I have been hearing rave reviews about Momofuku Ko for a few years now. I heard that it was an epic dining adventure. I had fallen in love with David Chang as soonas I took my first bite of his pork bun at Momofuku Ssam.
Dinner takes 2 hours and includes at least 11 courses. Currently, it’s $125 a head… so it’s definitely reserved for special dining occasions! (They also serve lunch Friday-Sunday which is something like 17 courses for $175… CRAZY!) It’s a tasting menu selected from the freshest things in the market. It changes constantly and you are at the complete mercy of your chefs. For a long time, they would not accommodate allergies, so I thought I would never get to go. Recently they decided they could work around allergies (though I called to make sure since mine is odd… peppers) and I was SO excited that I finally would get to go!
The reservation system is quite interesting. There are only twelve seats that surround a “bar” where you can observe everything the chefs are preparing for you. You can only register one week in advance (it opens up at 10am) and it’s random and computerized. You basically need to start clicking furiously at 10am for the day you want (Hint: Register first and check out the page to know what you’re up against and figure out the days that are posted). It took me some time, but eventually I scored a Thursday reservation.
The one thing that really disappointed me about Ko was that you cannot take picture (collective “awwww” from all). I hate posts without pictures, so I’ll do a very quick recap and give you the one and only picture from the night.
This was the entrance… no sign… just a little peach on the door. We walked past it twice!
Here is the rundown of what we could remember from the evening (I was writing down what I could on my iPhone… but I was much more focused on enjoying every morsel).
Peppercorn biscuit with honey- OMG was this good! What a way to start!
Eggplant and homemade pickles- Not memorable
Crisped pork skin- For how much I like crispy pork skin, I seem to remember this just not being amazing and that there wasn’t even really enough of it to savor
Chicken sausage with asparagus puree in spoon- Good but not great
Long Island fluke with English peas- Everything tasted SOOO fresh, but this just wasn’t my favorite dish
Beef carpaccio, horse radish, and honey crisp with schezuan peppercorn- The best beef carpaccio I have ever had! Even with the horse radish (which I typically don’t like) it was GREAT!
Gruyere broth with bone marrow brioche, wood sorrel, pearl onions, and beef gelee- Holy crap. Just thinking back on this dish makes my mouth water. This was one of the best things I have ever eaten in my WHOLE LIFE. You can’t possibly understand how good the Gruyere broth was. Nom Nom Nom
Chicken egg sturgeon caviar mini potato chips- A great little bite
Hand torn pasta chicken and snail sausage crispy chicken skin pecorino- MMmmm this was good. Everything was just perfectly flavorful and it all blended together so well
Almond crusted skate roast cauliflower almond milk foam- This was good, but I wanted it to be better. Sounded better than it was.
Shaved frozen foie gras with lychee, pine nut brittle, and riesling gel- This was where it became epic. The amount of foie gras was insane (basically a full bowl) but it was SOO rich and SOO tasty. The one part I didn’t like was the riesling gel. It was a bit too sharp and startling to the palette. Even with that, however, this was amazing.
Duck breast and fried duck legs, charred mustard greens, ramps, honey, and turnip with pumpernickel bread crumbs- The best duck I’ve ever had. Hands down. Our chef actually nibbled on this through the night. He must cook this hundreds of times but he kept taking the scraps of this. That’s how good it was.
Pre-dessert: pie crust crumble with apricot sorbet and Makers Mark- This was delicious. I was sad it was small.
Pretzel panna cotta with caraway seeds, root beer ice cream, and brown mustard sea salt- As soon as I heard the description I knew I would be bummed… I LOVE dessert. I think dessert can make or break a meal. If it’s bad, it ruins it. If it’s good, it can save a so-so dinner. Luckily, the rest of this meal was good enough that it didn’t have to come down to this dessert. I dislike caraway seeds, root beer and mustard. So basically the pretzel panna cotta and the sea salt were all that appealed to me about this dish. And the pretzel panna cotta just didn’t really taste like pretzel. Such a bummer! It was all just a bit too savory to end with too. Even though I was STUFFED, I kept hoping they would come out with one last bite of a cookie or meringue or… something… Anything to get that caraway seed taste out of my mouth. Oh well! I did finish it anyway… so it couldn’t have been THAT bad
Overall, I would definitely say that this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. WD-50 was still hands down my favorite, but I love chef tasting meals and the intimacy of Ko along with getting to watch the chef prepare completely added to the experience.
Totally worth it!
Total Nom Points: 8.5 out of 10
PS- You might be wondering exactly how I managed to eat this meal while on Weight Watchers. I posed this to my group leader and he thought for a while and then suggested I use the rest of my daily points (I still had about 12) plus my full weekly allowance (35) and just count the meal as one lump sum of points and not worry about it. FANTASTIC advice! I was completely prepared to gain that week… but low and behold I was still down nearly a pound! It’s so exciting how well Weight Watchers really works…