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Momofuku Ssam Bar - new duck menu

peter j May 11, 2011 09:59 AM

Apparently Momofuku Ssam Bar is offering a new duck menu for lunch starting today. I can't wait to try it.

"[David Chang is] ending weekday lunch service at Ssam Bar and instead, starting at 11:30 today, will offer duck dishes for lunch at stools along the counters in the former Milk Bar space. The menu will be rotisserie duck over rice with a choice of bibb lettuce or scallion pancake, duck sandwich with spicy mayonnaise, and duck dumpling soup with ramps and bok choy. Mr. Chang said the duck lunch, the idea of Ryan Miller, Ssam Bar’s chef de cuisine, may later be available on weekends."


Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

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  1. u
    uwsister RE: peter j May 11, 2011 01:03 PM

    Cannot wait to try this - thanks for posting! I'm hoping to be able to make it there on Friday.

    2 Replies
    1. re: uwsister
      peter j RE: uwsister May 11, 2011 01:37 PM

      Check out this pic from Eater. The new chairs have backs!


      1. re: peter j
        uwsister RE: peter j May 11, 2011 05:08 PM

        I'm cool w/ backless stools, but my husband will definitely be grateful for the ones w/ backs!

    2. f
      fooder RE: peter j May 13, 2011 09:03 PM

      As usual, full review with photos on the blog: http://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot...

      I went there on Thursday and I thought it was spectacular. You order from the counter, pick up your food on trays when they call your number, get your own utensils, and find a seat at the all-communal tables. They have people cleaning the tables and refilling water regularly, and tips can be left on the table or in the jar at the counter.

      The $13 duck over rice gets you half of one side of the breast, over rice and some greens which I was told were red mustard frill. The duck is cooked to a perfect, tender, pink. The duck is juicy and the flavor is fresh. The skin is crisp, and reminds me of good Chinese style barbecued duck, except that it's not as sweet and hasn't been hanging all morning. The rice and greens are extremely satisfying after soaking in some of the flavorful drippings of the duck breast.

      I also had the broccoli salad, which was ok. The smoked eel vinaigrette was not particularly strong, providing only a slight smoky flavor, and the crispy rendered duck skin added some crunchy texture. It was served chilled, and for $5 had a decent amount of broccoli, when you compare it to similarly-priced sides at Otto or Torrisi.

      A couple of customers after me had to wait a little longer as they had just put fresh ducks on the rotisserie. I'm not sure how they would handle it if there were a lot of customers. Overall I thought it was simple, delicious, and satisfying.

      4 Replies
      1. re: fooder
        Riverman500 RE: fooder May 14, 2011 02:49 AM

        Sounds amazing. Thanks for the review!

        1. re: fooder
          RGR RE: fooder May 14, 2011 12:30 PM

          I totally agree with you about the Rotisserie Duck over Rice. That duck was incredible! So fabulous that I said to Mr. R. that it rivals EMP's duck -- and in my book, that's saying a lot!! And, yes, the rice was delicious as well. We got the lettuce and the chive pancakes. Mr. R. wrapped his duck slices in the pancakes with the lettuce and one of the sauce that are on the tables. He said the pancakes were tasty.

          The Duck Dumpling Soup is another winner. Though the broth could have been hotter, it had a nice depth of flavor. The dumplings were fantastic! Tender skins and very flavorful minced duck filling.

          We also got the pickled onions, which come in a jar. What's not to like about pickled anything? But it's really quite a large amount even for two people sharing. I think they should come up with a way to serve individual portions.

          Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          ETA: fooder, I just read your review. When we were there on Friday afternoon, we did place our order at the counter and were given a number. But it turned out that staff provided glasses of water and brought us our food, as well as plates and utensils. Since we thought it was going to be self-serve, Mr. R. had not put a tip on his credit card bill. So, we left a cash tip on the table.


          1. re: RGR
            kathryn RE: RGR May 14, 2011 01:02 PM

            Wow, that is a huge compliment regarding the duck!

            1. re: RGR
              fooder RE: RGR May 16, 2011 09:58 AM

              I think I might stop by again tomorrow. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that it rivals the duck at EMP, although I might be going to EMP early next month so I can try comparing it again then.

              I think that EMP's duck has much more concentrated flavor from the aging while Momofuku's duck has more of a fresh taste to it. So it depends what you're looking for. I wonder how often they get the ducks.

