Sunday, December 14, 2008

Momofuku bender

We eventually made our way down to the East Village. It was just past four o'clock, and the sun was starting to set. And we still hadn't had lunch.

Priscilla wanted to get a snack at Momofuku Milk Bar, the newest member of the nascent Momofuku empire.

Last time she was there, she noticed that the classic Momofuku pork buns came with an egg in it, but she didn't get a chance to try it then.

Anyway, no egg this time. They "ran out," which is ludicrous. It was as good as their pork buns usually are, though.

There is something off about Milk Bar. Priscilla tells me that the first time she went there she felt like the desserts were drugged, in a bad way. The food made her dizzy, and she had to leave the restaurant to get her bearings. She figured that it was just her until her friends said they were feeling the same way. They were out on the weekend, and it was relatively early, but they called it a night because they felt sick. Milk bar totally ruined their night.

Granted, it was in the opening few weeks, and I'm sure there were kinks to be fixed. But I'd say that drugging your customers goes beyond the usual problems restaurants have to deal with.

I'm not sure if this place is going to be any good on its own. I found out that they use it as a bar area for Ssam Bar when dinner rolls around, which is a great idea, but beyond that I'm not sure what the deal with this place is.

At least they have this cool poster.

For lunch, we went over to Momofuku Noodle Bar. I'd been wanting to come back since my first visit. While I've heard that they've improved their ramen, I did not want to try my luck again. We split an order of Smoked Chicken Wings and an order of the Trotter Terrine. The chicken wings were very good. I obviously loved their smokiness.

But the Trotter Terrine. The Trotter Terrine. The Trotter Terrine was ... I have called so many things awesome. Great. Fantastic. Delicious. And when I do, I mean it. But the Trotter Terrine goes beyond that. From now on, I will have to simply say that things are like the Trotter Terrine.

What surprised me was how buttery it was. And parts of it were held together with delicious pork jelly. It was concentrated, buttery pork with butter on top.

I enjoyed the dish too much to figure out what was actually in it. But on 11/24/2008 Bosmer F. from Yelp outlines how it's put together:
We were watching the food prep and saw them making something that looked interesting. We hadn't seen it on the printed menu. Asked a few questions and found out it was a handwritten special. It was called Trotter Terrine. They took a small piece of pumpernickel bread, buttered it, and put it on the grill. Then they sliced a generous portion of the terrine and heated it up for a minute or so. Then they took the bread off the grill, plated it, and schmeared it with something called burnt onion spread. Then they took the terrine and place it on top of the spread and poured some liquid that had come out during the warmth process over it. The dish was garnished with very thinly sliced, and very sour, pickles. Luscious! I almost didn't order it because of the amount of food we had already ordered and that we were planning on hitting the new Momofuku Bakery after lunch.

I tried to ask if I could get an order of it to go. I wanted Mabel to try it. But they said no! Something about plating and not being able to do it right. Oh no, the Momofuku empire is 0/2. The guy sitting next to us said that I should just order it, not touch the plate, and then get it doggie bagged. But I was feeling non-confrontational that day. I think I was also secretly afraid that I might get blacklisted and not be able to get the Trotter Terrine again.

Oh, one more thing. Did you know that there is a such thing as organic Schneider Weisse? I didn't. It goes by the name of Schneider's Wiesen Edel-Weisse. It just as good as regular Schneider Weisse.

And that ended our day of bike riding, or Priscilla's anyway. It was dark out, and she took the train back to Washington Heights. I rode back to the apartment for a shower and then back to the East Village to meet Andy T. for dinner at Momofuku Ssam Bar.

Of course I know how ridiculous that is. But Ssam Bar is probably still my favorite restaurant and I wanted him to try it out. Andy brought a friend. More dishes to share!

We got fried brussels sprouts (which were just a bit over-salty this time around), smoked country ham (which was much better than I expected), pork buns (I abstained for this round, though), beef tendon, bahn mi, hanger steak, and spicy pork sausage & rice cakes. I noticed that they seem to no longer serve Hitachino White Ale which is too bad. I love that beer.

And I still love Ssam Bar. No matter the problems that Milk or Noodle Bar might have, Ssam Bar has never let me down.

Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Ave (enter on 13th St)
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Ave (btn 10th and 11th St)
New York, NY 10003

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Ave (at E 13th St)
New York, NY 10003

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