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Is Momofuko Milk Bar worth a second chance?

I live in the neighborhood so not a strecth to get there but I went one Sunday morning and sampled the cornflake/marshmallow cookie and the compost cookie to very mediocre results. I gave some extras to friends on Monday morning to very average to below average reviews. I also sampled the Volcano which seemingly has all the ingredients worth living for - bacon, potato and gruyere but it was greasy and leaden. Did I pick a bad time or day? I would assume a place focused on baked goods would be baking early morning and daily so what happened?

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  1. I went once, didn't like it. Went again, still didn't like it. Tried a third time to be sure....three strikes they're out.

    1. I've always found their cookies to be just OK, but then again I like cookies a la Levain where they're very soft, not crispy and thin like they are at Milk Bar. I'm also not a fan of the soft serve there, but I am definitely a fan of the Crack Pie-I tried it for the first time last week and have been dreaming of it ever since! It's a small serving, but it's the perfect size because it's so rich. I'd recommend going back there just for that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jess321

        i thought the crack pie just tasted like glue and sugar. not really my thing but i have have a friend who likes it

      2. I tried 3 of their soft serves 3 of their cookies, their crack pie and one of their cakes.
        I didn't like any of it, I thought most of it was way too sweet. thanks for reporting the volcano was bad, it sounded good so i wanted to give it a shot. i seriously doubt u went at a bad time, i just think they're bad. They're open till 11pm or midnight so morning should be best. i think any bakery in manhattan is better. if u want unique desserts with an asian twist i like Spot at st mark's.

        2 Replies
        1. re: daffyduck

          What's good at Spot? I've always wandered by but they have too many options it seems..any favorites?

          1. re: Jess321

            my fav things there were the ice creams: condensed milk, vietnamese ice cream and ovaltine. lol but i'm half asian and these were some childhood flavors that i loved so they might have reminiscing effect. i also liked the yuzu esikmo and white semifreddo, but my fav things were the ice creams. i think the topping i liked the most was chocolate pearls. There's also a 15 percent student discount.

        2. No, I just find it underwhelming and overpriced/overhyped. I agree - 3 strikes and they are out. The only reason why I even gave them 3 chances was because of the Momofuku name.

          1. Basically, it's an 'unusual' bakery, and you're going to either love this place or not. It's almost like an experimental, unapologetically ooey-gooey place, so it's gonna appeal to the people who appreciate that kind of dessert. If you try some items and they're not your type, you probably just don't like the place, and that's fine. I don't think it's a matter of off-days here.

            That said, all of the items are different so you may like a few things and absolutely despise some others (wow I still can't forget that rosemary soft serve, yikes). But don't feel like this place by definition IS GOOD and if you don't agree, you're wrong.

            14 Replies
            1. re: janethepain

              I agree it is a quirky place with some intriguing sounding items. I have been twice and it didn't blow me away. I also think their "one sample" per customer rule is stupid. The girl behind the counter had a real attitude last time also.

              I feel like the best things there are the banana cake, chocolate cornflake cookie and chocolate cookie. Their soft serves are nothing special- they just come up with whackey flavors. I think they would be better off finding some that are customer favorites and keeping those. Then if you want just rotate a few as specials.

              The crack pie is good but not destination worthy. Same thing for their other cakes. I say its a place to try once just to say you have tried it which you have but with so many great spots in the city I say go somewhere else.

              1. re: steakrules85

                The new red velvet soft serve is really good, especially swirled with cream cheese frosting soft serve. I've never liked their soft serve since salty pistachio (when they first opened) but I loved this one. I agree that they really should let you sample more than one flavor.

                1. re: uwsister

                  the red velvet flavor IS ridiculously rich and well, red velvet cake-y. you can't eat very much of it before you feel gross. the scary thing is, a guest didn't finish theirs and left it in the trash. the ice cream melted down and solidified into a big red velvet chunk, practically cake batter. i mean, this stuff is RICH.

                  but yeah, the one sample per customer is ridiculous. come on, it's not like you have 31 flavors that customers abuse the samples for.

