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Momofuku Milk Bar Review

Alright so I just posted my very long and detailed Momofuku Ssam review the other day and my fingers are still hurting from all of that typing so I am going to try to keep this one short and sweet. While I left Momofuku Ssam quite disappointed and let down, I really liked Momofuku Milk Bar.

I will start off by saying the staff is great. They are all extremely cheerful from the cashier, to the cake cutter, to the cookie bagger- all really helpful, upbeat, and nice personalities. And they are always willing to give you a sample of the soft serve of your choice (while the sign says one per customer I actually tried three). Also cool they let you have complimentary water and coffee off to the side. Only negative is it is kinda small and cramped and there are no seats. You must eat at the tables standing up.

Now onto what I got. I came here after my huge meal at Ssam so I didn't really get a chance to eat much while I was in the Milk Bar. So I basically ordered a whole bunch of stuff to go and finally got to tuck into them tonight....

Pistachio Cake- Cake was moist, but I think the Lemon filling kind of overpowered the other elements of the cake. I would have liked more pistachio flavor and pistachio buttercream. I don't think that lemon and pistachio really work well together. I think maybe white chocolate or hazelnut would have been better, or even more pistachio filling. Nevertheless, still tasty.

Dulce De Leche- This cake really didn't do it for me. I just tasted sweet. No realy strong caramel flavor and the cake was rather pedrestrian vanilla.

Banana Cake- Now this was outstanding! Definitely the best of the bunch... The cake was like a banana bread and is extremely moist. Banana and gianduja fudge filling really complement each other and then the hazelnut crunch topping adds another element. When getting each of these in one forkful you get a great piece of cake.

Chocolate chocolate chip cookie, Blueberry cream, and Cornflake marshmallow- All were terrific. I think their cookies and better than the cakes. The chocolate chocolate chip was so rich and tasted more like a brownie. The blueberry cream was also delicious and was basically a sugar cookie chock full of blueberries. Finally, the cornflake marshmallow chocolate is a real standout. Lots of gooey marshmallow and the cornflake provides a great crunch to complement the richness of the chocolate chips. Overall, terrific cookies and they were all a great size. Only regret I had was they didn't have the corn cookie, which I HAVE to get when I go back as I am a lover of all things corn.

Finally I got a sample each of blackberry, apricot, and rosemary soft serves. They were all really really intense flavors. I love blackberry, but surprisingly that didn't do it for me. The rosemary also was very powerful and not my cup of tea (not a big rosemary fan anyway). But the apricot was the star. Definitely my favorite of the bunch, very citrusy, clean, and refreshing, more like orange.

Next time I want to try the strawberry milk, chocolate chip cake, and that corn cookie. I will definitely be back.

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  1. you have to do the candy bar pie...but yes, the cookies are the standouts.

    its an ultra rich place and it succeeds overall. i too am very disappointed usually with the momofuku places but the milk bar delivers.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      Oh yeah and I forgot to add I also had the crack pie... and I really liked that too. It was incredibly sweet and simple. Basically like a pecan pie sort of without the pecans. I really enjoyed the texture and the taste.

      Got to add the brownie pie and banana cookie to my "to try" list.

      1. re: steakrules85

        I adore the crack pie. You might also like the corn cookies.

      1. i had a taste of that rosemary ice cream - UGH. it was salty and buttery, which sounds good, but it just isn't. the lemon verbena was not so great either, but tasted better after the horror that was rosemary. i can't imagine anyone ordering/eating a full-size cup.

        18 Replies
        1. re: janethepain

          I agree jane. The rosemary was pretty terrible. As I stated I am not the biggest rosemary fan to begin with but after one spoonful I had my fill. I don't know how anyone could eat a whole serving. OOFA.

          1. re: steakrules85

            they had some apricot soft serve that tasted like cold children's medicine...and not in a good way.

            1. re: sam1

              given MMB's snarky pride in using ingredients like crushed potato chips and store-bought cereal, i wouldn't be surprised if they did use children's cold medicine...

              1. re: sam1

                the cherry flavor that I had today also tasted like cold medicine

              2. re: kathryn

                I happen to like the rosemary flavor too!

