Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

NYC: Momofuku Ssam Bar

By Thursday, May 02, 2013 , , , , , , , ,

I thank David Chang for being such a godsend with his Momofuku brand. You gotta have at least 1 meal at 1 of his restaurants when visiting the Big Apple. My winter gastronomic itinerary was too darn packed for me to squeeze in another reservation at Momofuku Ko and i thought it was lost to me till the next trip. Thankfully there is Momofuku Ssam Bar and their no reservations policy, we tried our luck and managed to get a table on our last day in the city. O the happiness when we saw only a short queue. Whee! 
Momofuku Ssam Bar serves an unpretentious Asian comfort food with a duck-dominated menu. This is a casual joint where you can simply pop in for a quick meal or a snack or 2 for 20 bucks and leave really satisfied physically and emotionally because the food is ingenious and vibrant. Yes eating is an emotional thing for me.

For lunch, there is a 3 course Prix Fixe meal for US$25. I decided not to be greedy and stuck with my own choice of dish while S took this option.
The Striped Bass was picked from a list of 3 appetizers which included Fuji Apple Kimchi and Steamed (Pork) Buns. All are great choices and come recommended. I would say go for the famous Momofuku Pork buns if you have not eaten that before. As we already had that bun at Momofuku Milk Bar, we decided to try something different. The bass was very fresh and the texture was sublime. Interesting rice pops to give the carpaccio an added crunchy texture. This is seasoned with plum, cilantro, green peppercorn. Very refreshing.
Charred Octopus didn't seem like a very good choice to me but S didn't wanna order another duck dish because of my duck rice order. Do not make the same mistake as he did. You should ALWAYS do duck at Ssam. The octopus was grilled to a crispy exterior but i found it very bland even all that stuff going on the plate. Don't remember anything about this dish other than it's plain and you shouldn't order it. I'm sure the Fried Duck Dumplings and Duck Bologna Sandwich options would have been much better.
Now.. How did the Steamed Pork Buns (2pcs for $10) come about if we didn't order it with the lunch set? Well.. blame it on the greedy me. When i saw that the other tables had the kong ba bao version, i wondered if the bun that i had at Momofuku Milk Bar was the same Momofuku Pork Bun (seriously..) The one at Milk is a pulled pork version in a different bun. Not sure if it's because i added an egg with it but you can't blame me for thinking that they were different! Anyway, they tasted about the same with the hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions. The textures were a little different and i kinda like Milk's version better as it seemed a juicier.
Now, you gotta have my absolute favorite dish, which is the Rotisserie Duck Over Rice ($14). I felt that the duck was very interesting as a flavored minced duck scallion patty was sandwiched between the caramelized skin and the pink tender meat. Add a little of the sweet hoisin sauce with some chili and the taste is absolutely heavenly and very Vietnamese. I added a chives pancake on the side ($2) and wrapped the meat in the salty flaky dough and it became an interpretation of a modern Peking Duck wrap. I'm so gonna have this again and this time probably the huge ass Whole Rotisserie Duck Ssäm ( with chive pancakes, bibb lettuce, hoisin, duck scallion, crispy shallots, two side dishes) AND the Bo Ssäm (whole pork butt, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice, lettuce).
The Chevre Sorbet was a terrible terrible choice from the lunch set. We should have gone with the safer Lemon Meringue Pie. There's simply too much going on. We didn't finish this and went to Milk bar (which is around the corner) to have our favorite Cereal Milk Soft Serve and Crack Pie. :) 

Remember, whatever you do, you GOT TO HAVE the duck rice at Momofuku Ssam Bar. Do it for supper, whatever. Just eat it. 

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd avenue, new york, ny 10003 | corner of 13th street and 2nd avenue.
Tel: +1 212 254 3500
Reservations are only taken for large-format meals.

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