                  1. re: janethepain

                    I can actually understand the 1 serving per customer policy - the lines there can get very long, the cashier is the one giving the samples, and there typically aren't that many people behind the counter. I've also seen them relax the rule when it's not that busy.

                    1. re: janethepain

                      I actually finished the entire serving with ease and will be back for more before the month is over -- guess I like it "rich."

                      I've also seen them give out more than one sample, but I think it depends on the counter person. I've had a counter person who was totally nasty (the sample was literally the size of a penny, when I inquired about it he replied "That's the policy" before quickly dismissing me -- and the place was empty) while other counter people were happy to fit in two flavors in one cup or an extra sample after my purchase, etc.

                      1. re: uwsister

                        i usually like rich things too but some of momofukus items i find to be just way too much. for example their eating their crack pie feels like eating super concentrated butter with a boatload sugar injected into it. ive had a counter person that was pretty nasty with samples even though it was obvious i was going to buy something. But that's ok, i'm sure he didn't want to get fired or anything. lol if i owned momofuku milk bar i'd only give one sample. hopefully ppl will think the one flavor they tried was a fluke and still order an ice cream.
                        btw theres a place on st marks that has red velvet frozen yogurt that tastes just as good as momofuku's, it's the place that sells yogurt for 35 cents.
                        i think it's hard to mess up red velvet ice cream. it's kind of like tiramisu ice cream, you're dealing with awesome flavors the worst u can get is a not bad.

                        1. re: uwsister

                          I'm going back to Ko for dinner next week, and plan to stop by Milk Bar for my "fix" of crack pie. Sounds like I might go for the red velvet mixed with cream cheese frosting. I may even buy the chocolate chip cornflake cookie too (I'll diet for the rest of the week).

                          1. re: ellenost

                            You should definitely try the red velvet & cream cheese soft serve! I got another one today. The weather was so nice outside, couldn't resist. Also glad to see someone else needs a regular fix of that crack pie BTW...

                            Steak, next time try asking if you could have two flavors in one cup. I'm convinced it's only one counter person who's really nasty. I didn't have a problem sampling carrot cake soft serve with cream cheese frosting soft serve today (which can be swirled, but still two flavors.) Did NOT like that one, however.

                        2. re: janethepain

                          Yeah it is pretty ridiculous, especially when your local baskin robbins or cold stone does have 31 flavors and they let you sample whatever you want. And you can't tell me they are not any busier than Momofuku.

                          Haven't been but I heard the great gelato places like Grom, L'Arte, etc. will let you sample. And CIF also.

                          Even when it is dead there they refuse to let you taste more than one flavor. I am gunna pay $5 for a flavor I dont like? Please.

                          1. re: janethepain

                            Ew ew ew ew ew. That description of the red velvet softserve was enough to convince me that I don't want to try it. Not that I was big on going back to Milk Bar in the first place, but god, imagine what that would do in your stomach.

                            That is probably the worst thing I have read on chowhound in months. I blame your way with words :)

                      2. re: janethepain

                        I actually liked the rosemary soft-serve topped with olive oil crumbs. Reminded me of Otto's olive oil gelato. Compare that to the white truffle ice cream I had the other day from Ciao Bella in Grand Central? That was truly foul.

                        1. re: Spoony Bard

                          It might be the olive oil crumbs that did the trick - i read a blogger who said it was good that way. but the sample alone was enough to make me gag, and i usually love herbal stuff.

                          I have noticed though that the samples are less ridiculously small. Before they jerked the machine handle up and down in a split second, so basically what you got was a smush of ice cream in those tiny ketchup paper cups. When i got one a few weeks ago, it was a healthy dollop in a bigger plastic condiment-sized cup - I was actually pretty surprised. Though that size sates me enough that I don't want any more usually

                          1. re: janethepain

                            This is my problem with most of their flavors. I really only want to eat a very small amount of them. Which makes it in my book, not that good. I can eat a single pint of Capogiro in one sitting, easy.

