Monday, June 08, 2009

Rate-A-Restaurant #207: Momofuku Ssam

Restaurant: Momofuku Ssam

Location: 207 2nd Ave. (New York)

Type of restaurant: Asian fusion

We stipulated: In New York, we wanted to splurge at least once. We'd been hearing about Momofuku for years, obviously, but never had been. Several people recommended it to us.. although most, I think, were referring to the Momofuku noodle bar. In researching the three different Momofuku restaurants, I kept reading that most foodies preferred the Ssam bar above the others. Most importantly, the signature Momofuku pork bun was available here too -- so at the very least, we would still get a taste of Momofuku's most notable dish.

They stipulated: Momofuku Ssam doesn't take reservations. It's also connected to the Momofuku milk bar, which is a fine place to wait for a table (make sure you get a free sample of soft serve).

What we ordered: Steamed pork buns – hoisin, cucumbers, scallions (2 orders, $9 each); Angus hanger steak – tarragon, manchego, potatoes ($26); Roasted diver sea scallops – sea beans, gremolata, anchovy ($24)

High point: The pork buns -- just as hyped, with fall-off-the-bone pork. The pork is nice and fatty, and meshes nicely with the pickles and cucumber, as well as the hoison sauce. There was also a decent sour cream tang to the potatoes and an interesting seasoning on the chips.

Low point: There was nothing all that special about the hangar steak (except for the crust), especially given the price.

Overall impression: Overpriced, yes, but still worth a trip. Those pork buns are fantastic, although you need to order at least two servings. By the way, I was perhaps more impressed with the Momofuku Milk Bar. Soft-serve flavors included several candies, such as Red Hots, Gummi Worm and more -- interesting stuff.

Chance we'll go back: If we were in New York, probably -- especially if we were with a group. Otherwise, we'd try the other Momofukus next.

For a complete list of our more than 200 restaurant reviews, check out our companion Rate-A-Restaurant website.

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