Posted by: Hungry Korean | February 19, 2010

Lighting struck twice

Couple years ago, I sat at my office computer every morning poised to click on a green check mark the minute the second hand hit 10am.  It didn’t matter what time, I just had to get a green check mark. For two months, every day I did this until I scored.  What am I talking about? I’m taking about Momofuku Ko – David Chang’s 12 seat, impossible to get reservation, foodie’s delight, restaurant — where reservations can only be had via an online system. NO phones. Think thousands of NYers all clicking at the same time every morning for just 12 seats…..

When I finally scored -the experience was amazing. There are at least 12 courses and the tasting takes 2 hours long.  (Lunch, recently introduced, is 3 hours long with even more courses)  David Chang himself even served some of our dishes. I was wowed, particularly by the shaved foie gras over lychees and riesling gelee (UNBELIEVABLE melt in your mouth dish), and when I left, I mourned the fact that I may never go back there again…..until it happened last night.

A close friend of my boyfriends recently discovered Ko and has gone back at least 2 more times.  She scored a dinner for two for last night and last minute realized she could not keep it — thereby offering it to him and me.  Lighting struck me twice! 🙂

No photos ever in this place. You sit at the bar and it’s relatively quiet save for the background music and your noises of cooking.  Think chef’s table because the chefs are literally cooking right in front of you. There was a seemingly endless parade of food in the next two hours so I will do my best to describe every single one but I may forget one or two.  Let’s begin.

The first plate that comes out is homemade ricotta on a small chinese soup spoon. OH MY GOD! Dense buttery and silky smooth ricotta with a surprising afterpunch of heat. More please…

Next came the chicharones (fried pig skin) and the peppered biscuit. YUMMY delicious biscuit so dense and peppery with enough butter that it tasted like a stick of butter went into each bite. Then came one of my favorite of the night: fluke sashimi in buttermilk, poppy seeds and chives. I never knew fluke could have such a full savory flavor to it.  Usually when I get it at sushi restaurants it has a very benign mild almost nonexistent taste.  First you taste the buttermilk sauce, then the fish then a savory finish of chives and fish. Long finish that lingered pleasantly.

Next came the spanish mackerel sashimi with pickled radish and some kind of salty cracker beads speckled atop. Spanish mackerel, normally fishy, was not. I usually hate this fish in any form but this time it was so good. Thus my theory, if something is fresh and well prepared, it will always taste good.

An oxtail consume was served next with bean sprouts and two types of very teeny tiny handmade dumplings: one of buternut squash (eh) and one of shredded oxtail (eh – bit chewy and dry tasting). That consume is what rocked the dish. So clean and full bodied of beefy flavor at the same time.  Lemongrass and basil accented the broth.

There was a soft boiled egg dish, cut slightly open so the yolky goodness oozed out onto the black caviar and homemade potato chips. Egg on egg, decadence on decadence, earth on water….interesting concept of a dish and briny smooth.

A homemade pasta dish. Papardelle, I believe, with snail sausage cubes in a butter parsely sauce. Love homemade pasta and butter? Who can complain? The snail sausage tasted like seafood sausage. A simple dish with clean flavours.

A skate dish. It was heavily salted (similar to the one at Ssam) but smaller in size, breaded and pan fried.  Good flavors, fish was firm and moist but too much salt. Shame.

The one thing that was exactly the same as the first time I visited (the menu here is seasonal and changes) was the shaved foie gras over the lychee and riesling gelee and it was just as divine as I remember it. I finished mine then I finished the boy’s. 😀 YUMMY. I am lucky his stomach can’t palate rich duck liver as well as mine – I get his leftovers! 🙂

At this point, you are starting to get drunk on food. But what came next was a perfectly cooked, perfectly seared duck breast with radish and mustard greens. Now you know the night is almost over and you get a little sad.

Dessert comes in two forms. One was a not very good at all sorbet over diced apples that had been marinated in something.  To describe this dessert is quite easy: it tasted of potpourri. For realz.

The second form was a pretzel panna cotta with crushed pretzels, jellied mustard and a side of root beer sorbet.  Deconstructed NYC street pretzel with mustard. Interesting no?  I found it creatively genius.

Dinner is now over, we are full, boyfriend is tipsy and can’t wait to pass out in a cab.  You know, I think I somehow managed to name every single dish we had. Dinner is 12 courses and I think I just described 12. Yay Hungry Korean and her elephant memory!

Ko, hopefully I will see you again one day…until then….you can find me at Ssam

Momofuku Ko, 163 1st Avenue, New York, NY



  1. WOW, i have been DYING to go there. I will have to glue myself to the computer next week. Sounds amazing!

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