                            Ugh, I'm still thinking about that lump of red velvet. I need to go cleanse my brain.

                            20 W 50th St, New York, NY 10020

                            1. re: windycity

                              I haven't tried the red velvet, but I love the cereal milk soft serve. Also the crack pie, though admittedly an occasional indulgence.

                      3. Overall, I like them. I thought the Corn, Blueberry, Compost, and a few other cookies were great. I love the pork bun and egg for breakfast. And I've had a few special breads that were really good and different.

                        As a fat guy, I also love Levain and a few other bakeries in town.

                        But even I think that, if you don't enjoy the product, don't waste the calories and the money.

                        1. They make the pork buns to order, so like them any time of day. You can always get a sample of the soft serve, so take a flyer and try it. The salted cucumber was exactly as stated. The crack pie is basically pecan pie filling, but more condensed. If I were you, I'd definitely give it another try and go for something different.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nyctripper

                            the pork buns are the best things there (out of all the things i tried, the only good thing there). remember though they stop making them after 5pm. you can also get it with a fried egg

                          2. volcano one strike and out for me but i think the blueberry cookie as well as the compost are just fine

                            1. I've been to Milk Bar several times and have really not liked anything. I find the desserts to be extremely heavy handed and lacking finesse. And while the Volcano sounds awesome, I also had the same view as you -- greasy and like lead.

                              You'll find some people to love these things. I really don't and judging from some of these responses, neither do these posters. It seems like your experience wasn't a fluke and it's just probably not your cup of tea.

                              1. I adore the crack pie, the blueberry cookie and the cornflake/marshmallow cookie. I've also enjoyed the soft serve (especially the peach flavor they had last summer). IMHO, yes, it's worth giving Milk Bar a second chance.

                                1. The chocolate cookies are intensely flavored and a little salty - very delicious. I also love the green curry banana bread and the banana cake. The seasonal stollen was great. The blue cheese kimchi croissant is downright addictive.

                                  1. Everything has a same-y almost uncooked taste to it, with no moderation of ingredients. It is what it is. Sounds like you visited on typical days. The only thing I've really enjoyed there was the blueberry cookie, and even that wasn't so satisfying. If they rethought their softee sample policy, I might go out of my way to find an interesting flavor. but so far I've yet to want more than the sample portion of anything I tasted.

                                    1. I'm always willing to give a place a 2nd chance, but not so sure about this one. Went once and got 2 different types of soft serve. Neither were good and both were overpriced. There are too many good dessert places to waste calories on this place. AND I am in love with all 3 other momofukus.

                                      1. I've been 3 times, and most of the things I had were eminently forgettable. The only thing I really liked was the corn cookie, and I think they got rid of it.

                                        1. I love the Milk Bar but obviously I'm in the minority! Most recent purchases were chocolate malt cake and cinnamon bun pie (yes, it's back if you missed it last time around) and I thought both were delicious. I'm more of a Levain Bakery cookie person as well so none of their cookies except for blueberry ones really thrill me, but I do/did love many of their cakes and pies (chocolate chip cake, banana cake, crack pie, etc.) and always like to grab a pork bun to go as well as sample one of those crazy soft serves. Love it or hate it, you won't find anywhere else like it.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: uwsister

                                            Considering the lines and crowds at the Milk Bar, you're not in the minority. I doubt the place is always jam packed with unhappy customers. But it ain't cupcakes and obviously it ain't for everybody.

                                            Anyone tried the new grasshopper pie? Sounds amazing.

