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Oct 27, 2011 12:21 PM

Lunch @ Ssäm Bar

My first David Chang restaurant, and while it's not enough for me to scream "David Chang is God!" (that would probably be Eric Ripert), it is enough to get me to buy the cookbook and swear that I'll be back . . .

Sat at the long communal table -- and therein lies another tale (the people next to us were talking about a friend of ours, a friend we had dinner with the night before! Who says Manhattan is a big city???) -- the service was fine if a bit casual. But the food . . . OMF'ingG!

Friends in Napa told us we had to try the pork buns, and they were incredible! But that was just the beginning -- his take on "dirty rice" (an homage to David Chang's appearances on Tremé?) with duck gizzards, scallions, rice (duh!), and more was delicious. This was followed by veal sweetbreads served with almond, sauerkraut, and Thai chili -- tender, sweet, spicy, and yummy. Then came two of Chang's "signature" dishes at the Ssäm Bar: the rotisserie duck ssäm - chive pancake, bibb lettuce, ginger scallion -- was tender, flavorful, and moist, with crispy skin . . . I was in heaven; and the spicy pork sausage & rice cakes, with chinese broccoli, sichuan peppercorn and crispy shallots that was simply to die for!

This was the best lunch I've had in a long time -- words can't do it justice, but let's just say that Chang has elevated street food to a level of refinement that -- if I lived in NYC -- would DEFINITELY make me a regular!

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

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  1. So glad you got the sausage and rice cakes. Some people skip that item because it sounds kind of weird, but it is by far my favorite item on their menu.

    1. Totally agree with you on the sausage & rice cakes - very different, and very good. Very filling too, which I was surprised by (from the description, I didn't think it'd be all that heavy). Maybe because I couldn't stop stuffing them in my mouth!

      I also quite liked the tripe.

      1. just had lunch at ssam yesterday and it was just bad. not really sure what people are talking i had to drink so much water for the rest of the day.

        dirty rice? more like dirty salty rice.
        duck on rice? i prefer my duck without that fake duck roll/sausage in the middle. i've had better duck at chinatown. the white rice underneath was the best part.
        fried duck dumplings? he should be ashamed to serve that. flavorless, oily, duck meatball in a deep fried shell. tasted like something you could get at costco.
        pork buns? so greasy and flavorless. the pork in ramen is much better than this pork. the only flavor was provided by the hoisin/hot sauce.

        people are truly hypnotized by the david chang trance if they believe this is good.