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Feb 6, 2008 08:43 AM

Momofuko menu change - livid!

I have been ADDICTED to Momofuko's Tsukemen for about a year and a half, if not longer, and would go at least every two weeks, if not more often. I have also been addicted to the spicy rice cakes for an equal amount of time. BOTH are off the menu. I don't like the ramen because it is way too heavy a dish for me (and the staff refused to serve the soup part on the side - why, I have NO idea). I hate scallions, and pick them out of everything, so the Ginger and Scallion noodles are no good (even though the waiter assured me that they could make it w/o scallions, I was later told it was not possible). There's nothing else on the menu that appeals to me in the "have to get my momofuko noodle fix". I tried the octopus salad, but the octopus pieces were kind of mealy, not firm and chewy. And I got the ramen, even though I could only eat a little bit. I'm there for the noodles, not the soup part, per se.


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  1. Um, did you say something to them? Not like they are accommodating too often, but I am sure they'd make you something that was off the menu if they had the ingredient.

    3 Replies
    1. re: doona

      I certainly did - I let them know how disappointed I was that tsukemen wasn't an option (nicely), so the waiter suggested the Ginger and Scallion noodles. I said I hate scallions, and he said I could definitely get it without. Later on, when I was being served the dish with scallions and called the waiter over, then the manager (or whomever the guy is that wears the Bua shirt - David Chang, perchance?) came over to find out "what the problem was". There was no problem, but I'd ordered the noodles, w/o scallions, and he said they're already mixed into the sauce and would I like something else. I said sure, I loved the tsukemen, so could I please get the ramen, but with the broth on the side. He said "no, we can't do that" even though I pointed out that I already had a small bowl of broth from the noodle dish that was going back, and they could easily just bring me the ramen ingredients in a big bowl. He didn't seem to care, and that was that. I was so depressed. Love affair over.

      1. re: Jel212

        Oooh, that's sad. That sucks. Love affairs aren't supposed to last I guess.

        1. re: doona

          Yeah...or your favorite standbys being available. That was my #1 favorite go-to dinner dish in NYC. <sigh>

    2. Sorry to hear about what happened. That really sucks. I love tsukemen. Maybe you could call and leave Mr. Chang a message, asking for it back? I know the menu changes on a regular basis, maybe they could bring it back. Hasn't the menu always said "no substitutions or special requests" though?

      Try the spicy rice cakes at Momofuku Ssam Bar -- they're delicious, but different.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        Thanks, maybe I'll try that. I didn't notice the "no substitutions" thing and I was super-shocked when I looked at the menu, so it was just a weird evening. I've never been that miserably-surprised about something like that before. Thanks for the suggestion!

      2. I have been in love with the spicy rice cakes for some time, too. the last time i went, i was disappointed to see that they are now offering rice cakes with oxtail only. but i decided to try them, and they were quite good. nowhere near as delicious as the other ones, though. i didn't say anything, as the menu specifically states no special requests... i figured that requests such as "could i please have them the old way" were just the type of thing they were trying to avoid. plus, i am pretty sure that they prepare their more complex sauces in advance.

        12 Replies
        1. re: vvvindaloo

          <sigh> oh well. At least a fellow misser!

          1. re: vvvindaloo

            I actually like the rice cakes with oxtail more than the spicy rice cakes... I thought the spicy rice cakes got kind of boring after a few bites...

            1. re: sexy

              Not to mention that the Ssams have been entirely eliminated at SSAM bar. Both lunch and dinner now.

              1. re: MomoMed

                Come again, MomoMed?? How is that even possible? They wouldn't be an anything anymore without the ssam...

                1. re: MomoMed

                  They only serve the lettuce style ssams now, you can't get the tortilla style ssams.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Why is this not a bigger deal on the chow boards? I am seriously pissed as I never got to have one! I was going in a couple of weeks! At least I got to find out before I went and wasted my time.

                    1. re: hamstrman

                      I recently heard this about the ssam, too. Isn't it odd, though, that they would eliminate favorite dishes in an already- limited repertoire? I can appreciate inventiveness and seasonality, but I did feel somewhat annoyed when I noticed the menu changes and the "no requests" policy. I'd hate to think they have so many customers that they aren't concerned enough about pleasing them.

                      1. re: hamstrman

                        It's not a big deal on the CH boards because the tortilla ssams, in comparison with the other Ssam Bar dinner dishes, just weren't great.

                        They were good, but by no means as amazing as other dishes.

                        I go frequently and I don't think I've had a tortilla ssam in months.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          ditto kathryn. the ssam was the least exciting part of their menu. if you're planning to go there hamstrman, do go--there is a lot of deliciousness to be had.

                          Jel212, momofuku ssam had a spicy rice cake dish on the menu last time i was there that was delicious. and have you tried setagaya? they have great tsukemen

                          1. re: kathryn

                            I didn't care for the 'tortilla' ssams much at all.

                            I'd rather have pork buns for lunch anyway.

                            The place is all about small plates at dinner, why worry.

                          2. re: jturtle

                            Fair enough, I agree that the Ssam was not the most impressive part of the DINNER menu. However, that doesn't make it any less ridiculous that they eliminated it for the following reasons: 1. It was a nice, relatively cheap, affordable, and portable lunch option which no longer exists. I was in there last week with a guest around noon and quite frankly, our stomachs weren't quite ready for cured hamachi or country ham at $15 a pop. 2. They may not have been the best part of the dinner, but they were affordable. The affordability is what gives(gave?) Ssam bar the large audience that it has. 3. As great as grilled sweet breads and diver scallops with pickled cherries are, sometimes you want something a little bit more basic and accessible. The presence of the Ssams allowed for that. The Ssams made it so you could go and have a wild dining experience or a basic meal. It was this option that made it so that people could go there once(or even twice a week).

                            1. re: MomoMed

                              Oh MAN! I'm planning on trying Ssam for the first time, as a first-time departure from my old-beloved Noodle Bar.

                              - I have tried Setagaya, thanks! I didn't like the tsukemen as much for a few reasons - missing the great veggies, the noodles were much colder than at Momo, and the broth, though much more authentic, wasn't as much to my palate's liking (I guess I admit that I prefer the less authentic!)

                              - That article MAY have been in Time Out New York a week or two ago? They had a big review of Noodle Bar.

                              But what's a NOODLE bar if the noodle section is now dwindling?

                              Maybe the owner is trying to move away from accessibility in general. I'm all for experimenting with some dishes, but agreed, I just want some go-to options some of the time.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. this is just the way the restaurant works. a while back they took the dumplings off of the original momofuko menu, everyone was sad, and they never came back. in another note, per the reader below questioning whether a certain employee at ssam was david chang, i must say that i have been to both the original and ssam at least 15 times over the past 3 years, and i have NEVER seen him in the kitchen or anywhere on the premises. has anyone?!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: srk626

                        I've seen Chang a couple of times at Ssam. Ssam's got this other cook that kind of looks like a cuter younger version of him.

                        I had no idea they took off their namesake from the menu. I'm wondering if this is a financial decision. Lettuce ssams are not as filling as the tortilla ssams, causing people to order more things off the menu.

                        1. re: srk626

                          I used to see Chang in the kitchen at the original Momo almost every time I went, at least for dinner. I guess that was a couple of years ago, though. Then it was taken over by a guy who looks like Freddy Prinze, Jr.

                          1. re: srk626

                            i saw Chang in Noodle Bar just a couple of weeks ago.

                            1. re: srk626

                              Chang's office is at Ssam bar, but he shuttles back and forth. Obviously he is not cooking your noodles anymore. But both restaurants have always owed a great debt to other staff in the kitchen.