Some Momofuku Q's
Planning to treat my daughter to a Momofuku resto on my next NYC visit (end of May). Ko is out, because I'm a cheapskate, and the Bakery appears to be for noshing, so it's between the Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar.
1) Anybody know the current L/D Prix Fixe prices for each?
2) Comments on the relative merits of Noodle Bar versus Ssam Bar?
3) As neither appear to take reservations, any strategy for snagging a table on a Friday, Saturday of Sunday? (Lunch or Dinner)
We walked in to the Ssam Bar at around 1:30 for lunch last Sunday. We didn't have to wait for our table for 3.
$25 prix fixe, but we learned from prior lunches and we opted to order a la carte to order more of the excellent small dishes (i,.e pork buns, rib sandwiches, etc) and, afterwards, make our way to the Milk Bar for our dessert choices. The Cereal Milk and doughnut ice cream shake stayed pleasantly stuck in my memory until now.
Noodle bar has changed their menu around, they now have a $20 three course lunch prix fixe and a $30 four course dinner (with both of these the final course is softserve). I had the lunch yesterday, they started me off with a raw scallop dish and the main was a new steak dish. For $20 (just $4 more than the combo ramen) it was a ridiculous bargain and the food was very good.
These prix fixe seem to be the main focus of the Noodle Bar right now as the rest of the menu has been scaled back--for example, they only offered three "bowl" dishes at lunch yesterday, the Momofuku ramen (that means no just pork or just chicken ramen was on the menu), the kimchi stew, and the ginger scallion noodle. Sunday night I was there for dinner and they only offered the Momofuku ramen, pork belly ramen, and magnificent chilled spicy noodles dish.
Looks like others have already taken care of the prix fixe issue. And as others have pointed out, there isn't much strategizing you can do to get a table (or rather, a part of a table).
But relative merits is a pretty straightforward and answerable question: go to Ssam Bar. Noodle Bar is good, but its ramen is far from the best ramen in NYC (even if the broths are superb), the menu is relatively short, and it's not as interesting. Ssam Bar is more inventive and much farther ranging - and better at just about everything unless it's mid-winter and you need a good soup or stew to warm you up. Add the benefits that Ssam Bar now gets from being down the hall from Milk Bar and its new cocktail list, and I don't think it's an even fight.
Oh, and you can get the pork buns at either restaurant.
I'd go for Ssam bar and then duck around the corner to Milk bar for dessert. At Ssam, for lunch you'll have no problems getting a table and dinner is hit or miss, its all about timing. I've gone on Friday nights around 8 or 9ish and have gotten seated (for 2) within 10 minutes and at other times, after an hour. The good thing is you can go to Milk Bar and wait there and they have a waitress that will bring you drinks.
i haven't been to Noodle Bar in a while, so i'm not sure what the waits are like these days.