              3. re: janethepain

                Yuck, I wasn't impressed by the soft serves either. The blackberry was the best of the bunch (apricot, lemon verbena, rosemary), which isn't saying much. I regretfully ordered a cup of half lemon/half bberry, and it tasted like a fragrant perfume/bath soap.

                www.thelunchbelle.com

                1. re: LeahBaila

                  To be contrary, I like the soft serves. The flavors they use are unlike anywhere else, including Asian-style ice cream shops. There's less focus on pure sweetness, and more on a sweet-savory-salty (rosemary, salty pistacio) or sweet-sour (apricot) flavor. To balance it out I usually get a topping. With my salty pistacio I got dried pineapple, which provided sour and sweet to go with creamy, nutty, and salty, and was just perfect. With the rosemary I got the olive oil cake, making a dessert version of one of my favorite combos- rosemary-olive bread with butter, only sweeter and more rich. Sounds weird, and it is, but that's the point- savory-sweet desserts that are child-like yet challenging. As I ate it the olive oil gelato at Otto (topped with salt) came to mind. You wouldn't think it works but it does. And to me the apricot (which I couldn't stop stealing from my friend) had a rare apricot flavor- a sour-sweetness that's hard to find even in the fresh fruit. Lemon verbena I didn't care for, as it was too floral, but what do you expect for a lemony herb? Anyway, to the naysayers I challenge you to go back to the odder soft serves and pair it with a contrasting topping and see what you think.

                  1. re: Spoony Bard

                    Hi Spoony, great post and I respect your feedback. I didn't even think to add toppings to my soft serve, and will definitely do so the next time I'm there. Agreed re: the flavor of the apricot, I suppose I'm just not an "apricot person."
                    You're a great writer, btw.

                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                    1. re: LeahBaila

                      Thanks, Leah. Not sure why I got so lyrical there! I guess I really like the whimsical (yet casual) ambition of the place. I think it's worth another shot. Not everyone will enjoy it, but I've found at least one or two of the soft serve that worked for me each time I visit, and the toppings help with balancing the strong flavors.

                  2. re: LeahBaila

                    LOLs, I can really imagine that. Once I ate a rose-lychee macaron that tasted and smelled exactly like soap!

                    1. re: windycity

                      I was about to say, if it sounds like a soap, chances are it's going to taste like one too. Rose ice cream always sounds so good, but the only good version I've had was mixed with Indian spices.

                      Momofuku's Lemon Verbena wasn't nearly as bath product tasting as I expected, and it was light by their standards....but it also wasn't as inventive as I expected either (especially after having recently tried the excellent Honey Thyme from Humphrey Slocombe in SF).

                      I have to wonder though, how anyone eats a cup of the stuff?
                      I always lose the flavors before I've even finished the sample size. The richness and sugar drowns everything out. The lemon verbana started to taste like a frozen yogurt instead of soft serve.

                      1. re: sugartoof

                        The funny thing is, I'm a sucker for unusual ice cream flavors. If it's herbal/flowery/tea, I'm all over it. I was very excited to try the lemon verbena and rosemary ice creams (blackberry and apricot? bo-ring), but DAMN. two of us couldn't even finish the sample cup. I took a taste of the lemon verbena and it was tart but.... just not tasty to me. Then i tried the rosemary and gagged instantly. I'm not sure what it is, it tastes very full, round and salty, like a strange butter-flavored ice cream (which normally sounds good - I love butter). I gave it a few more tries, but just couldn't enjoy it. So then I used the lemon verbena as a palate cleanser, cos after rosemary, it tasted better.

                        This isn't to say that I don' t like the Milk Bar or their ice creams. On the contrary, I totally understand what she's doing, why she's doing it, why we try the stuff out. It just so happens that I don't like those two flavors this month. Will I be back next month to see what she comes up with? Yes. Will I like it? Maybe not, but I'll definitely try it.

                        1. re: janethepain

                          I also love the unusual flavors, and hope NY will catch up to other regions in that department. Unfortunately, our artisanal ice cream is usually too pricey, and rarely hits the mark for being both inventive and tasty too.

                          Where else have you found unusual flavors you liked?

                          1. re: sugartoof

                            I think Capogiro Gelato in Philly does an amazing job with unusual flavors that actually taste good. They have a tremendous lime with cilantro. I've also had their cucumber vodka, which wasn't my favorite but grapefruit campari is refreshing.

