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Best Momofuko experience

Coming in from Toronto and want a Momofuko experience. Which restaurant should I go to? When should I go (lunch, dinner or late night) I am currently thinking about the Noodle Bar and having the fried chicken deal. We are BIG foodies and are fairly adventurous.

Thanks for any insight you can offer.

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  1. The fried chicken at Noodle Bar is excellent, but needs to be reserved in advance via the Momofuku website. I've been to all of the restaurants, and love all of them (OK, have to admit that Momofuku Ko and Ma Peche are my favorites). I think dinner is the best time to go for all of the restaurants. Ssam Bar has some delciious duck dishes that are available only at lunch. If you do have a few people, you can reserve for the large format duck ssam at either lunch or dinner, again via the Momofuku website.

    BTW, a new Momofuku restaurant is opening shortly in Toronto.

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

    Momofuku Noodle Bar
    171 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

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

    Ma Peche
    15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

    12 Replies
    1. re: ellenost

      Thanks for the reply! I have to admit that I like the look of the menu at Siam the most. My finacee and I love duck as we have family in Quebec and if you did not know Quebec has the best duck..so we would love to see it done by Chang. I am also wondering about the bo ssäm – whole butt, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice, lettuce from Siam as well...have you or anyone tried it? Does whole butt imply pork?

      At Ma Peche I am wondering about the beef dish as we are visiting from Toronto to celebrate my father's 70th b-day and my 40th. We have been weekend steak eaters for our whole lives and think we know a thing or two about beef. I have copied the offerings...

      beef 7 ways
      $450 total for parties of 4 – 8 people

      tendon (creekstone farm, ks) – basil, tatsoi, plum vinaigrette
      wagyu (imperial beef, ne) – ginger, scallion, radish
      meat pie good farm, ks) – tongue, potato, caramelized onions
      ribs (niman ranch, ia) – fried garlic, kunz ketchup
      cote de bœuf (4 story hill farm, pa) – butter, thyme, garlic
      brisket (niman ranch, ia) – marrow, chili jam, shallots
      oxtail soup (pineland farm, me) – tamarind, mint, cilantro

      It sounds incredible...thoughts?

      Yes, we are very excited about David Chang's desicion to open north of the border. It will be very interesting to see how he does. There is a restaurant nearby to us downtown called Swish by Han and it is the only thing like Momofuku.

      Ma Peche
      15 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

      1. re: kingkolo

        Whole butt = whole shoulder (butt) of a pig. Pigs have 4 legs, so thusly have 4 shoulder butts.

        I've done the Beef 7 Ways and it is quite heavy. A TON of beef. I don't know about your appetite for beef, but I found 7 beef courses to be incredibly filling, and I was satisfied after about the 4th course.

        1. re: kathryn

          two shoulders (front)- butt is actually just the upper part of the shoulder, two HAMS (rear) different cut altogether and prepared a different way.

        2. re: kingkolo

          The large format duck at Ssam Bar is incredible! Since you will have 6 in your party, it would be perfect for you. Same with the fried chicken at Noodle Bar. I've also had the Bo Ssam at Ssam Bar. There were too many people in our group (11), and I ended up with some meat that was a bit stringy. I'd like to try it again with a smaller group. I've always wanted to try the Beef 7 Ways at Ma Peche. Again, since you have a good sized group, you definitely should try it if your group wants beef. So, you do have 4 good choices: fried chicken, roast duck, pork or beef. Whichever you choose, I am certain you will have a delicious time!

          1. re: ellenost

            Out of the 4 large format dinners, I've had the fried chicken and roast duck. I'd definitely recommend the duck over the chicken. The fried chicken, while good, isn't anything you can't get elsewhere. On the other hand, the duck dinner is fantastic and the way it's roasted is special (pork sausage piped under breast skin).

            1. re: ellenost

              Is the duck too much food for 2 adults? I'd like to try it but it sounds like that's all we would be able to try and I'd like to taste other items on the menu as well.

              1. re: Pink_pug

                They serve the duck over rice (for one) at lunch, too, if you just want to try it. Every day of the week. On weekdays they have the "all duck" menu but on weekends, it's just another dish on the regular lunch menu.

                1. re: Pink_pug

                  The large format duck is too much for 2 adults (I had it with my sister, and we had leftovers for 2 days; it was very "yummy" as leftovers though!). The large format duck is now listed as available for a minimum of 3 people--wise change. The lunch duck dishes are available as individual portions (or I'm sure 2 people can share one portion, and add side dishes to supplement).

                  1. re: ellenost

                    I can recruit one other and prove this theory incorrect, but yes - they will not even serve it to two persons. I had a friend inquire.


                    1. re: ellenost

                      I guess we'll try to have lunch there. I still haven't been to any of the Momofuku restaurants and the Ssam bar seems to fit our needs best. Thanks!

              2. BTW, it's spelled Momofuku, not Momofuko, it's a U not an O at the end. (For future searchers).

                For the most menu variety, do dinner, not lunch or late night.

