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Momofuku Ssam vs. Noodle Bar?

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I've never been to either restaurant, and some say that David Chang's mini empire is way overhyped, but a friend has offered to treat me to dinner at one of the two for my birthday. Which one is more exciting? Any recommendations on what to order? Thanks in advance for your advice!

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  1. No need to ask; just read these posts:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/429927
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/486898

    2 Replies
    1. re: jakew8

      Oh -- I'm sorry! I had searched for previous threads on this topic, but those ones didn't come up! Thanks for your help!

      1. re: hungry_united

        Yeah, the first one doesn't appear for a while since momofuku and ssam are so frequently mentioned on here.

        Having been to both many times, my personal opinion is that the ssam bar is the better choice when someone else is paying. There's more on the menu to sample. Get the pork belly buns (although the ones at the noodle bar are better I think) and whatever else looks good to you. I haven't had anything there that was memorably bad. Don't be afraid to try the organ-based dishes either. Ask for a rec of either sake or reisling, whichever you prefer--either will work well.

    2. noodle bar is good. ssam bar is great (for DINNER!)

      i've been to ssam bar a few times (and once with friends so we got a lot of stuff) and the lower end of things seems to be just pretty good.

      i'd avoid the ssams; if you're ok with them, go for the raw fish dishes and pork dishes; you can't go wrong with most of them. a friend who's not a big fan of skate loved this one, but all of them i've tried have been top. i had the brownie dish recently for dessert; nice, rich, but not standout. their (now gone) saltine cracker pb&j dish was top notch.

      definitely choose ssam. however, make sure you go early; if possible, before 6.

      4 Replies
      1. re: bob gaj

        That shouldn't be too hard--they don't make ssams anymore.

        1. re: jakew8

          really? i got one (to go) at dinnertime in the last month...whenever the fudge brownie thing appeared on the menu.

          1. re: bob gaj

            Yeah I guess it's a recent change:

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/487244

            1. re: jakew8

              Thanks for everyone's advice! We had a really nice dinner at the Ssam Bar. It wasn't the mind-blowing experience I had been led to expect, but it was still a good night. We shared the steamed pork buns; the fried brussels sprouts; a nice cold appetizer with apple slices, kimchi, and maple labne; and the hangar steak ssam served w/lettuce leaves. All very tasty -- except the dessert, which was some kind of brown butter scone-like thing served with Guinness whipped cream (better in theory than in my mouth, in my opinion!) Also had a carbonated sake, which I'd never heard of before and really enjoyed.

      2. We have not been to the Noodle Bar; but have always had, at the very least, satisfactory dinners at the Ssam Bar.

        1. Bother are mediocre and overrated.

          3 Replies
          1. re: food_connoisseur

            I disagree. But oddly, the ramen at noodle bar isn't that great. Everything else is good. There's a lot of hype around the Momo, but I don't think it's unwarranted.

            1. re: egit

              I agree with equit except I would say the pork buns at the noodle shop are more than good. They are amazing.

              1. re: tpigeon

                Okay, I was lax in my hyperbolic praise. :-) Yes, a lot of the food at the momos really is great. The pork buns are not to be missed. I also loved one of the ham platters at Ssam. I had a pork chop at Ssam that wasn't inspiring, and the ramen i had most recently at Noodle Bar was not very good. But I'll go back to both of them and will probably go to Ko in about 100 years when I can get a rez.