                            1. re: windycity

                              Sounds amazing! I want that (in NY) !!!

                              1. re: windycity

                                OH $#@%! Cilantro?! awesome. i'm going to philly tomorrow, I'm going to try my darndest to get there.

                                1. re: janethepain

                                  Oh let me know what you get. It's so worth it, and bigger portions than grom (it'd be hard to get smaller.) My friend jokes that I only visit her for the gelato. She's only half right.

                            2. re: janethepain

                              I agree that I'll try the flavors. But really, that chocolate donut flavor was so terrible that I don't think I'm in a hurry to go back there period.

                              I tried the pandan frozen yogurt at Baoguette a while back and it was interesting.

                              Also there's an ice cream shop in Jersey city that has lots of interesting tropical fruit flavors including mamey. I had a phenomenal pistachio cherry there.

                    2. With all due respect to the Empire - the milk bar slightly short delivers. Granted it has some of the most creative "simple" desserts, I left feeling a little empty. Maybe it's ok, but somehow I was expecting more...shame on me

                      1. the milk bar cookies continue to bum me out... if you get them piping fresh than they're better but generally speaking, at least for my tastes, they're just too cute. i like my cookies a little more straight forward, without marshmallow and corn flakes. but hey, that's' just me.

                        agreed w/the consensus and leah lady lunch belle, don't get people's love for the soft serve. the flavors are too artificial, it'd rather have a $2 cone of mr. softee anyday.

                        On the flip side, the Crack and Brownie pies are fantastic. Both are incredibly rich and quote unique... they're the reason i keeep going back.

                        www.immaculateinfatuation.com

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: iFat

                          ...Just saw your "Cookies Across the City" video. You guys are adorable and so are the two lil' tikes. :)

                          www.thelunchbelle.com

                          1. re: iFat

                            I feel the same way about their cookies, which were more unsettling than complex, in my book....I get the feeling they're aiming for guilty pleasures sometimes...
                            that said, I really liked the Blueberry cookie for something interesting yet straight forward.

                          2. Most of the haters here are ragging on the softserve and the crazy cookie with all the stuff in it. I hope those people tried something other than a pork bun and a cup of softserve before they wrote the place off. I think the cakes and pies are great. Don't really understand the crack pie but that's me. The volcano is awesome. I think her bread is really good. There's another "breakfast" sandwich that had a deep fried poached egg which was interesting and delicious. So some of the softserve flavors are intense but come on...when if ever have you had a softserve that blew you awy with the essence of what the flavor was? All this froyo crap bums me out and while i don't need to eat 8 oz of the pistachio softserve, it's great and will be what I judge other pistachio flavored ice creams by in the future. The blueberry cookie is awesome.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: jgradieoakes

                              if people enjoy certain cakes and pies, great, enjoy...but personally i find the idea of using assorted mass-market junkfood like potato chips and cereals as ingredients to be extremely off-putting...any restaurant/bakery that thinks that's a cute or clever idea is already behind the eightball imo...

                              1. re: Simon

                                It seems like people either really like the Momofuku Milk Bar or really dislike it. Just a matter of personal taste I guess. Would I say it is a top notch bakery? No, of course not. You obviously wouldn't come here for your wedding cake. But for a nice sweet treat I think it fits the bill and offers som quirky and different items that some typical bakeries don't offer.

                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                    Hrmm.. I wonder if I can get a four tiered giant pork bun for my wedding.

                                    1. re: ESNY

                                      ESNY, may I join your wedding party? :D

                                      1. re: kobetobiko

                                        seriously, i'm in for that enormous pork bun as well... the breakfast pork and egg bun at momo bakery is another positive for the bakery. love that the bun is twice the size as the normal buns

                                        lunch belle - thanks for watching! we are pretty excited about our Cookies video... Levain won for best cookie although i would have liked to have covered more places. the kids got way too jacked up on sugar and were losing their minds. I was just happy we could return them!

                                        www.immaculateinfatuation.com

                                          1. re: iFat

                                            I agree. really cute video! all the puppy love yelling at the end was a highlight! sugar by the spoonful = happy kids...and adults! Make more videos!

                                1. Just as an update they have changed their menu. The new soft serves are strawberry shortcake, cereal milk, cherries jubilee, and peaches and cream. Toppings include hot fudge, maraschino cherries, strawberry cake crumbles, cornflake crunch, and milk crumbs. I have to say all of these flavors sound DELICIOUSO to me.