                What's your budget? The Momofuku restaurants span a wide range of very expensive to moderate (and even cheap if you count Milk Bar). Ko is the most expensive (tasting menu only, $125 for dinner, $175 for lunch), next is Ma Peche, then Ssam Bar, then Noodle Bar.

                Ko takes reservations for as does Ma Peche, but Ko only does party sizes of 1, 2, or 4. Ma Peche will let you reserve for the regular menu and is more flexible on party size (anywhere between 1 or 10 people). No reservations at Ssam or Noodle unless you do a group meal.

                How big is your group? IMO it doesn't make sense to come all the way from another country and do one of the group meals unless you've already made your way through the regular menu. The big group meal means you really won't be able to try a variety of dishes on the regular menu.

                I would read this for more info:

                IMO, these are the "signature"/most famous dishes at each (usually on the menu regardless of season):

                Noodle Bar - Momofuku ramen (though many ramen-philes are not fans), steamed pork buns, ginger scallion noodles, fried chicken group dinner

                Ssam Bar - Pickle plate, steamed pork buns, country hams, pork sausage & rice cakes, Bo ssam pork shoulder group dinner. I would say the apple kimchi is a signature dish too but it's usually available only in the fall.

                The new BRT/BAR bun might be considered a new signature dish. I've seen it as a recurring daily special (the specials are not listed on the online menu or printed menu, but given verbally). Pressed belly, radish, tomato, with smoked mayo in the summer and belly, avocado, radish, Thai basil, with smoked mayo, when tomatoes are out of season. Apparently they only make it when they have enough leftovers from the regular buns, so it is not always on the menu.

                Ko - Coddled egg with soubise onions, caviar, potato chips and the shaved frozen foie gras with riesling Jelly, lychee, and pinenuts. Both available of course via the tasting menu. The foie is served at lunch and dinner. The egg only at dinner.

                Ma Peche - The raw bar, summer rolls, beef tartare, vegetable side dishes, and pork chop also seem to be mainstays of the dinner menu.

                Milk Bar - Crack pie, cereal milk, cereal milk soft serve, compost cookie. These are the most talked about items. A lot of CHers note that the pies/cookies can be very sweet.

                Momofuku Milk Bar
                251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003

                2 Replies
                1. re: kathryn

                  The pork belly with smoked mayo bun is exquisite. I haven't tried it with avocado but I will soon.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I appreciate the effort you put into the reply...thanks!

                    Here is the deal...I am going with my fiancee, my mother and step father and my brother and gf. My step father is turning 70 and I am turning 40 meanwhile my bro is 12 years younger and his gf is even younger. Why am I telling you this..well it is a strange diverse group. The old folks not too adventurous, my brother and his younger gf are open to things but fairly simple in thier tastes and my fiancee and I are complete foodies who love offal more than a loin of something. She is Japanese and loves fresh fish and exotic flavours and I am open to anything and everything of high quality.

                    With that said we love fried chicken done well...same with duck...same with beef. We also like the idea of sharing in a big meal.

                    We do not want the Ko experience as we have simply had it with tasting menu's. We swore them off while in a terribly expensive and high end restautrant in Provence this past summer. My parents and brother and gf are also not that keen on spending too much.

                    Any additional thoughts are appreciated.

                  2. I liked the large-format duck dinner at Ssam Bar better than fried chicken at Noodle Bar, but Ko is easily the best and most exciting of the restaurants. I'd recommend going for lunch, since it's longer and involves more dishes. Just be at your computer at 10 a.m. on the dot to snag a reservation.

                    1. Dollar for Dollar Ssam is the best of the group (though I've not been to Ma Peche.)

                      Ko is on par with the most expensive tables in town in terms of price but not in terms of comfort or ingredient quality, in my honest opinion. It is good, but not great.

                      Noodle is good for what it is, but many argue there are much better noodles in town (and especially in Toronto.)

                      Ssam is something else entirely - delicious, innovative, even (Dare I say) pleasant.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: uhockey

                        Saam sounds awesome...maybe I am beginning to lean in that direction. The menu looks incredible! If I did not go with a set menu how long is the line on a Monday, tues, wed, thurs?

                        1. re: kingkolo

                          Hard to say how long the wait will be because you will have 6 people with you. They only have a few tables large enough for a group that size, those big tables are usually reserved for people doing the big group meal, and most of the other seating is for 2-4 people. Earlier in the week will probably be better.

                          Earlier in the evening may or may not be better because the times of the big group meals are around 6pm and 10pm -- so arriving at 8pm may actually work well as you can grab a table that has just been vacated.

                          If it were me, I'd try for Monday (assuming it's not a US holiday) and be patient. I might email them and ask what they recommend re: arrival time, as I can't remember how many bo ssams/duck ssams they book each night.

                      2. One more question...which one of these would you go to after a Knicks game on a Wednesday night? It would be just 4 of us...

