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Dec 30, 2012 06:08 AM

Momofuku Ssam Bar, Pegu Club and The Dutch

We had a delicious lunch at Momofuku Ssam bar yesterday. We wanted some cocktails, but they don't make them at lunchtime, so R ordered a beer and I the momofuku sake, which was good. The stripped bass with quince was very tasteful, I like quince a lot and the combination was perfect.Santa barbara uni was even better, V and I shared it, but I could eat 2 or 3 dishes of that. I remeber I ate 2 years ago at Ssam an uni dish with pear and guanciale that was also fantastic. Then we had the pork buns, needless to say how terrific they were.then we had Benton's smoky ham which was also good, I preferred this one from Finchvilllles one we had in April, the former is a little more smoked. V ordered the duck noodle soup, he liked it and I tasted the duck tongue that was tender and tasteful. I had the duck bologna sandwich that was good as I love provolone and caramelized onions but I preferred the one I had in april when the duck sandwich was with foie terrine. R ordered the spicy pork sausage that was delicious, remebering that those who don't like sichuan pepper should avoid it. I had the chevre sorbet thet was good. The music was awesome and the staff friendly and helpful, it's a place I would definitely be a regular should I live here.
We went to Pegu Club before heading to the Dutch. I had the Earl Grey marTEAni , V had the Old Cuban and R had the Pegu Club cocktail, all of them were good, I wished we had more time to try other ones.
It was our first time at The Dutch and we liked it. For cocktails, I had the Gezellig that I was only ok, I didn't like the creme de mur taste.R's Vida Old Fashioned was excellent and V's Mary Celeste was good.
We loved the little oyster sandwiches and the spicy lamb tacos. We had the Sullivan platter and the uni was delicious, also loved the snapper ceviche (the popcorn idea was remakable). R and V ordered the pork chop, which they liked a lot and I had scallops with bacon jam that was delicious. Overall I expected it would be good and it sure was, the crowd was nice, the staff correct.

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  1. If you have time, try to go back to Ssam during dinner to try Booker & Dax, if you've never been.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Thanks, kathryn.
      We went to Booker & Dax last april and liked it a lot, we'll try to go again. Happy new year.

    2. My first visit to Momofuku Ssam was shortly after they started offering the lunchtime rotisserie duck over rice. Amazing and wonderful meal. A year later, about a month ago, I went back for the same dish and found myself not loving it quite so much. It seems they've got a little asterisk on the menu that mentions that the duck rotisserie also contains pork. They are now serving a layer of pork sausage between the duck skin and the duck meat, which makes it a different dish than what the menu implies:

      rotisserie duck over rice*
      – duck scallion, ssam sauce, crispy shallot
      – add lettuce
      – add chive pancake

      And yes, while the asterisk refers to "*please note, the following duck dishes contain pork", if you're looking for the word "duck" you're not likely to see the reference to pork. So I'm disappointed that I did not experience the duck that I was craving, nor can I continue to recommend to friends that eat only poultry. It seems pretty deceptive to change the dish and not the description. Were they thinking they could lower the cost basis of the dish and people wouldn't notice?

      8 Replies
      1. re: j. marie

        The duck over rice has always contained pork sausage under the skin, since spring 2011. There's discussion about it here:

        Your friends may have unknowingly eaten pork...

        1. re: kathryn

          It's an interesting discussion, but the first mention I see of pork is in a 2012 comment. The link to the NYT blog announcing the lunch menu talks about the new duck lunch, no mention of pork. Would the May 2011 glowing comparison with EMP's duck been made had there been pork sausage in that dish? An online search turned up enthusiastic descriptions and reviews of the duck rotisserie up to the fall of 2011 with no mention of pork; the first mentions of the pork sausage (both complementary and not) show up in early 2012. Whether or not one likes this preparation, I cannot understand why the chef isn't upfront about including pork sausage in the description instead of hiding it behind an asterisk. It just seems unnecessarily sneaky. And it made me feel foolish as a customer to discover this after I ordered, which is why I won't return.

          1. re: j. marie

            Ah, it says 3/2012, I thought it was 3/2011. Oops!

          2. re: kathryn

            After my sister and I had the whole rotisserie duck at Ssam Bar (which did not have any pork--we specifically asked), we returned for lunch a few months later to try the duck dishes. We (as always) asked whether the duck at lunch had pork, and the server went to the kitchen to ask. She came back and informed us that the chefs had recently begun adding pork under the skin to the duck. Unfortunately, we left since there wasn't much else on the weekend lunch menu that my sister could eat. Happily, we had a delicious lunch at Noodle Bar.

            1. re: kathryn

              I've just finished the last issue of Lucky Peach. It has the recipe for their rotisserie duck. The sausage is made from the legs of the duck. The duck sausage is then stuffed in the breast. The photos from the article look pretty much like the duck I've had at Ssam Bar. No pork in the recipe from what I recall. I don't know if this is the same or different from what is served in the resto.

              1. re: Bkeats

                Wow. Well it sounds like the recipe as it was originally served. The addition of the leg meat to the breast meat would have made it really yummy to a duck lover as myself. I just don't recall the specifics of the first time I had the dish, just that I loved it. However, on my visit last month when I noticed something other than duck meat between the skin and breast the server confirmed that it was pork sausage. Maybe they only do the upscale duck meat version for the dinner menu and serve the less expensive pork sausage for the lunch menu?

                1. re: j. marie

                  I've not been for dinner in a while, but have had lunch at Ssam frequently (as recent as last Saturday). Lunch menu indicates added Pork in the Duck-with-rice item.

                  1. re: RCC

                    My bad. Went back and looked at the recipe from the mag. It's has diced pork fatback in addition to the duck legs and fat.