                                  Another new addition- Blueberry pie with streusel cream topping

                                  Most surprising is that they have scaled back tremendously and have taken off many old standys from the menu. Hopefully this is not the case, but from looking at the online menu it looks like they have taken off the following:

                                  Pistachio cake, Arnold Palmer Cake, Chocolate Cake, Corn Cookie, Brownie Pie.

                                  I am glad that I got to try the pistachio cake before they took it off. But I am bummed about the chocolate cake, corn cookie, and brownie pie being taken off as I really wanted to sample those.

                                  But, I am really looking forward to trying their new soft serves. The flavors are so much better than the last time I went. I will be there August 10th and the menu should still be the same then so I will report back.

                                  Link to the menu http://www.momofuku.com/images/milk%2...

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                    Very, very informative, steak! Thanks SO MUCH for the update.

                                    www.thelunchbelle.com

                                      1. re: LeahBaila

                                        No more:

                                        banana cookie
                                        corn bookie
                                        peanut butter cookie
                                        Arnold Palmer cake
                                        chocolate cake
                                        pistachio cake
                                        key lime cake*
                                        carrot cake*
                                        blondie pumpkin pie*
                                        banana cream pie*
                                        brownie pie
                                        cinnamon bun pie
                                        blue cheese polenta*

                                        * These have been gone / not really made on a regular basis for a while now, though

                                        Breads are on a daily basis now, too, with the English muffin sandwich and volanco appearing on weekends only now.

                                        There is also cornbread (new) on Thursdays and brioche (new) on Fridays, though it appears they will alternate between the brioche and chorizo challah on Fridays.

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          The corn cookie was about the only thing I've had there that I liked. Most of the stuff I've had there has been pretty bad.

                                          1. re: Slob

                                            I love the corn cookie too. Too bad it is now taken off the menu

                                          2. re: kathryn

                                            Ah yeah im sad that the cinnamon bun pie is gone too. I really wanted to try that ahhhh rats.

                                        2. re: steakrules85

                                          Haha, when I told the bf of the new line of soft-serves, his first words were, "good, they got rid of that rosemary $#!%" They sound really good

                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                            oh bummer!
                                            I really wanted to try the corn cookie and the cinnamon bun pie!
                                            Oh well...i'm sure I still wont be able to decide what to actually get! (too many yummy things!)

                                          2. If it's any consolation, their new blueberry pie is delicious. Got it tonight and saw Tom Collichio as I was leaving.

                                            1. Has anyone tried the new soft serves?

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: steakrules85

                                                Was in last night and sampled the Strawberry Shortcake. It was good, much better than the perfumey lemon-verbena, but had a slightly chalky aftertaste.
                                                I did have 2 compost cookies fresh out of the oven and they were dynamite. I like these much more than the cornflake/marshmellow/choco chip.

                                                www.thelunchbelle.com

                                              2. the crack pie looks like the sugar pie we have in Quebec.
                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_pie

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: marblebag

                                                  It is basically like a pecan pie without the pecans.... the filling is actually much more dense though.. not liquidy. Very sweet but very good. Two forkfulls goes a very long way I think.

                                                  1. re: steakrules85

                                                    Yeah, I like sugar and sweets but the crack pie was too sweet and oily. I could only eat half!

                                                  2. Went over to Milk Bar after another brilliant lunch at Ko (yes, I still had room in my tummy). Had the peaches and cream soft serve; it was very refreshing. Took a slice of crack pie and a cornflake/marshmallow/chocolate chip cookie to go. Ate them at night, and they were great too!

                                                    28 Replies
                                                    1. re: ellenost

                                                      After our great Bo Ssam dinner last night, I was in the mood for dessert. Tried the strawberry shortcake soft serve, but didn't much care for it (agree that it has a chalky aftertaste). Took home 3 cookies: blueberry cream (my new favorite since the corn cookie is no more); cornflake/chocolate chip/marshmallow (yummy), and the brownie cookie (good, but not great) and a slice of crack pie. Ate the crack pie when I got home -- very yummy! Just finished the cookies with my boring lunch of salad and chicken (need to save room for my dinner tomorrow night at Ko), and the cookies held up nicely in a Ziploc bag--the brownie cookie actually improved somewhat. I do hope they add back the corn cookie, but for those of you who loved the corn cookie, you might like the blueberry cream cookie.

