Thursday, November 5, 2009

Momofuku Noodle Bar and Ssam

Almost an afterthought, we took my mom to Momofuku's noodle bar*, on 1st Ave and 10th Street. The faraway part of the bar looking onto the kitchen was deserted for some reason, and we grabbed seats there. The best ones, because you're practically in the cooks' laps.

My pear salad was riveting, featuring pears three ways: fresh-shaved, pickled and other-pickled. It had hazelnuts grated over it, pickled mushrooms (honsemeji)) and chervil and tarragon for an anise bite, and something red and tart, too, which I couldn't figure out: crabapple skin??? It was wonderful.

Of course we had pork buns. Can't not have pork buns. Toothsome, succulent, delightful. Vince had panfried potatoes mit lardons and poached egg. I had an oxtail soup that was over-salted, and my mom had Savoy cabbage with apple and maybe a hint of kimchi. Food arrives rather randomly.

At Ssam , a few days later, I ordered the $8 bread and butter. I think it was Sullivan Street baguette, my favourite; the butter was from Vermont and artisinal, of course (I would love to create an alternative menu with "store-bought butter, Velveta cheese plate, yellow cheese sandwich"...but that's another story). The white stuff? Whipped lard.

Yes. Lard.

I then had  rude slices of honey crisp apple marinated in kimchi, with labneh (like strained yogurt) spiked with maple syrup, in one of those skidmark schmears that have been appearing on plates for about a year (a reaction to squeeze bottles and toothpicks?), and pork jowl bacon, which was as crispy and fat-happy as bacon can get.

My mom had more stone crab claws served with harissa mayonnaise and Vincent had more pork buns and then spicy sausage with Chinese broccoli. Good, hot, comfort food

I am now looking at gym membership.


  1. Just before I got to the last sentence I could feel my arteries silting up. Must've been the lard.....

  2. The last sentence was the kicker for sure....but it sure does look fabulous-o.


    Good luck at the gym.

  3. Pork jowl bacon! I LOVE pork jowl bacon. Penny (at our Farmers Market in Barryville, NY) brings it to me as a treat sometimes but she doesn't usually sell it because she keeps it for herself. I have a few packages sequestered in the freezer to get me through till next spring.

  4. apples marinated in kimchi?? hmmm. how can *i* do that? interesting. vinegar, heat, and ?? do they use fish sauce in that?

  5. ...or at least having your cholesterol checked? ....

  6. Rachel - when you see the portions you see that you get 3 slices of bacon and a stack of apples, which is a pretty good ration...:-0 The buns have no defense.

    Kary - it was...

    Ellen, wow, lucky you!

    Donna the apples were very crisp, so cold-marinated, I would guess.

    BV, so cheeky:-) I guess that's good idea, anyway. In general we eat pretty well - I'm an everything in moderation person, but am predisposed towards salad and fruit on either side of a main course.

  7. I gagged over the whipped lard...but...anyhow...Did you hear the story about Chef Chang and Momofuku on NPR this past weekend? Here's a link to the story and it includes a link to the recipe for that apple/kimchi/pork jowl dish!

  8. Paula - whipped lard wasn't as bad as it sounds, I got it for shock value; but I suppose all in all I had about 3 schmears of it. We are very hypocritical about we eat - though I 'spose I don't eat fast food, so the 'we' is directed at anyone who does. I don't think an honest dose of fat will kill us. If it is eaten as part of a lifestyle, yes it will.


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