                                          2. Went there on Thursday and thought it was eh. Everybody seems to talk about the crack pie like its the 2nd coming. The odd soft serve flavors are fun and whimsical but for almost $5 for 4 ounces not worth it in my mind. The cereal milk tasted like salty cereal. The best thing on the menu there is definitely the pork buns but after Pearl Oyster Bar and a slice at Joe's that doesn't quite make my dessert list.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: js76wisco

                                              I would say it's not really worth a second try. In my mind if a place can't wow me on the first time it isn't worth my time again. Think of all the amazing bakeries in NY. Try something new. Had the ice cream too and thought it was nasty personally. Was really excited by the idea of it thought. Had some chocolate cake with a buttercream filling that had crumbled up yellow cake mixed in it. Was good but just not memorable. Also tried a cookie which I thought was eh as well. Had much much better in Chicago and NY elsewhere.

                                            2. i've been cursing this place all night tonight. i went a few days again and took home three of the compost cookies. they were good, but not great. the concept seems better than the result. all in all, it was merely a good chocolate chip cookie.

                                              being that i suffered the line, i thought i'd make it worthwhile by taking home some Kimchi Butter. my girlfriend is Korean so i was sure it'd go over well. tonight, i boiled some string beans, sauteed them in the kimchi butter, took one taste, and threw the whole thing away. momo-F.U.-ku!

                                              1. I have only been once, and thats only because I am always watching my weight!
                                                If I go back I will not restarin myself - I LOVED what I got - which was a pork bun and the candy bar pie.
                                                The candy bar pie lasted 3 or 4 days for me because it is so rich and delicious, just a few orgasmic bites was good enough...I think it's my favorite dessert ever...
                                                And the pork bun was amazing porky deliciousness...
                                                I really am surprised by the amount of negative responses...
                                                I would def try it again - and highly rec the candy bar pie!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                  i think the best thing there is the pork bun with egg.

                                                2. I loved the chocolate chip and passion fruit curd cake - maybe the tartness of the curd helped counteract the tendency towards oversweetness in pastries here.

                                                  The pork bun with egg, however, was a huge disappointment - there were just too many flavors, with the hoisin and egg clashing in particular.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: daveena

                                                    im a fan of the fried egg, but than again i love a fried egg on pretty much anything. it is a bit messy to eat though.
                                                    lol...for some reason i kind of get the feeling that the goal of each item at the milk bar is to make you fat.

                                                    1. re: daffyduck

                                                      That's the thing - I love a fried egg on everything too - and pork belly + fried egg is usually a guaranteed swoon/drool/slobber for me. This was the first pork belly + fried egg dish I've ever had that I didn't like.

                                                  2. I would agree with others here that Momo - Milk is really a place that one either loves or hates. There just does not seem to be that much of a middle ground.

                                                    I find it to be fantastic, but then again I could keep an entire dentist's office in business with this mouthful of "sweet tooths" that I have. It is certainly very sugary and buttery/fatty.

                                                    1. Finally made a return visit this afternoon (I've never seen Milk Bar so crowded at 3:30 on a Saturday afternoon--I guess great minds do think alike). I had both the red velvet and carrot cake soft serve (cream cheese frosting machine wasn't working--boo hoo since that was the flavor I really wanted); both flavors are great--not too sweet. I had the crack pie, the cornflake marshmallow cookies, a slice of the chocolate chip cake with passion fruit curd, a slice of the chocolate malt marshmallow cake, and pork buns. The chocolate chip cake was new for me, and all of the flavors worked brilliantly. I have adored for a long time the crack pie and the cornflake cookies, and they didn't disappoint. Unfortunately, the pork buns weren't too warm by the time I ate them when I reached my sister's apartment, but the flavor was still great. I am not that crazy about the chocolate malt cake--it's too rich for me. I need to schedule another visit back to try the cream cheese frosting soft serve before they change the flavors.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ellenost

                                                        Too bad the cream cheese soft serve wasn't available! I like that chocolate chip cake with passion fruit curd as well. There are hundreds of chocolate cakes in the city, but you won't find a version like that anywhere, and that's why I love the Milk Bar -- their creativity. I liked the chocolate malt cake, but then again I do like things RICH.

                                                        Grasshopper pie, however, was a disappointment for me and I like mint and chocolate flavors together.