                                                      1. re: ellenost

                                                        Hi there!

                                                        I too, had to walk over to MB after our meal last night - I decided on the candy bar pie and a pork bun (to take home) - But of course I dipped into the pie - and OH BOY!!!
                                                        I LOVED IT!
                                                        The combo of salty and sweet - was just perfect.
                                                        Now I wish I had bought some cookies and other stuff to try!!!
                                                        Oh well at least I have the pork bun and the rest of the pie for tonight!!

                                                        1. re: ellenost

                                                          Great to see you and Nel last night... good to see you guys enjoyed the Milk Bar also. But for me this time was a little different for me....

                                                          As much as I raved about the service being friendly last time, this time they were anything but. They have this policy where you can only sample one soft serve which I think is stupid. So I bought a slice of chocolate chip cake and sampled the cereal milk. I then went back to get a slice of blueberry pie to go and asked to try cherries jubilee and they like flipped out saying I already had my ONE sample. I was like jeez ok chill out. No need to treat people that way and jeez it is only a sample. I told them I was going to order a soft serve but I just wanted to try them to see which one I wanted. After all they do charge you an outrageous $4.15. Anyway, I got creative and somehow managed to try all of the soft serve flavors. They were all really good and much better than last time.

                                                          Chocolate Chip Cake- I really liked this. The passionfruit cream, with the coffee icing and chocolate chips is a great combo. My new second fave behind the banana (pistachio is gone).

                                                          Blueberry pie- Good, but nothing special. Your standard blueberry pie as far as I am concerned.

                                                          Soft serve- Cereal milk ( wow this was really awesome), peaches and cream (light and refreshing peach flavor), cherries jubilee ( bit disappointed I am a cherry lover but this tasted artificial), and the strawberry shortcake ( very good but a slightly chalky aftertaste).

                                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                                            Emily said they were very unfriendly to her as well, I guess it all depends on who you happen to get!
                                                            I don't know why i didn't try any of the soft serves!! I think because I would have felt obligated to order one after that which I had no intention of doing.

                                                            I wonder how you manged all of the samples then??
                                                            Work some charm???

                                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                                              You should never feel obligated to order the soft serve after you sampled it (especially since you were ordering other things). I asked for a sample of the strawberry shortcake, and it was a good thing I did since I didn't care for it. It would have been a shame to order the full portion, not like it, and then wind up dumping it (outside of course). I'm sure Milk Bar has people coming in asking for a sample of the soft serve, and then leaving without ordering anything.

                                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                                I guess you are right, but that's my nature!

                                                                I have to say right about now, I am starting to wish for some more of that Bo Ssam! I am craving it in fact. I'm so happy I have a pork bun at home!

                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                  After my dinner tomorrow night at Ko, I might wander back over to Milk Bar to see if they have the pork buns available. I had not had them before last night, and they're delicious! Or I might get the peaches and cream soft serve (very refreshing!).

                                                                  1. re: ellenost

                                                                    Update -
                                                                    I ate the pork buns for dineer last night. It was a bit off putting to take them out of the fridge and see just how much of the pork belly is fat...but I thought "never mind!" and I heated them up...
                                                                    Wow!
                                                                    They were just so good! The flavors blended so well together and it really is a very refined version of the classic pork buns from Chinatown.
                                                                    I also ate some more of the candy bar pie and even cold out of the fridge - it was still so delicious!
                                                                    I still have some left and am really looking forward to finishing it tonight!!

                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                      How did you reheat the pork bun (I might stop by Milk Bar tonight after dinner and buy a pork bun (or two).

                                                                      1. re: ellenost

                                                                        I just wrapped each one in foil and put 'em in the oven at 350.
                                                                        I was a bit worried about the texture of the re-heated bun, and the cucumber getting gross, but they came out fine and delicious.

                                                                        Have a wonderful meal Ellen!!

                                                                        11

                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                          I brought some home one night, left them on the counter and ate them for breakfast at room temp - excellent.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                              Steaming the buns is the best way to reheat it. That way both the meat and the buns will be moist fluffy without drying out.