          2. u
            uwsister RE: peter j May 15, 2011 08:42 AM

            Husband and I went on Friday. We ordered duck over rice with chive pancakes and duck dumpling soup. Both were delicious! Loved making sandwiches with duck breast meat, chive pancakes, and condiments on the table. Loved the broth served with the dumplings, herby and complex. I approached the counter for a refill of the broth and was happily obliged. Like other posters, I didn't expect any service, but water glasses were brought to us quickly and were promptly refilled, which we appreciated. Husband thought his glass of Pinot Noir was terrible, but other than that it was an excellent lunch, and I look forward to going back and trying duck buns and duck sandwich.

            1. beetlebug RE: peter j May 15, 2011 10:04 AM

              I'm headed to NY at the end of the week. This duck lunch is going to be my first meal when I get off the train. If I go to the Ssam bar, will the old milk space be obvious? I've checked the momofuku web site but the Milk Bar addresses seem to be in different locations.

              4 Replies
              1. re: beetlebug
                RGR RE: beetlebug May 15, 2011 10:10 AM

                The relocated Milk Bar is on the corner directly across the street from Ssam Bar. The entrance is on 13th St.

                Also, note that lunch is served until 3:30.


                1. re: beetlebug
                  kathryn RE: beetlebug May 15, 2011 01:58 PM

                  Momofuku Ssam Bar is on 2nd and East 13th, the southwest corner. Walk just past the orange cones in this photo and there's the old Milk Bar space. You'll see a neon "milk" sign behind the glass and come to double glass doors.


                  Momofuku Ssam Bar
                  207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: kathryn
                    RGR RE: kathryn May 15, 2011 02:18 PM

                    Oops! I see that I misunderstood beetlebug's question. Thanks, kathryn, for providing the correct info. At lunchtime, there is a sign on Ssam Bar's front door that says something like, "Use the side entrance."


                    1. re: RGR
                      beetlebug RE: RGR May 18, 2011 01:44 PM

                      Thanks Kathryn and RGR. I'm frantically putting together a rough food list and subway directions. This duck is definitely my first meal in Manhattan this trip. I would be very cranky if I couldn't find the entrance.

                      Reports to follow over the weekend.

                2. j
                  jester99 RE: peter j May 16, 2011 08:17 AM

                  went ssam bar this saturday and the duck sandwich is now featured on there. I thought it was tasty! It was basically duck, peppers, spicy mayo and done up panini-like. I want to say they also smeared a good amount of pate from what I could taste but I forgot to ask to confirm. I got to stop by here for lunch to try the rest of the duck stuff

                  1. i
                    InfoMofo RE: peter j May 27, 2011 09:59 AM

                    A few updates as of 5/27.

                    After the whole kerfluffle about the 5 dollar mexican coke, I noticed today that the price has been reduced... to 4 dollars.

                    I still ordered it, just to say I did :). That was probably their plan all along!

                    The reduction of one dollar seems to have been shifted over into an addition to the price of the duck over rice dish. This is now baselined at 14 dollars, lettuce is a dollar extra, and scallion pancakes are 2 dollars; though they are both highly recommended, this brings the lunch dish up to a whooping 17 dollars! I got both this dish and the sandwich. It was a good amount to share between two people.

                    They also say they no longer do takeout orders, as previously advertised. However, you can just order something, and immediately get to-go boxes and a takeout bag, which is what I ended up doing. Not the greenest thing in the world, as they had to waste a porcelain plate setting on me, but I had a hungry boyfriend back home to answer to.

                    Both dishes were excellent- the duck over rice was very moist and the addition of the scallion pancake gives it a little more depth. It is still quite a simple dish for such a high price. My sandwich was just ok. The pate gave it a good texture and all around flavor, but there's not much in it. I think it was fine as we were sharing two plates, but if I was by myself and just getting one dish, I'd go with the rice.

                    Pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomofo...

                    1. k
                      kathryn RE: peter j May 28, 2011 09:03 AM

                      FYI while they are open on Memorial Day they will be serving the regular weekend menu, not the duck lunch menu, for lunch, on Monday. You can still get the rotisserie duck and duck sandwich but none of the other duck lunch dishes.

                      The duck bun has changed. It's now pulled duck, loosely packed, served with basil, smoked mayo, and sauerkraut.

