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Oct 10, 2012 07:07 AM

Momofuku Noodle Bar - weekday lunch

How early do you need to arrive to avoid waiting for a table during the work week? Does going early on in the week make any difference? Thanks in advance.

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  1. I went on the first week at one - they told me it would be an hour. I went back to work and they texted me. It was actually closer to forty minutes. This was of course the Friday of the first week, so I'm not sure this was representative, and I'm fortunate enough to work five minutes away.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Shorttyred

      Was this to eat alone or in a group? Wondering if they have any bar-type seating that might open up faster for single diners.

      1. re: julesrules

        There are some communal table and some bar stools facing the kitchen and the front window - all well suited for singles.

    2. This was for three, but we sat at the bar over looking the kitchen (which was fascinating). There was a single beside us.

      1. Just went today, got there about 11:45 and sat down immediately. It was rammed by noon though. To be safe I would say between 11:30 and 11:45.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Wino In Training

          I was there at 1pm on a weekday last week, no line up.

          1. re: ace123

            Yeah I had friends show up at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, no lineup. Im not sure this bodes well for such a heralded brand. AFAIK Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC has lineups 24/7

            1. re: themiguel

              I went to the NYC Noodle Bar on a Sat @1 a few months back -- walked in and got a table no problem, no lineups.

          2. re: Wino In Training

            Went right when it opened today at 11:30. All seats were taken by 11:45. There was quite the lineup by 12 noon.

          3. Weekend lunch - no line. no wait. I was there from12:15-2.

            We couldn’t let the meal pass without ordering the two staples of the Momofuku empire: pork buns and the pork ramen. I’d had the pork buns at Ssam Bar in New York, and these were relatively the same; consistency is good. Nice soft bun, fatty pork, and pickled slices of cucumber. The ramen’s onsen tamago is pretty perfectly cooked, we see the familiar pork again (not a bad thing), and broth and noodle, while a little bland, are acceptable. For these cornerstones, neither hit me as particularly memorable. Certainly not bad, but I am left a little flummoxed by the furor that surrounds them.

            The chilled and spicy noodles were interesting. Almost a salad in composition; crunchy candied cashews are generously strewn over spinach and ramen noodles. Large hearty chunks of sausage give it heat and salt. Of all the dishes, I felt that this was the most original.

            Roasted rice cakes in a red chili sauce, with confit onion, sesame, and scallions. If you’re familiar with Korean cuisine, you’ve eaten this dish. The traditional versions I’ve sampled tend to be pretty boring in both texture and taste after the first bite or two. Momofuku’s rice cakes – chewy and occasionally crispy – appealed greatly to me. The roasting in Dave Chang’s dish really adds a lot of depth to it.

            Chicken & Egg is one of two dishes containing rice, and given the description we had from our server, it’s the only true rice dish (Kimchi Stew only comes sided with a bowl of rice). Loved the torched skin on the smoked chicken and we have another appearance of that nicely poached egg – the onsen tamago – in this dish. What killed the dish for me was the mushy rice it sat on. Must have been an off batch – I can’t imagine that this is the norm. I should have mentioned this to the server, but I was in new company and didn’t want to be “that guy.”

            I liked the smoked chicken wings – they were quite tasty in the thick and sticky soy sauce. I did feel like more smoke would be tastier, but that’s a minor gripe. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but it was a tasty and a good snack. Would order this again. Also, after looking at all the photos, I realize they must go through a metric ton of scallions.


            6 Replies
            1. re: jlunar

              Didn't you find the chilled and spicy noodles with candied cashews, a sweet sauce and the raisin (or whatever they were), to be a little too sweet? As much as I liked the roasted rice cakes themselves, I found the onion confit to be more like onion jam. I should mention I have a sweet tooth, but I found these items to be overly sweet.

              1. re: dubchild

                Maybe they dialed back the sugar? The cashews were the sweetest thing in that dish and I didn't feel like t he rice cakes were too sweet at all. I didn't think the onion was jammy at all, but pretty well integrated into the sauce - sorta like strands/noodles in sauce. It was spicy enough to overpower sweet.

                1. re: jlunar

                  Did your noodles contain raisins or some sort of dried berry?

                  1. re: dubchild

                    Nope, not that I could see/taste. Though I didn't eat all the way down to the end of the bowl (was sharing), so if it was buried, I might not have hit it.

              2. re: jlunar

                i liked the chicken & egg dish, but thought it kind of backpedaled on the flavor a bit. i thought the pickles could have been a bit more assertive, the smoke & salt as well. it sort of all blended together in a nicely composed, but kind of indistinct, bowl of flavored rice (which was a bit on the soft side).

                1. re: autopi

                  Hmn. I found the smoke on everything pretty light - maybe too light. I hope their rice isn't what I experienced - it was verging onto congee. I'd give the dish another shot for sure b/c that seemed really off to me. I think the quick pickle was the weakest part in that dish.

              3. Does anyone know what the week-end evening line-ups are like these days?