                                                                            2. re: NellyNel

                                                                              As you can tell, I don't cook much. How long did you keep them in the oven? Thanks!

                                                                              1. re: ellenost

                                                                                I am not positive but I think I had them in for about 10 minutes. Mine were slightly room temp in the middle because I didn’t want the fat to turn completely to oil (which allot of it will anyway- you'll need allot of napkins!)

                                                                                I am still thinking about lunch w/you at Ko (maybe around Oct to celebrate my birthday?) So hopefully you will have another wonderful meal tonight and wouldn't mind going again!!

                                                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                  I'd love to go back for lunch in October (it'll take me until then to lose all the weight I'm going to gain for my birthday celebrations).

                                                                                  1. re: ellenost

                                                                                    lol!
                                                                                    Well enjoy all your celebrations and worry about it later!
                                                                                    Keep in touch and we shall plan my BD at Ko!

                                                                              2. re: NellyNel

                                                                                >I just wrapped each one in foil and put 'em in the oven at 350.

                                                                                That's my default reheating drill for baked stuff (time varies, of course).

                                                                                One of my reheatable breakfast/lunch indulgences is the prosciutto ring loaf from Parisi in Nolita. If I don't catch it at the shop I can usually find it at the Met on Mulberry, near the deli counter.

                                                                                Zito & Sons on Bleecker made an excellent version of this bread, but it's been gone for a few years. The guy there urged me to spread mascarpone on it. I don't doubt that would be terrific, but for me that's kinda over the top. A little butter or a drizzle of good olive oil works fine.

                                                                  2. re: steakrules85

                                                                    I could see how it would get tiring explaining what the crack pie was, or how they make the cereal milk. It gets chaotic in there, and it's almost as if they've set the place up for maximum confusion.

                                                                    Those samples always kill any desire I have to order a full size, but they should still be unlimited. Especially since they're making exotic flavors with hit or miss success and blurring the lines between sweet and savory.

                                                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                                                      The thing is I don't care how anything is made and already know the products they have so I didn't ask any kinds of questions. They were just very nasty for some reason yesterday. The first time I was there it was the same girl behind the counter and she was very gracious in giving out soft serves...maybe just a bad day? Who knows..

                                                                      But Ellen- I told you to make sure you get your sample! Good thing you did you are entitled to it. I recommend the cereal milk soft serve. It is really good but once again their flavors definitely are too much for a regular order.

                                                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                                                        I did try the cereal milk soft serve after my lunch at Ko with my sister (actually she tried the cereal milk, and I tried the peaches and cream). Even though I have a sweet tooth, I found the cereal milk soft serve a bit too sweet, while I found the peaches and cream refreshing. I ordered a full sized portion of the peaches and cream; it was great on a hot Saturday afternoon..

                                                                        1. re: steakrules85

                                                                          It was very hot yesterday, so that could explain it. I did notice a change in demeanor with the service, and they weren't exactly overjoyed to give me my one sample about a week ago when I went.

                                                                        2. re: sugartoof

                                                                          I agree, I don't think it's fair to limit it to one soft serve trial flavor per person when they make some very bizarre tasting soft serve that is really expensive. If their soft serve was more consistently good, then they wouldn't have as many people who leave without ordering. Because honestly, I have had some of the worst soft serve flavors of my life there, stuff you couldn't pay me to eat again.

                                                                          I've gotten to the point where even when CHers say that they have good flavors, I will not try them because I've tasted too many gross ones. Though the pistachio was really good and if I knew they had it I would buy it. But I think Milk Bar is overhyped in general, and they are busy enough that they don't need my business.

                                                                          1. re: windycity

                                                                            They should just try to stick to normal flavors instead of trying things that are WAY out there just for the sake of trying to be different. I mean rosemary soft serve? Really? That was probably one of the worst ideas ever.

                                                                            1. re: steakrules85

                                                                              Never been there but some of the flavors sound too cute/nasty for me. What about regular soft vanilla ice scream. do they sell it. I always judge different ice scream makers on good old vanilla/vanilla bean.

                                                                              1. re: Welcoboy

                                                                                No they dont have vanilla. They have 4 flavors that they feature and change them each month. Usually they all are of the same kind of theme.