                      So has the duck over rice -- in addition to the breast meat w/ skin, underneath the breast meat is some shredded duck. Mostly dark meat, IIRC. The duck over rice was served with some fresh watercress yesterday.

                      As for the sauces, they are listed on the menu as part of the duck over rice, but they are actually available as condiments on the table. You can add as much as as you want of ssam sauce (they also serve this with the bo ssam), fried shallots, or duck fat ginger scallion sauce. The ginger scallion sauce is different from the version they use on other dishes -- this version has duck fat in it and is brown colored, as opposed to the "fresh" version that is bright green and used for the Bo Ssam.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: kathryn
                        peter j RE: kathryn May 28, 2011 03:57 PM

                        I tried the rotisserie duck ssam for lunch today (Saturday), which was served with rice, chive pancakes, lettuce, pickles, and ginger scallion dressing. So delicious, though not as much duck as I expected. So afterwards I dropped by Xi'an Famous Foods for the spicy cumin lamb burger and Spot Dessert Bar for the cheesecake. I was quite full after that.

                        Xi'an Famous Foods
                        81 St. Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                        Spot Dessert Bar
                        13 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: kathryn
                          ellenost RE: kathryn May 28, 2011 06:12 PM

                          I was planning to try the duck menu on Memorial Day until I checked the website and saw they are serving the weekend menu. I guess I'll have to take a day off from work soon to try the duck menu.

                          1. re: kathryn
                            uwsister RE: kathryn May 29, 2011 02:11 PM

                            I wish they would label the condiments!

                          2. s
                            ssl5b RE: peter j Mar 27, 2012 10:50 AM

                            are you all serious? i could not disagree more regarding the 'duck' experience at ssam. it was truly disappointing in all aspects.

                            the first warning sign was when the rotisserie duck was served with a duck roll/sausage underneath the skin! wtf, chang! if your duck is so 'great' then let it speak for itself. the fried dumplings reminded me of something you get as a costco sampler. the dirty rice was horridly salty. the pancake tasted like frozen indian rotis. i mean come on people!

                            the entire experience makes me question anyone who bestows praise onto chang.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ssl5b
                              Cheeryvisage RE: ssl5b Mar 27, 2012 10:57 AM

                              While my reaction wasn't as extreme as yours, I generally agree regarding the rotisserie duck itself. The "duck" was around 80% pork sausage, you barely got a small sliver of duck breast. It should have been called "rotisserie pork sausage with a bit of duck breast".

                              But I still liked the food, just not the misleading dish name.

                              1. re: Cheeryvisage
                                lexismore RE: Cheeryvisage Mar 27, 2012 12:54 PM

                                Strange - I've been numerous times, and always gotten about 70% duck meat, 30% sausage. If you look on flickr, most shots of the dish reflect this.

                                1. re: lexismore
                                  Cheeryvisage RE: lexismore Mar 27, 2012 01:35 PM

                                  The duck I had was from the large format dinner, but I heard it was the same preparation for both lunch and the large format dinner? I commented on how much sausage there was and nobody at the dinner disagreed, so I doubt it was because I unluckily got the pieces with less duck.

                                  Like I said, it was an enjoyable meal, I just wished there was more duck and less pork. The dinner took place in January of this year (so quite recent), if this matters...

                                  1. re: lexismore
                                    _emilie_ RE: lexismore Mar 29, 2012 11:13 AM

                                    We've had the large format duck ssam a couple of times and yes, ours were more like 70% duck, 30% sausage. I am admittedly not the biggest Momofuku fan, but I think the duck is really great.

                                    1. re: _emilie_
                                      onegirlarmy RE: _emilie_ Apr 12, 2012 02:14 PM

                                      Went here for lunch today and got the '80% pork sausage, 20% duck' experience - so so disappointing. I daresay I would have had a better meal for a quarter of the price if I picked any random restaurant in Chinatown...

                              2. s
                                sheio RE: peter j Apr 12, 2012 02:51 PM

                                I went fully intending to order the highly-recommended duck over rice, but my server made a strong case for his personal favorite, the duck sandwich. My table unanimously voted the sandwich as the winner. The bread is satisfyingly crisp yet chewy and substantial enough to hold everything in - a poorly constructed sandwich is one of my biggest random pet peeves. The sandwich fillings were a perfect flavor/texture combination of fatty and spicy and crunchy. I was also very pleasantly surprised by the complimentary kimchi/pickle plate.

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