What to have at Momofuku Ssam?
Hello, based on what I've read, I've narrowed down a few dishes. Would appreciate some thoughts on the same. It's a group of 4 people who'll be having dinner there. We're open to eating/trying anything. I'm not sure if this'll be too much/too little for us.
1. spanish mackerel – black garlic, strawberry, lime (i did not see anyone recommending this but it looked interesting)
2. seasonal pickles
3. steamed buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions (of course!)
4. benton’s smoky mountain ham (madisonville, tn) (how salty is this in comparison to some of the others?)
5. honeycrisp apple kimchi – maple labne, jowl bacon, arugula
6. veal sweetbreads – goat cheese, watermelon, almond (did not see any recommendations for this either)
7. charred spanish octopus – pine nuts, celery, black olive
8. bev eggleston’s pork shoulder steak – blue cheese, peach, shishito
9. spicy pork sausage & rice cakes – chinese broccoli, sichuan peppercorn
10. They just have 2 desserts on the menu so both I guess:
- tri-star stawberry sorbet – celery root, ritz crunch
- corn ice cream pie – raspberries, thai basil
Some other things that looked interesting:
1. maine uni – heirloom tomato, cantaloupe, shiso
2. jerusalem artichoke soup – snails, pork jowl, jalapeno
3. roasted maitake – olive berry, liver mousse, purslane
4. beef tendon – beets, mustard seeds, chicharon
I am dining here tomorrow (Wed), solo, for lunch.
I want to try everything - but that won't be possible of course. I have no frig in my hotel so leftovers won't even work!
Would someone be so kind as to propose The Perfect Solo Lunch?
I love duck and pork. I am coming from South Florida so fresh seafood is NOT that huge of an attraction as far as "unusual" goes.
Thanks for the advice. My Wednesday afternoon (3PM just before closing) lunch was terrific!
* Rotisserie Duck Over Rice Set - Rotisserie Duck over rice w/ lettuce and chive pancake, side choice of seasonal pickles $20
* Fuji Apple Kimchi - Maple Labne, Jowl Bacon, Arugula $13
Kitchen winding down after lunch rush
Main dining room
Thank you everyone for the advice. Here's what we ended up getting,
1. Oysters with Kombu Mignonette - Very good
2. Santa Barbara Uni - Good
3. Striped Bass - Excellent, probably my fav. of the night
4. Seasonal Pickles - Good
5. Steamed Buns - Good
6. Fuji apple kimchi - Very good
7. Charred Spanish octopus - Good
8. Pork sausage and rice cakes - Very good
9. Pork steak - Good
10. Desserts: The special - layered pancakes with bacon a peppery sauce - Not good
The smaller plates/appetizers were probably a little better than the entrees (which seems to be the general trend that I've noticed at nice restaurants). Good service. The only thing that was bad was the dessert. It was a special recommended by our server and at $24 wasn't really cheap. Cold, hard, layered pancakes with bacon on the side and a sauce that was very salty and very-very peppery. I really did not understand the point of this dish. He did say that it was a breakfasty dessert but IMO, it should not have made it to their menu at all.
A fun meal on the whole. I would love to go back to try their duck ssam dinner. How does that work BTW? Is it a fixed quantity or do they adjust it based on the number of people (3-6) that you make reservations for? Thanks!
I believe you must order the duck in advance. We were a party of 6 last week. They brought out the whole duck, in all its golden brown glory, and then carved it and brought it back out with greens, pancakes a bed of rice and 4 sauces.
We had a few sides with it and it was plenty of food. The duck was cooked perfectly. I'm salivating just thinking of it.
I'm coming in from out of town and would like to order the whole duck ssam.
Thing is, there will only be 2 of us eating.
Does Ssam Bar do a downsized version of this dish? I'm more into the pancake than rice, really - so am unsure of the duck over rice set.
Would 2 people be able to hand this all on their own, or is that foolish?
Hi, unfortunately, my original Momofuku plans fell through because of Sandy and it took 5 months to give it another shot :) The menu has changed a little and I'm planning on skipping the pork steak so I was hoping to get some comments on the choice of dishes. We're 4 people.
1. Santa Barbara Uni
2. Striped Bass
3. Spanish mackerel
4. Seasonal Pickles
5. Steamed Buns - 2 orders
6. Fuji apple kimchi
7. Charred Spanish octopus
8. Pork sausage and rice cakes
9. Wanted to try a fish dish. Any recommendations?
And, we'll get dessert. Does this look OK? Thank you!
Recent similar thread:
Start with a dozen oysters w/ kombu mignonette, and drop one of the two raw fish dishes. They are petite and each person will get maybe 2 bites if you share among four.
If you've never had their country ham with redeye gravy, get one of those.
Overall, you're probably a bit too heavy on the fish dishes. You probably don't need to add one for #9 -- try something else, maybe more "meat"-y for variety.
Fuji apple kimchi with maple labne - you probably need 2 orders for the 4 of you.
The rice cakes & sausage is pretty meaty, but if it's "big hunk of meat" you're thinking, yeah, the pork steak (which is good, but nothing I'd go out of my way for) or rib-eye if you really want to splurge.
You can also try to book the Duck Ssam as you "meat" dish - that way you have a reservation as well.
