Petitesouer and I went to Momofuku Ssam Bar for lunch. We got there just before the rush. I like the Momofuku enterprises, but my main thing with them is they are way overpriced. So the $25 prix fixe three-course lunch special seemed like a good deal.
First course was a choice of either the kimchi apple salad, pickles, or roast pork buns. For two bargain-hunters such as us, there was no question -- it had to be pork buns. Petiteseour's stomach was not quite up for fatty pork, but I happily gobbled up her's as well as mine - the pork buns just taste like my childhood.
Since it was 2 of us sharing one prix-fixe lunch, we supplemented with the Satur farm's fried brussels sprouts with mint, scallions, and fish sauce vinaigrette. This was great - brussel sprouts were slightly charred and crispy, but nice and tender and the sauce had a great blend of flavors - and the crunch of the puffed rice was nice.
Second course was a choice of grilled branzino, braised beef brisket, or spicy rice cakes with pork sausage, chinese broccoli, and crispy shallots.
We opted for the rice cakes - it had a nice amount of heat, the rice cakes were well-cooked. The sausage lent it a fusion flavor - different than traditional Asian rice cake dishes. I'd have been happy trying either of the other choices as well - the branzino (which as an entree costs $21) seems like it would have been a steal of a deal, and the brisket (which we saw over at the next table) looked delicious.
Finally, third course was dessert: a choice between blondie pie, and their signature PB&J -- which is a peanut butter pannacotta on a peanutty wafer cookie, topped with strawberry jam and saltines. The whole thing (other than the jam) was oddly salty -- not in a good accent salt kind of way - which I really like in dessert, where you get just a hint of salt to cut the sweetness. No, this dessert started sweet on the tongue and finished salty in the aftertaste. It was interesting, but I would have liked to finish sweet.
I and 1000yregg are curious about the Bo Ssam dish - the whole pork butt with a dozen oysters, served with kimchi, rice, and lettuce accompaniment. The dish costs friggin $200! Petiteseour said she had heard it served about 8-10 people, but when Bourdain had it on No Reservations, it didn't look that big to either me or 1000yregg, but who knows -- we're Chinese and have a skewed sense of what a lot of food is... There is a recipe from David Change online - maybe if I'm ambitious I'll try it.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 Second Avenue
New York, NY