                                                                                1. re: Welcoboy

                                                                                  Vanilla is an excellent yardstick. A truly good vanilla with the richness of quality beans and the right proportions of cream, milk, sugar, yolk is like pure love. The cloying vanillas on the other hand, well, I dump them in the trash.

                                                                                  I suspect that a pure vanilla would be too boring for Milk Bar. But vanilla + random kitchen cupboard item selected by a five year old is exactly what I would expect. Blech, chocolate donut softserve.

                                                                                  1. re: windycity

                                                                                    yup, well said. Gimmicky Food + Rude Attitude = What is Wrong With So Many Restaurants in NYC.

                                                                    2. I've been to Milk Bar twice now, and both times have been underwhelmed. To start off, I found the service both times to be pretty surly. Nothing warm, welcoming, or accomodating about it. Just sayin', since I think others have commented on how good the service is. I think that must be very dependent on who is behind the counter.

                                                                      First time I tried the compost cookie, the crack pie, and the Arnold Palmer Cake. Of the three, I actually liked the Arnold Palmer Cake the most, so of course it has been discontinued. I'm actually not bummed about it though because even though I liked it the most, I didn't think it succeeded as a dessert. Each individual element was good -- the cake actually tasted like iced tea, which I thought was pretty cool, the fruit filling was intensely fruit-flavored in a good way, and the cake had a nice consistency. But the elements just didn't harmonize. The flavors were very strange together, and I found myself eating it one layer at a time so the flavors didn't mix. Not how layer cake is intended to be eaten, IMO.

                                                                      The compost cookie was ok, in that I like cookies crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, which this one was. And I LIKE it when my cookies leave a butter stain on the bag. But the cookie had so much ...stuff in it, it almost tasted like it was a bunch of random ingredients held together by some sweet, sticky material. There wasn't much "cookie" to the cookie.

                                                                      The crack pie just didn't do it for me. It tasted muddied. Almost the opposite of the AP cake, where the elements were SO distinctive they never coalesced, the elements here all blended together so I didn't get a real taste of any of them. In theory I should have loved it, since it had the sweet/salty thing going on and it had many of my favorite ingredients, but I just couldn't enjoy any of them.

                                                                      On the second trip I had the cereal milk soft serve and the blueberry muffin cookie. The cereal milk soft serve is a triumph in that my immediate thought upon first taste was "holy crap that REALLY DOES taste like the milk in the bottom of a cereal bowl!!!" So I had three or four spoonfuls, then I thought, "huh, so it just tastes like the milk in the bottom of my cereal bowl." I got over the novelty real fast, and once I did, I lost interest in eating it. The shortcake bits on top were awesome though, so I dug those out, ate them, then tossed the rest.

                                                                      The blueberry muffin cookie tastes exactly like a blueberry muffin top, though maybe more "cakey" then either a real muffin or a cookie. It was pretty good, but I don't feel the need to ever eat it again. I think I'd rather just eat a real muffin.

                                                                      All in all, I want, desperately, to like this place. I adore dessert and sweets, and I salute the spirit, innovation, and completely unapologetic use of indulgent ingredients. But considering the price, the service and, most of all, the "eh" taste of everything I've had so far, I'm not sure I'll ever decide to give it a third try.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: therenowtoo

                                                                        "liked the Arnold Palmer Cake the most...I didn't think it succeeded as a dessert."
                                                                        "compost cookie was ok...There wasn't much "cookie" to the cookie. "
                                                                        "cereal milk soft serve...I lost interest in eating it"
                                                                        "I'm not sure I'll ever decide to give it a third try"
                                                                        As I have noted on another such post I can only admire the stick to it that some chowhounds show Momofuku Milk Bar. To help me understand and maybe a repeat trier myself have you ever succeeded in liking a place the third time after such experiences?

                                                                        1. re: wew

                                                                          To their credit (or sometimes detriment), Momo Milk Bar is changing constantly. Not just the menu, but there have been adjustments made to staple standard items on the menu.

                                                                          I think there's a desire to see new inventive approaches to baked goods, and ice cream, with a trend towards exotic ingredients, and savories...(where else can we find that in NY?).... It's exciting, and I think many of us accept there will be hit and miss... until it's mostly misses. I wish we could trust their creativity would taste genius.

                                                                          It's just their experimental playpad.