                        1. Going to piggyback on this post! Coming from Toronto wondering which Momofuku would best best for solo dining - lunch or dinner? Which restaurant? ALSO, I don't love carbs (noddles) but I do love fish, meat, and veggies...

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: LemonLauren

                            Assuming you are excluding Milk Bar...

                            They're basically all good for solo dining (Noodle, Ssam, Ma Peche, Ko). They all have some form of counter seating, with Ma Peche having the smallest counter at their raw bar. In fact Ko is all counter seating.

                            You can have a totally noodle free meal at Noodle Bar, BTW. Check out the online menu.

                            If you love fish, meat, and veggies, any of them will work for you. But I think Ssam and Ma Peche will work best given that both menus have a la carte options -- I can't get a sense of how picky an eater you might be.

                            Ko is a tasting menu only. Do you have any foods you absolutely cannot eat? Ko's two signature dishes are a sous vide egg with caviar and shaved frozen foie gras with lychee, Reisling gelee, and pinenut brittle -- do you like eggs and foie?

                            Ma Peche is prix fixe plus a la carte options. It also has an excellent raw bar, usually with several different oysters available, as well as crab legs, squid salad, etc. And they usually have a few raw fish dishes on the menu. Does that interest you? They also have a rotating selection of seasonal vegetables and you can get all 3 as a sampler, which is nice, if you have a particular interest in vegetables.

                            Note that Ko and Ma Peche do NOT serve the famous pork belly buns. Milk Bar, Noodle Bar, and Ssam Bar do.

                            The biggest question will be budget. Ko is $125 for dinner and $175 for lunch. Ma Peche is the next most expensive. Then Ssam Bar and Noodle Bar. Though Noodle Bar will be more expensive for you if you skip out on any noodle dishes--probably on par with a meal at Ssam, around $40 before tax, tip, drinks.

                            See also:

                            1. re: kathryn

                              Ma Peche does serve the famous/fabulous pork belly buns at lunch.

                              1. re: ellenost

                                Ah, that explains it. My most recent meal was at dinner, when they only have the lobster bun.

                              2. re: kathryn

                                Thanks Kathryn! You're a star. Given budget, am thinking Ssam or Noodle Bar. Thanks!

                                1. re: LemonLauren

                                  Agreed...Kathryn, you have been a star...thanks for all of your input!

                                  1. re: LemonLauren

                                    btw my fiancee want to know what crack pie is?

                                    1. re: kingkolo

                                      Think of it as a pecan pie without the pecans. All gooey filling inside. The consistency of a lemon bar.

                                  1. re: LemonLauren

                                    I've dined many times solo (at both lunch and dinner) at Ko and Ma Peche, and have always had a wonderful time! Dined solo at Ko this week, and everything was delicious! I've also had lunch and dinner at Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar (not solo--but wouldn't see a problem with either restaurant as a solo diner). Noodle Bar has a number of ramen dishes which might not be to your liking.

                                  2. i dont want to hijack here, but is there a major quality difference between the Milk Bar locations? I went to the one just south of Union square on my last trip to NYC and it was my first (and only) experience at Milk Bar, because i was extremely underwhelmed by the Crack Pie AND the cookies, which i have heard so much about. they were definitely not fresh, seemed to have been packaged at least a day before and been sitting under the counter waiting to be ordered, which was uber disappointing.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: mattstolz

                                      All their baked goods are baked out of a central location in Williamsburg and individually sealed there. They make daily deliveries to the other locations.

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        good to know... i was seriously starting to wonder what all the hype was about. is it worth making it to the williamsburg location?

                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                          I haven't been yet -- might want to ask on the Outer Boroughs board.

                                    2. I would recommend checking out some noodle bars on the East Side, that are independent owned. I have had extensive conversations with sushi chefs of Japan origin as well as wait staff in Japanese restaurants of Japan origin, and all state that there are some really good noodle places in the East Village.

                                      Here are some of what they have mentioned:
                                      Kuboya Ramen btw ave. A and ave B on 6th St.

                                      Sapporo East: 164 1st Avenue

                                      I would forget this Momofuko.

                                      Go for the nitty gritty hands on down home authentic.

                                      You are visiting, so go east side and check out these places and the others in the area. That is just my suggestion.

                                      Sapporo East
                                      245 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

                                      536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: jonkyo

                                        What do you have against Momofuku?

                                        The OP and others are specifically asking for recommendations regarding the Momofuku restaurants. The Momofukus offer exciting, creative dishes drawing influences from all sorts of cuisines. Nobody goes to the Momofuku restaurants looking for authenticity, that's not what the restaurants are about at all. Not sure why you'd warn people away from a group of really wonderful restaurants and recommend ramen. I've nothing against traditional ramen, but it's a different genre of food from what the majority of the Momofukus offer.

                                        If the OP and others were looking for authentic ramen, they'd have asked and started another thread.

                                        1. re: jonkyo

                                          Momofuku, not Momofuko, it's a U not an O at the end.