Momofuku Ssäm complication this Friday: a question
I am in town on Friday night only and would very much like to have supper at Momofuku Ssam - in fact, I've been looking forward to this all year. We will have a party of 5, 4 travelers and 1 local. The local has noted that Friday will be a zoo - and to add to that, we have tickets for the 8pm Cedar Lake Dance show on 26th between 10th and 11th.
Should we attempt to get there early, say 5 pm, and have a very early supper? Will it just be impossible to show up at 9:30 and try to eat before we starve to death?
Also, do they still have a different "late night" menu (terrine, pork butt, etc.), and if so, what time do they start serving from it?
Thanks for your suggestions!
If you stuff yourself with a Bo Ssam before the show, you might end up taking an inadvertant nap! I would say have a snack and go afterwards as it will be much easier to get a seat then. The only problem with coming later is that they might run out of some popular dishes by then.
Since you are five, you'll have to wait either way for 5 seats together at the counter by the door (the end of the counter juts out so you can have a party split up with 2-3 people facing each other on each side), or one of the larger tables (there are two) to open up.
In any case, "dinner" starts a 5pm and runs until midnight. Before then they only have the ssams (lettuce and tortilla). I have seen people seated quite late too -- up until 11:40pm.
If you don't do the bo ssam, I recommend: steamed buns, sausage ssam, diver scallops, soft-shelled crab (in season right now), crab claws (absolutely delicious but a tiny portion), baby artichokes (seasonal), Benton's country ham, banh mi, lamb belly (they might run out), and/or the spare ribs (ditto).
you can definitely go at 5pm when they open and get seats right away and what used to be the "late night" menu is now the regular menu (thank god!) with the terrine, banh mi, etc. great hams too. (btw, it now closes at midnight so don't count on any super late eating there)
if you need to be in chelsea by 7pm, you probably won't have time to fully enjoy the bo ssam feast - but you can have a great meal anyway.
I also second gastromgnome's suggestion on the Bo ssam. In fact, it has to be ordered at least a day before, so I would recommend you reserve it today, and tell them what time you are planning to dine in on Friday. If you order the Bo Ssam in advance, they will let you reserve the table at the time your request. However, I don't know if you have to say leave a credit card number or something like that, as last time when I had the Bo Ssam my friend did all the legwork ;)
Anyway, I think it is better that you save your visit to Momofuku Ssam AFTER the show, as the Bo Ssam is for indulgence, so rushing through it will be a mistake! Since it comes with the oysters and bread and it is plenty by itself for 5 people, I will suggest adding anything under the "offal" or "vegetable" categories as they are the highlights of the menu and are not easily found in other restaurants.
Hope your group have a wonderful meal in Momofuku!