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Momofuku Ko - 17 Course Tasting Lunch 1/10/09 - Full Rundown...

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Went last Saturday for lunch tasting menu with wine pairing. Here's what I had to eat - drawn from memory and some notes scribbled afterwards! Fairly accurate although the order might be mixed up. Not so clear on all the wine pairings but remember the highlights etc. Have to say it was the best culinary experience I've had in years. Not sure if I will be able to top this experience in 2009...it was truly superb.

1) Amuse bouche – duo of pomegranate slice filled with crème fraiche, piece of chive and caviar (made to resemble a carrot) & duck tongue in pomegranate reduction on top of a chive+rice sushi roll

2) New Brunswick oyster on the half shell with caviar

3) Japanese kampachi sashimi style with daikon radish sprouts and lime vinaigrette

4) Long Island fluke sashimi style mixed lightly with gojuchang (Korean red chili flakes and sauce)

5) Nantucket bay scallops marinated in various citurs juices (yuzu maybe?), served on the shell with fennel and julienne of watermelon radish

6) Santa Barbara sea urchin on a bed of milk skin, dusted with blackened puffed rice kernels

7) Beef carpaccio with horseradish crème fraiche and pieces of honey brittle dusted with grated yuzu and served with “Butter Bomb”- a mini bread roll stuffed with butter and crusted with black poppy/sesame seeds

8) Steamed lobster egg custard

9) Grilled divers scallop with watermelon radish with bits of grilled razor clam in a powdered green tea broth/matcha sauce

10) Escargot in an apple cider reduction with chestnuts and smoked grapes

11) Guincale and mushroom in red wine over milanese risotto

12) Shaved frozen foie gras served over lychee and reisling gelees and pine nut brittle

13) Breaded veal sweetbreads served with a potato (cooked in duck fat), leek and mushroom terrine

14) Pennsylvanian Amish lamb chop cooked sous vide and finished under the broiler served with roasted onion stuffed with meat ragout made from the ends of the lamb chops and a creamy mash of potato/cauliflower (?)

15) Duo of cheeses – semi hard sheep and soft goat with vegetable relishes

16) Spiced apple sorbet served over soft toasted marshmallow and side sprinkle of crushed graham cracker

17) Chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream

The highlights from this amazing feast were the famous frozen foie gras, the lobster custard, the kampachi, the beef carpaccio and perhaps best of all the divers scallop - outstanding! Near misses for me were the sea urchin (puffed rice and the textures of the dish just didn't work) and unfortunately the lamb, which although was an exquisite piece of artisinal meat from PA, was just a little undercooked imo.

Wine highlights were Scholium Project Sauvingon Blanc paired with the sea urchin I think, a Sankt Ana Spatlese Riesling from the Mosel paired excellently with the beef carpaccio and an Alvear Carlos VII Amontillado Sherry paired I think with the escargot. Misses on the wine front were a Paul Jaboulet white crozes hermitage with the lobster custard which just didn't sit right with me and an unusual Austrian red grape varietal that escapes my memory but was quite peppery/spicy on the nose and was paired I think with the sweetbreads (might be worng on that) but was a touch too light. Kudos to the sommelier for also including a couple of outstanding sakes whose names escape me!

And at the end of the meal, they served espresso and gave everyone mini-jars of mul kimchi (water kimchi) to take home. My wife and I arrived at 12.10pm and left at 4.10pm! We left feeling we had been lucky to experience such fresh and unique cooking from a chef and his team that are incredibly talented.

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  1. sounds awesomely decadent!

    one question: was this a meal with wine pairings as such, or glasses sprinkled thru the afternoon? not sure how many (even tiny) tastings i could take in the light of day

    1 Reply
    1. re: david sprague

      David - it was a meal with optional wine pairing ($95). The first five dishes were covered by a full glass of champagne. Then each dish had its own wine to pair with. The wine pours were reasonable but obviously not huge or no one would be standing by the end...:) The dishes served were small portions but beautifully proportioned and of course no one leaves hungry by the end of it! The food is light and by no means heavy. A wonderful experience.

    2. Thanks a million for your post! I was at Ko also on Saturday and was having trouble remembering all of the dishes. I was too full to eat the lamb dish (although that's never happened to me before at the lunch). I wish they would provide "doggy bags". I would have loved .the lamb later (or better on Sunday). I should have eaten less of the sweetbreads since they're really not for me. I've done the lunch 4 times, and enjoy it more than the dinner since there are so many courses to enjoy. I think the ice cream was candy cane (not strawberry).

