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Mar 11, 2009 10:02 AM

Momofuku Ko: Lunch vs. Dinner

I have the opportunity to go either for Lunch or Dinner. While the Lunch's marathon 17 course tasting is very appealing, the cost for 2 people with beverage pairings of $650 seems a little irrational given the times. In contrast, dinner with the cheapest pairing including tax & 20% tip is $385 for 2 (staying just under the psychological $400 barrier)...

Can anyone who has done both lunch and dinner opine on whether the lunch was that much more special (and not just more food)? I know there's no overlap, save for the frozen foie gras, but I'm sure lunch and dinner are somewhat comparable.

I'm inclined to go to lunch and I understand both would be incredible (to Momofuku fans anwyay), but I'm reluctant to spring so much cash on a meal without confirming greatness with my fellow hounds.

Thanks in advance for any input!

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  1. I've gone to Ko for lunch 5 times and dinner 3 times (most recently on Monday). My advice: go for the lunch. Yes, it is worth the cost difference. Lunch is an extremely luxurious occasion. There is only one seating (do expect to be there for three to four hours). Dinner will take two hours. I enjoy the dinner too, but if cost and time isn't that big of a concern for you, go for the lunch. I don't do the wine pairings since Ko is very generous with their pourings; I opt for a half bottle of Riesling that works beautifully and lasts for most of the meal. I switch between the lunch and dinner so I can taste the variety of courses (knowing that my favorite foie gras will be on both menus). I know you'll enjoy whatever you choose. BTW, it is a bit easier to score a lunch reservation than a dinner reservation.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      did you mean you don't do the wine pairings since Ko is or isn't generous w the pours? I felt thier pours were very miniscule-couldn't even drown an ant.

      1. re: UES Mayor

        Ko is very generous with their pours, and when I chose the wine pairings I had too much wine to drink.

      2. re: ellenost

        Lunch reservations are easier how?
        Are reservatios being taken now by means other than the annoyig web site?

        1. re: maria_nyc

          I think less people want to spend either the time or the money on lunch so I have found it easier to obtain lunch reservations. I may have simply been lucky. The only way to obtain any reservation is through the Ko website.

          1. re: ellenost

            Thanks for the advice ellenost, I'm opting for lunch tomorrow. From my experience, I've seen a few open lunch slots by randomly checking the Ko website (not at 10am), probably due to coincidentally checking right after cancellations. This only happened once for a dinner slot. Good advice on the wine too - I think I'll stay away from the pairings and just get a bottle, which I'll enjoy slowly...I thoroughly enjoy day time drinking but I'll reserve the excess for the beer garden.

      3. lunch is a totally different crew of chefs and totally different menu (except for the foie gras torchon which is also served at dinner) i found lunch to be better tasting, better variety, and more enjoyable even though i normally would want less food... yes, the meal is long and involved but definitely worth doing

        1 Reply
        1. re: cubbee

          Had the lunch and pleased to report it exceeded my high expectations. It was a lot of food, but I didn't feel at all gross at the end. I felt much worse after a 4 course meal at Eleven Madison Park. Afraid to say I had the pairings...I couldn't resist. The pours seemed light, but they were just right given how much it ends up being. Not in the mood to write a whole lot, but it was perhaps the best meal I ever had. To anyone who is hesitating to go, just do it...

        2. I just got reservations for the 12:45 lunch on 04/03 for 2. I can't wait - wife's surprise 40th birthday trip to NYC. With all the hype around reservations, I had an expectation that I had a 1% chance to get one. We were also at the beach, and was using a wireless ATT&T aircard, not the speediest connection. Logged in, refreshed every 2-3 seconds starting at 9:58, and at 10:00 the site opened up. First choice - no luck, second choice - no luck, 12:45 success. I was frankly stunned, given the reviews and comments. May be anomalous, or maybe just beginner's luck.

          I hope they still have the short ribs!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sabarrett

            Congrats on scoring the lunch res! Lunch is a bit easier to get than dinner though. No short ribs (they've never served the short ribs on the lunch menu). They've had a delicious lamb as the main course since the beginning. One of the chefs mentioned that they're thinking about changing the lamb course. Maybe they'll try the short ribs again. They haven't served the short ribs on the dinner menu for more than 6 months either.

          2. What??? that is insane.....maybe months ago or a few years ago. $650 is totally irrational. how do they have the nerve to ask that and people pay. I'm amazed. It's food and I love food but that's a bit much, IMO.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BLover33

              It's not $650. It's $160 per person. Much less than Per Se. You don't have to order wine (and you don't have to order the wine pairings of $95 per person). You can get a lovely bottle of wine to share for under $100. Tax and tip will need to be added (but that's everywhere too).