't be a very comfortable place to do so. However, I highly recommend it another time! It's worth the wait for those pork buns...

        1. Momofuko is fine, but you're going to be seated at a bar, and you're not going to be able to talk to each other. Plus the fact that it's a small cramped space in there: you're going to get bumped and knocked into every 20 seconds. Here's a better idea: go to Lucien, a nice French bistro on 1st Ave & 1st Street. Relaxing atmosphere, good food, good wine and a better spot for you and your friends.
          >>Also, in my opinion, you can get a better bowl of noodles in Chinatown for one-quarter the price of Momofuko!

          1. Not a Momofuku fan--the noodles really suck. But some other stuff there is good. But not comfortable. Is it Japanese that attracts you or the young chef factor? Because you probably won't have too much of a wait at Soba Koh (5th betw 2nd/3rd) and I am still a fan of Soba-ya (9th betw 2nd/3rd) although the wait at 8 might be 45 min. Both these places are more comfortable. The young chef thing can be found at Kitchen 22 or Chubo...maybe you will be happier at a place you know is comfortable if the main thing is spending time with them...

            1 Reply
            1. Momofuku is terrible and overpriced. I recommend Sapparo on 49th or Minca on 5th street.

              1. A different vibe, but a ridiculously delicious alternative is Kasadela, an izakaya (Japanese tapas). Far East Village (Avenue C), but worth the walk.

                As people have noted, Momofuku really isn't a place for large groups.

                If you're not wedded to Asian, even less expensive can be Otto, though I don't know if you'll be able to get a 8-9 person reservation this late. Any time I've gone there with a large group, we've all managed to get out of there with less than $20/person (with moderate wine consumption).

                1. My counter suggestion is O.G., an excellent, moderately priced pan asian place on 6th Ave btw Aves A and B. Excellent, comfortable and they take reservations. Best dishes the Sichuan beef and whatever the whole fish that day is.

                  1. If you all like seafood, Tides or Mermaid Inn might be nice choices. Both take reservations. I also like Alta a lot and it's not expensive.

                    1. I wouldn't go to Momofuku with more than 3 people. It's a chow and run place, not a place the chat and catch-up. That said, I think it has the best ramen in the city (the best I've had outside of Tokyo). It's tranditional Japanese ramen, those raised on Chinese style fare will probably not like it as much... The berkshire pork buns are like crack...

                      1. Along similar lines but much more relaxed and comfortable is the Peking Duck House. www.pekingduckhousenyc.com

                        NY Metro's review

                        Prices are fair and inexpensive if you order intelligently. Skip the set dinners. For 4 ppl, order one duck (with the duck soup, if you're adventurous enough into Chinese cuisine) and several appetizers (excellent excellent dumplings, scallion pancakes) and that should fill up enough to pack in some cones at Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, a short walk away.


                        For Peking Duck House, call ahead for reservations. They fill up pretty quick.

                        1. i finally tried the pork buns at momofuku but it was so bland. berkshire pork or not, i could not taste what people enjoy so much about this place. i had it with buns and ramen, hated both, could not finish the ramen. just wanted to leave. service was nice, no complaints there. there's a lot of press on this place and more important chowhounds seem to like it. did i go on an off night?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: censorone

                            I don't really get it either--I did have a yummy corn and bacon dish but how can you not make corn and bacon taste good? I saw the that the chef is considered by the foodie world to be up-and-coming since he served those pork buns at some Aspen food festival as one of ten new chefs. I guess Aspen is far from Chinatown and Flushing so what do they know...

                          2. I would second suggestion of O.G. Went there a few weeks ago with a group of 8 or 9. The food was really good, they have a bunch of differnt kinds of dumplings, which are great for sharing and really reasonably priced.

                            1. I second Soba Koh! amazing place, very chill.
                              good place to chat and catch up.

                              1. Personally, I had one of the worst meals of my life at Momofuku. Just greasy and oily beyond compare. If you're dead-set on ramen and have a big group, there's always Sapporo on 49th St.