                                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                                            "To their credit (or sometimes detriment), Momo Milk Bar is changing constantly. Not just the menu, but there have been adjustments made to staple standard items on the menu."
                                                                            I can think of many, many restaurants that have both the above qualities but I can think of none that receive this trust shown here at Chowhound, the willingness to keep returning. Or even a post that reflects a desire to come back.
                                                                            "new inventive approaches ...a trend towards exotic ingredients" Again I have seen equally boldly expermental restaurants praised and panned but noone shows a willingness to come back again and again.
                                                                            "It's exciting, and I think many of us accept there will be hit and miss..."
                                                                            I can't find a way to read the posts I've refered as hit or miss. Were I the owner I would see them as a list of unhappy pans.
                                                                            Is it possible that the price of the items and informal setting allows for a more playful attitude? Maybe sugar lovers are sweeter?

                                                                            1. re: wew

                                                                              It certainly allows one to come back and spend a few bucks to try it again with little time commitment.

                                                                              What are the other places you were thinking of who take a similar experimental approach? I mean.... who is playing with baked goods? WD50 doesn't really qualify. Who were you thinking of?

                                                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                                                Sorry, I know of no other baked goods in that could be regarded as experimental. When I was thinking of places who take "a similar experimental approach" and who did not recieve similar reception as Momo I was thinking of WD50 and all of Paul Liebrandt's places. The two below comments are representiteve of Liebrandt polarization.

                                                                                "...he's got a lot of talent, sort of like Reggie Jackson cuisine..."
                                                                                "... actually he escaped [from Devil's Island] and went on to open a cigar bar for lepers."

                                                                            2. re: sugartoof

                                                                              I would also note that their ingredients are always top-quality, as is their quality control - I've never had to endure a baker's burnt mistake. I could just as easily walk a couple blocks south to Black Hound for a reliably bland dessert, but I would much rather enjoy something unusual from the Milk Bar. Truth is, you can figure out what you like there pretty fast. I favor the cakes and usually don't get soft serve, and have enjoyed at least 80% of what I've tried. For god's sake, it's the East Village, where I hope there's still some spirit of adventure!

                                                                          2. re: therenowtoo

                                                                            I agree with your assessment overall. I think the only reason why I've given it the chances that I have were because it's part of the Momofuku empire.

                                                                            This in particular summarizes my thoughts on their softserve overall:

                                                                            "The cereal milk soft serve is a triumph in that my immediate thought upon first taste was "holy crap that REALLY DOES taste like the milk in the bottom of a cereal bowl!!!" So I had three or four spoonfuls, then I thought, "huh, so it just tastes like the milk in the bottom of my cereal bowl." I got over the novelty real fast, and once I did, I lost interest in eating it."

                                                                            I don't want to eat someone's unsuccessful experiment. Most of cooking is an experiment but I just feel like there's not enough filter on some of the worse ideas before being introduced to the public. There isn't the sense of refinement or composition that other pastry chefs have. So I have pretty much given up on Milk Bar.

                                                                            Besides, NYC is full of delicious desserts and hardly enough time to eat them.

                                                                            1. re: windycity

                                                                              All I know is -
                                                                              I seriously can't stop thinking about the Candy Bar Pie.
                                                                              I want it.
                                                                              I have wanted it every day since I tried it.
                                                                              I am not a sweet lover but this is the best darn pie I've had...
                                                                              Now - one of our fellow chowhounds had tried it and wasnt impressed at all - so it is all very subjective - But I have got to go back and get some more!!
                                                                              LOVED it

                                                                              1. re: windycity

                                                                                For what it's worth, she also does the much more refined desserts at Ko and Ssam Bar as well as the soft serve machine at Noodle Bar.

                                                                                1. re: kathryn

                                                                                  Oh, the crack and candy pie are fine, satsifies the urge for overly sweet children's food. But, oh, the sheer pretension of this hole! And the hostility of the smug cashier, was not to be believed. Next time you throw my order at me across the counter, Miss Low-Wage-Earner, you're gettin' it thrown back in your face. But, don't worry---I won't be going back.

                                                                            2. Great news! The corn cookies are back, and they're delicious! Bad news: the cornflake/chocolate chip/marshmallow cookies are being discontinued for a while. The fellow at the midtown branch (very nice and helpful) told me that they want to improve the cookie (I love it just the way it is, but if they want to improve it, sounds okay by me).