Wednesday, March 24, 2010

NYC Food - Momofuku Ssam Bar/Milk Bar

Now that we're back in town and I've finally turned 38 after thinking for about two months that I was already 38, I wanted to begin a series of postings dedicated to the meals that we ate in NYC over the weekend. Overall, the trip met or exceeded all expectations from a culinary standpoint, with the additional weight from consumed calories offset by the mass of currency that disappeared from my wallet to pay for the extravaganza.

Let's start with the first stop on our foodie tour, which was Friday afternoon at Momofuku Ssam Bar. This restaurant is located in an unremarkable neighborhood in Manhattan's Bowery district and is a pretty small place. I had read stories of long waits for tables; however, Mrs. Hackknife and I were fortunate enough to get immediately seated at the bar. We struck up a conversation with an older couple next to us - they were also out-of-towners (lawyers from Dallas) that happened to be visiting New York on mainly food pretexts (it's reassuring to know that we're not the only mentally-unstable ones out there). Anyway, the wife and I opted for a plate of David Chang's famous steamed pork buns (w/hoisin sauce, cucumbers, and scallions) along with a bowl of Sichuan beef tendon (mixed with green mango and peanuts) and a side of Fuji apple kimchi (included jowl bacon, maple labne cheese, and arugula). The steamed buns were sublime, especially with a little of the house hot sauce on it. This was our first encounter with beef tendon and I have to say that I wasn't terribly impressed with it, but would be willing to give it another try elsewhere. The kimchi was sweet, tasty, and refreshing on a warm Spring day (as it was in NYC that Friday). I washed all of this down with a bottle of Korea's version of Bud (OB, which is just barely visible in the upper corner of the picture along with the bowl of tendon and the kimchi plate).

After polishing off our dishes, we inquired about how to best access the house bakery, called Momofuku Milk Bar. It turns out that you simply walk down a narrow passage from Ssam Bar past the kitchen and into the bakery, which is not big at all. Small operation, but BIG-TIME treats. The menu is loaded with cakes, cookies, breads, and pies, all of which looked and sounded decadent. The missus and I split a slice of crack pie (toasted oat crust, sweet butter/egg filling) and a large slice of chocolate malt cake (malted fudge, malted milk crumbs, charred marshmallows). Words fail to adequately describe the endorphins released into my system upon consuming these gifts from God. The bakery also serves up the steamed pork buns from next door (they do share a kitchen, you know), which means you could pretty much take up residence in Milk Bar and be free from want of anything except for maybe a Tums every now and then.

Up next....Friday night's visit to Peter Luger....

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