Dave Chang, you have won my heart. There was not one detail wrong about this meal. As I walked the arduous two blocks to Momofuku Ko, I started to get nervous. I started to ponder: What if the food doesn't live up to the hype? What if it really is weird that I am eating alone this time? The moment I walked inside, I knew it was going to be something special.
The courses speak for themselves in their originality: buttermilk biscuit with black pepper butter and a meatball covered in lentils over an apple puree, raw Spanish mackerel with a mustard sauce and fried buckwheat, potato and daikon soup with lamb belly and mustard greens, monkfish with sea urchin in a sweet soy-based sauce, egg noodles in a butter sauce with chicken escarole sausage and chicken crackle finished with pecorino cheese, a poached egg with caviar over onion relish and homemade fingerling potato chips, frozen foie gras atop lychee, peanut brittle and a reisling jelly, beef cheeks with jalapeno relish and two types of mushrooms, mandarin orange sorbet paired with a bitter mandarin orange, and fried amish cheddar aside greek yogurt, candy pretzels and pretzel ice cream! I am definitely forgetting some of the details since it was ten courses and I opted for the wine pairing that accompanied each course.
Throughout the meal I found myself eye-fucking the butter. The guy sitting next to me was a lone dinner as well, but I was not very fond of him. Fatty Boomba was from Houston, Texas on some business trip and he did not stop using his I-phone the entire meal! I was appalled, and after 20 minutes of the meal, I opted to turn my phone off to enjoy my experience to the fullest. Another thing that bothered me about this guy was that he would ask annoying questions to the chef and he did not even bless me when I sneezed. It didn't matter much though because I was able to watch every move the chefs did to prepare the meal. It was food pornography at its finest. One of the chefs cooking looked like a more attractive Keanu Reeves, and he joked with the other chefs about how Dave Chang had too many songs with harmonicas on the Ko playlist. Fatty Boomba said that they could use his Ipod if they wanted to replace David Chang's. Nice try out-of-towner, but no one messes with the Chang. It's sacrilegious!
I really enjoyed this meal alone, in fact, I left Ko laughing. I would give two hours of my time any day to watch the chefs there do their magic, and hopefully 3.5 hours soon to try out their 18-course lunch! The Momofuku empire makes me proud to be from the East Village. I have never experienced American-Asian fusion quite the way they make it. The asian touches are subtle yet not understated in the least. Thus, the hype is the reality when it comes to Ko.