Wednesday, December 23, 2009
So what about the restaurants? Why's there no mention of any Michelin stars?
Mum was busy working during this trip in New York and dad survived on eating 2 meals a day. With the American serving sizes, he could probably do with 1.5 meals a day.
The exceptions were Momofuku and Daniel.
Momofuku is a chain of restaurants opened by the Korean Chef, David Chang. He started with Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2003 (Momofuku is probably a tribute to Momofuku Ando, the father of instant noodles). Upon its success, he opened Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Momofuku Ko and the Milk Bar afterward. And the latest restaurant due to open was Ma Peche inside the Chambers Hotel in 56th Street near 5th Avenue. You can read about it all in the wikipedia entry above.
Mum ate the Ma Peche menu 3 times during her trip and dad ate once. Yes, we did say, the restaurant wasn't opened yet. But they started serving the Ma Peche menu in the lounge of the Chambers Hotel before the restaurant was ready.
On Saturday, before they took off for Germany, they went for a trip exploring all the Momofuku shops before making a short visit to Soho.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar is a causal diner serving a mix of everything. Its latest claim of fame is perhaps being the first and only restaurant to make the Perrier Top 50 restaurants that takes no reservations. It ranks 31st. This is quite an accolade when you consider how many famous chefs there are in the world.
As Dad wanted to try the noodles with ginger and scallion, they went to the Momofuku Noodle Bar after having their starters in the Ssäm Bar. The place was not very well sign-posted and instead of entering the Noodle Bar when they saw the Momofuku sign, they went into Momofuku Ko, which was a tiny place and very quiet with only a few customers in there. Momofuku Ko, takes reservations online 6 days in advance and serve 2 fried chickens. And this is a Michelin 2-star restaurant. They were kindly told that the Noodle Bar was just next door and the restaurant was full.
When they entered the Noodle Bar, it was a completely different ambience. The whole place was buzzing with people and there was a 15-20 minute wait for seats at the bar. They ordered a sashimi and the noodle with ginger and scallion. The sashimi was fresh and the condiments refreshing. The noodle was cooked to just the right tension and still piping hot from the open kitchen. It tasted just like 薑蔥撈麵. If you use the ginger-scallion sauce from the best Hainanese Chicken rice store in Singapore, you might not be able to tell the difference. Such a simple dish, but the execution made all the difference.