Quick November 2011 report
Sometimes, I just get lucky. Two visits to NYC within the same calendar year.
Friday lunch - Momofuku Ssam. I'm in a rut and I can't seem to not go to Ssam for lunch. 3 visits, 3 lunches and I can't get past those pork belly buns and duck on rice with the chive pancakes. Love, love, love this place for lunch.
Friday dinner - French Culinary Institute, student prepared dinner. One friend raved about this place and wanted to come here for dinner. It was ok. There were a number of issues with the dinner, the first being that services was bad. They didn't mean to be bad, they were quite friendly, but we would often lose the server and it took forever to pay for the meal. The second big issue is that the portions were way too big. And, I'm a pretty big eater. It's a 4 course prix fixe, appetizer, fish, meat and dessert. Each of the savory aspects could have been a standalone entree. The gnocchi appetizer was delicious but were a tad too heavy and rich. 4-5 gnocci would have been perfect as an appetizer. There were easily twice as many in the bowl. The Pan-Seared Branzino with Assorted Mushrooms, Spinach and Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette was absolutely delicious and perfectly cooked. I also had a bite of the Lemongrass and Kafir Lime Corvina with Beet & Apple Purée, White Sweet Potato and Beurre Blanc. This was also good but a bit too sweet for my taste. My meat course of Pork Osso Bucco and Risotto Milanese was a debacle. Tough and not that much flavor. They had the braise heat on way too high, I think. None of the desserts appealed to me but I ordered the Pumpkin Sponge Cake with Milk Chocolate Mousse and Apple Chips.
Saturday am - spent it in Flushing with breakfast at Nan Xiang for XLB. yum yum yum.
Saturday dinner - Momofuku Noodle Bar for fried chicken two ways. Not my choice either, I would have gone for Ssam for Bo Ssam. But I was happy to try this. I liked it, am glad I did it, enjoyed the experience, but don't feel the need to go back for fried chicken at the noodle bar. I thought the Korean fried chicken was better then the southern. But, I also thought that Bon Chon had better Korean fried chicken. The southern was a bit overfried and it lacked flavor, which ended up being fine since I smothered it with the various accompanying sauces. My biggest complaint was the moo shi pancakes. Way too thick and only lukewarm when we got them. These pancakes needed to be a hair thinner. I was shocked at the line outside at 530 pm and was happy that we were able to cruise right to our table.
Sunday brunch - Breslin. Loved this as well. We split a bunch of the pastries. I think I only got a nibble of the croissant. Warm and buttery. The baked eggs with tomatoes and chorizo as well as the lamb burger with cumin mayo and THRICE fried fries were the standout. Those french fries were amazing, especially dipped into the cumin mayo. Lamb burger was terrific as well but a bit overshadowed by the fries.
This was probably the least amount of food I've eaten on a NYC trip. There just wasn't enough time and my traveling companions all had teeny stomachs. I can't believe I didn't make it to C-town once for anything. I could have used an ice cream from the Ice Cream Factory or a lamb sandwich from Xi'an Famous Foods. Overall, I was thrilled to have my duck on rice again and would definitely re-visit the Breslin. The hotel lobby looked wonderful as well.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
French Culinary Institute
462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013
20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001