One of the places that I had heard about more than anywhere else before my trip was the Momofuku restaurants. I had wanted to have a really nice meal and I was willing to pay for it. I wasn’t sure where it was going to be but when I saw the Momofuku Ssam Bar lunch menu (and the amazing price) I settled on here. I wanted a place that was relaxed and not too formal as I would be dining alone so wanted to be comfortable. The three course meal was $25 and it was a big meal, I was stuffed.
When I arrived there was only one other diner and he was sat at the bar so I felt like I had the run of the place but it soon began to fill up, for the time I was there however it was never too busy. I walked past a couple of times in the evening and it does get much busier but I would have loved to have gone with friends and tried the full menu. Your choices on the Fixe Prie menu are limited to 3 options per course. I went for the Pork Buns to start followed by the Spicy Rice Cakes and then the Spiced Thai Iced Tea Parfait to finish. The Buns were really tasty, its Belly Pork and has a really nice melt in the mouth texture. The buns are really soft and pillowy and this is contrasted with the crunch of the cucumber and the tang of hoisin sauce. The Rice Cakes packed a real punch, its a big serving of minced pork in a bolognese style sauce only with a big spicy kick.
The rice cakes were chewy but with a bit of a crisp edge. There were also crispy fried shallots which were really nice and added something extra. The parfait was perfect after the spiciness of the main. The parfait had a real nice chai flavour but the lemon mascarpone was even tastier it had a real zing to it and to top it off it had a nice sprinkling of almond crunch. I found this whole meal terrific and it was an amazing deal. It looks like the recession was good for me in some area (if not in the exchange rate). So whilst I had originally thought I was going to pay for an expensive meal turns out $25 can buy one amazing meal.
That wasn’t the end of the Momofuku experience though as next door is Milk Bar the relatively new bakery addition to the family. This place got a ton of rave reviews as well but it was a bit hit and miss.
They sell a rotating set of three soft serve ice creams in weird and wonderful flavours, a mix of cookies, cakes, and pies. As this place was so close to my hotel I went more than I should have. I tried the Compost and Blueberry Cookies, the Banana Cake, and the Twizzler and Junior Mint Soft Serves.
I liked the Blueberry cookie the most it was very creamy and soft and I cant help loving the blueberry. I wasn’t as fond of the compost cookie though as I prefer a more simple cookie to this, I just thought there was too much going on. The soft serves were both good. The junior mint was a dead ringer for the mint chocolate balls they’re named after and the twizzler was nice but I found it really really sweet.
My favourite was definitely the Banana Cake. You get a massive slice for $5 and I could have had it as a meal. The cake was light and the banana cream layered between it was strong in flavour. The darker layer you can see was some sort of crunchy and creamy caramel that had a fair dose of salt to it. It might have been a bit hit and miss but I love what they’re trying to do and if lived near I think I would regularly pop in and try what was new.
Momofuku Ssam + Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave
(corner of 13th and 2nd)