      4 Replies
      1. re: ellenost

        Yes, I think you're right ellenost...it was candy cane. Delicious! How did this sitting compare to the other times you have done lunch? Presumably the menu varies quite a bit according to the season etc.?

        1. re: Scotty100

          It felt like there was more food this time (not that the prior times had fewer courses). I think we've had a cooked fish course in the past. There's a posting on eGullet which gives the lunch menu for the autumn. There were a few repeats, and a few variations on prior themes. There were a few brand new dishes (sweetbreads, guanciale, escargot, and both desserts,). The foie gras, the oyster, lobster custard, the cheese course and beef carpaccio and butter bomb are repeats (possibly the fluke too). The lamb was a variation. One of the chefs said that the lamb chop was larger than usual. I do prefer the lunch because I find it a wonderful way to spend a weekend afternoon. The lunch did take longer this time (usually it takes 3 - 3 1/2 hours). I look forward to returning in a few months.

          1. re: ellenost

            I got a saturday dinner reservation for the last sitting. I hope my menu compares to yours cuz your looks great. Does anyone know if they use more quality of the stuff for lunch than dinner or will I still expect top quality like your menu?

            1. re: cgervais45

              Both the dinner and lunch have top quality ingredients. You'll have the frozen foie gras torchon course on both lunch and dinner. Dinner has 10 courses and lunch has 17 courses. I think someone recently posted on eGullet the current dinner menu (I had it at the end of November, and it was excellent). Have a wonderful time. I look forward to your posting of all of your meals. I had enjoyed your LV postings too.

      2. Did you find the meal at all overwhelming? My GF and I both found it to be a trial of stamina that in the end left us not thinking about the food but just how full we were.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dhs

          Depending on the cuisine, 17 dishes at one sitting could seem daunting but it was fine for me and my wife. The food was proportioned in the right way and so fresh and light almost that I did not leave bloated or complaining I had eaten too much. I was certainly full but not to the point where it clouded the experience.

          1. re: dhs

            For the first time I found the lunch a bit too much. I've had the lunch 3 prior times with no problem though. I should have passed on the sweetbreads. I have a very good appetite, but this time the lamb did me in. Although I had no problem with either dessert. I almost needed the sorbet before the lamb to refresh myself.

            1. re: ellenost

              Hi Scotty100 and ellenost,

              I think for me I will definitely be overwhelmed because even for the dinner I was so stuffed before the last savory course! I could only "taste" the dessert. So I know for me there is no way I can do the lunch, though the menu and the review sounded SO tempting!

              Scotty100, great review by the way!

          2. Wow this sounds amazing. Ive only been for dinner... and it costs $5 more for seven fewer courses! I'm going to have to go back for lunch.
            I ate a similar fluke dish with poppyseeds at my dinner and thought it was the best dish other than the frozen foie gras.

            3 Replies
            1. re: secondbecky

              Not sure I understand your comment that the dinner "costs $5 more for seven fewer courses". The dinner is $100 and the lunch is $160 ($60 for 7 additional courses--which is a great value at about $8.50 per additional course).

              1. re: ellenost

                Oh I thought one of the posters said it was only $95.

                1. re: secondbecky

                  $95 for the wine pairing.

            2. Scotty,

              I am going to MoFoKo next week. What is the story? Are there a choice of menus? Can someone just order 2 or 3 courses?

              Or is it like Per Se with a fixed menu??

              2 Replies
              1. re: tito

                Tito - from my experience having lunch there, it is a single fixed tasting menu. No choice of menu or individual courses - you are completely at the mercy of the chef! Enjoy!!

                1. re: tito

                  You might enjoy the Ssam Bar better; there you can order what you wish.

                2. I'm wondering who has actually eaten all of their food at lunch at Momofuku Ko. Do you eat some of each course and send some back in order to pace yourself? Go full speed ahead? I have a healthy appetite, but sometimes I can barely finish a prix fixe lunch when it's only 2 courses. Just curious since there seems to be a wide range of responses.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hungrycomposer

                    I've had lunch at Ko 4 times, and the first 3 times, I had no problem finishing everything on each plate (I'm not a big person either). This last time was a bit too much for me. Of course, now I want to go back and try it all again.