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Nov 23, 2009 06:45 AM

Momofuku Ko reservations

Hi there,
I have a reservation for two for tonight at Ko, but, for personal reasons, it's be better enjoyed by someone else... Unfortunately, I remembered 2.5 hours too late last night...
I would rather not pay the $300.00 cancellation fee, but I would rather give the reservation to someone who will really enjoy it.
Any advice on how to handle this?
If I give the reservation to a friend, is that ok with the restaurant?

Thanksgiving: putting the FUN back in dysfunction...

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  1. I dont think that's an issue. I dont believe they check your id when you get there

    1. Shouldn't be an issue, I had res at Noodle Bar and the website said to have ID ready but I was never asked, as long as the people know your name it shouldn't be an issue.

      2 Replies
      1. re: roro1831

        as long as they're getting paid for dinner why would they care, right?!

        1. re: smokeandapancake

          They do care because they don't want people selling reservations. From what I gather it's one of the reasons they set up the odd reservation system they have.

      2. You should get a confirmation email from them that you say to print out. As long as your friend brings this is with them, you'll be fine.

        I went a few months ago and they didn't ask for my personal ID but they did ask for that confirmation email.

        21 Replies
        1. re: tastyeating

          After trying to make reservations for SO at Ko and Noodle Bar using their annoying system I can't understand why anyone would go through this. Is the food really THAT good????

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Yes it is really that good. I've gone about a dozen times (lunch and dinner). I'm usually flexible when it comes to getting a reservation; I would never plan for a particular date since there are so few seats.

            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              No its not. Better off going to a place that has a normal reservation system and treats their customers with some dignity and respect like Gotham Bar and Grill, Robuchon, EMP, Hearth, Marc Forgione, etc.

              1. re: Ricky

                How does Ko not treat "their customers with some dignity and respect"?

                1. re: KTinNYC

                  Perhaps it is there utter indifference to your experience. Perhaps it is the extreme boredom etched in their faces. Perhaps it is that they do not engage their guest on any level. Perhaps it is that they can't be bothered to talk about the wines they select to pair with each course (or worse, don't know anything about it, and are just following directions of Sssam's beverage director). Perhaps it is that not once does anyone ask if you are enjoying something.
                  Is it that they are too cool for school, or bored out of their skulls? You tell me.

                  1. re: cafin8ny

                    Sorry, but I have to disagree with you 100%. I've been to Ko for both lunch and dinner more than a dozen times in the past 2 years, and I've always found the service at Ko to be friendly and attentive. I've had numerous conversations with the staff regarding wine selections. The staff always asks how I've enjoyed my courses, and the chefs definitely express a serious interest about new courses that have been added. (BTW, great new desserts at both lunch and dinner). I have no idea what restaurant you went to, but you definitely did not dine at Momofuku Ko.

                    Momofuku Ko
                    163 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: cafin8ny

                      I have to agree with cafin8ny. I just went for my fourth time recently, and the food and atmosphere had taken a bit of a nosedive. The dishes were uninspired, the chefs seemed bored and annoyed that they had to cook for us, and I honestly can't say a single dish would be worth going back for. The staff has turned over a bit since the beginning and David was not in the house, and these changes were blatantly apparent. The chefs even rudely snapped at the lady next to me for not informing them on the reservation that she didn't eat red meat, despite the fact she was on a date and most likely didn't even make the reservation. Such a classless remark by the chef set the tone for the meal, which pretty much was something I could get a dozen other 1-starred places. Ko is done unless Chang gets focused again.

                  2. re: Ricky

                    I prefer the reservations system at Ko to... say... Balthazar or Minetta Tavern. At either of the latter restaurants the chances of my getting a table there after 5PM and before 11PM is exactly zero-- because I'm not Someone. Sure, I could eat at the bar, or suck it up and eat at a strange time... but is that dignity and respect?

                    Ko is still very hot right now. And if you really want to get a reservation there, you can. And you don't have to be an A/B/C/D-lister to do it.

                    1. re: egit

                      OK, I'm definitely not somebody{from out of town} and every time I've eaten at Balthazar, I've had a great reservation time.

                      1. re: KateMW

                        Perhaps I was being a bit hyperbolic. I know Balthazar isn't that hard to get into. But there is still a lot of "5PM or 11PM"' when you call a restaurant where you know perfectly well they have seats for VIPs. Ko doesn't engage in that, which is in part why I like it.

                  3. re: financialdistrictresident

                    I made reservations at Falai, Aldea and The Modern - Dining Room. All use, all make it easy for diners to make reservations more than 1 week in advance. And to think I wasted so much time getting set up on Momofuku's ridiculous and annoying system! PS Isn't this a service industry????

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Momofuku Ko's reservation system may be confusing at first, but you can't argue with its egalitarianism. Every single seat is available online; none of them are held for VIPs or visiting chefs, unlike virtually every other ambitious restaurant. Everyone with internet access has an equal chance* at scoring a seat.

                      * A fast connection and browser will obviously help.

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        How exactly is it ridiculous and annoying? it takes the same amount of time to set up as an Open Table account. Per Se is on Open Table but good luck trying to find the night and time you want unless you are logged on immediately when they release in the system (assuming they actually get released there 2 months in advance, which I'm not sure of).... same as Momofuku Ko

                        Not to mention, all those places you list serve more than maybe 25 covers per night. Trying to get momofuku ko reservations may be frustrating but it has to do with demand and the extremely limited supply. Cause you haven't been able to snag one of the ~140 seats available each week for dinner even though you have exactly the same chance as every since person in the world? How is this not indicative of a service industry? Instead of calling two months to the day at exactly 10 am

                        1. re: ESNY

                          Yes, the system is quite straightforward, and you also have to ask yourself how dumb Ko would have to be to pay someone to sit on a phone all day telling people they're fully committed.

                          1. re: ESNY

                            You also need a great deal of patience in addition to internet access. Unfortunately some of my favorite smaller places are not on opentable. I don't call two months to the day at 10 AM . . . or click with a fast connection and browser at 10 AM every day, each week. I take my chances as a walk in at an odd time or make a reservation at another restaurant. NEXT . . .

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              FDR, I see you posted this at 9:59. Did you finish up your comment so abruptly so you could log on to and try to get your Ko rezzie? :-)

                              I think it's a matter of what each of us will tolerate. I don't mind the internet reservations so much, as long as I know there isn't a "secret" website that VIPs use that gets them right in with no difficulty whatsoever.

                              I'd rather eat my meals when I want to eat them (7-9pm dinner), rather than rearrange my whole schedule and eat when I'm not normally hungry just so I can score a seat at the bar at X restaurant. This is not a criticism of that practice, but it's not one that I'm willing to do to get in to most places.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                FDR: But you fail to point to any alternative. If Ko was on Open Table, you wouldn't find it any easier to make reservations, and I honestly don't believe you'd be any happier being put on hold for ten minutes only to be told nothing is available. The internet system saves you the time and frustration of the phone call.

                                The bottom line is that Ko seats 12. What would you do if you ran the place?

                                1. re: Wilfrid

                                  Wilfrid, the alternative for me is to frequent another restaurant. Competition is a wonderful thing and I'm grateful to have so many restaurants to choose from. I would not wait on hold for 10 minutes to make a dinner reservation.

                                  A successful business owner might choose to move, expand or open more restaurants to serve more customers. Or they might make a business decision that their concept is to have 12 seats and accept that demand will always exceed availability if the quality is there.

                                  Degustation only has about 14 seats and I've never had a problem getting a reservation there. Of course, not having been to Momofuku I can't compare the quality of the food.