I guess if I were dining with a four-top, and money was no object, my order would break down into "courses" something like:
Dozen Oysters to start
two orders of everything else from the raw bar section
Veal Head Terrine
Whatever looks good.
True, I didn't list the buns or kimchi/labne or rice cakes, but I've had those a million times. So that's just my order, above. Chances are we'd wind up ordering some buns, anyway.
Absolutely get the uni - whatever prep they do actually, it's an ingredient the kitchen really has an affinity for - and get two orders if it's for four people.
Also definitely get the liver mousse - it's fantastic. One order would be enough for the four of you on that one.
Then, I'd get almost everything in your first ten. I'd probably skip the ham plate - if I want ham on a plate, I'll go buy some good ham retail. It's not really cheffed up enough for me to warrant the price.
If I were to drop anything else from it, it'd be either the pork buns or the apple kimchi, as those are things that are always on the menu. That said, a meal at Ssam without at least one pork buns just doesn't feel right.
You might not need BOTH the pork steak and the sausage & rice cakes - but if you're good eaters, you'll do fine.
So I eat at Ssam almost every week, and based on the current menu, I would skip the pork buns (unless you've never had Momofuku pork buns ever), and absolutely skip the ham. Must eats are the rice cakes, the market greens, anything off the raw bar, the new goat sandwich, the noodles, the apple kimchi (i am obsessed), and the large format pancake cake dessert if they still have it.
In September, two of us had the pork buns, bread, uni with cantaloupe, soft shell crab, and lamb. I had sampled heavily earlier in the day (La Maison du Macaron, Russ & Dtrs, Katz's, Yonah Schimmel Knishery, Chop Shop, Donut Plant--don't judge, it's just a point of reference!) and my husband was famished, so it was the right amount of food for us. Of course we loved the pork buns! If I had my normal appetite, the lamb would not have been a sufficient "large plate". Out of our other dishes, they were all good but not individually memorable, which is unfortunate in that I can't give better descriptions beyond my general impression, but I will say we absolutely loved our meal, and it was one of our most enjoyable overall restaurant experiences of recent memory. The crab was my 2nd favorite, after the buns, which is saying a lot, because normally I don't love the texture of soft shell. The uni was fun in that we do not often find it outside of sushi joints, but I found the preparation a bit disjointed. We were both too full for dessert, but stopped at Milk Bar for the cereal milk soft serve anyway. This was the right dessert for the night and we ate it as we walked back to Chelsea, yet neither of us finished our cones. Also, since you're on site, I recommend a cocktail or more at Booker and Dax.
Thanks! So based on the suggestions, 7-8 savory dishes:
1. seasonal pickles
2. steamed buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions (of course!)
3. benton’s smoky mountain ham (madisonville, tn) (how salty is this in comparison to some of the others?)
4. honeycrisp apple kimchi – maple labne, jowl bacon, arugula
5. bev eggleston’s pork shoulder steak – blue cheese, peach, shishito
6. spicy pork sausage & rice cakes – chinese broccoli, sichuan peppercorn
2 out of:
1. Whole fish of the day
2. Raw fish preps - Any recommendations from amongst the Oysters, Bass, Mackerel and Uni?
3. veal sweetbreads – goat cheese, watermelon, almond (did not see any recommendations for this either)
Just curious is the rice cakes dish anything like the bacon-rice cakes dish at Mission with sausage instead of bacon? That is a phenomenal dish!
Don't know if Momofuku's rice calke dish is the same as the one at Mission, but I've never heard enthusiastic comments about Momofuku's overly spicy rice cake dish from anybody that I've sent over there or others that I know who dined there. I personally hate it. Your other dishes are OK. You're missing out on the terrrific rotisserie duck, though.
Also, I'm sure you'd get an order or 2 more of the pork bun after you've tasted it. It's a winner!
The raw fish preps are small, appetizer sized dishes. Not really equivalent to the larger entrees like the whole fish.
The rice cakes at Momofuku Ssam are cut differently. Smaller and more cylindrical, and the outside is charred. Whereas Mission has round flat disks. Also the sausage component of the dish at Ssam is more like a ragu or chili. It's a very different dish. No celery or black beans. I like the dish but it is awfully filling; it's one of my husband's favorites though.
The rice cakes at Ssam are more akin to the Korean dish ddubokki, with the slightly spicy sauce and the way the cylindrical rice cakes are cut. I really love the dish (even more than the awesome Korean street food) for the crispiness the outside of the rice cakes achieves and the crumbled pork sausage is great.
The rice cakes at Mission Chinese are a totally different animal, more reminiscent of the Chinese stir-fried rice cakes - except Mission Chinese uses a spicy sauce instead of the traditional Shanghainese style gravy.
That looks like just slightly too much food but if you're big eaters you might be OK. We usually get 4-5 things for 2 people.
However, you're going to want to double up on pork buns since they are only 2 per order. I'd narrow it down to 7 savories and both desserts, maybe.
The Benton's smoky mountain ham is definitely on the salty side, but not overwhelmingly so.
Double up? Heck triple up on those things! Make sure to get an order for each person. There are 2 buns per order. If you order only 2 servings for your table, you'll be left wanting more. The whole fish dish changes depending upon what fresh fish they can get but I highly recommend getting whatever it is. Don't forget oysters.