Review By: Stefanie Parks –
I really felt like Saturday was my birthday. Jack’s Wife Freda for brunch and Momofuku Noodle Bar for dinner. You really couldn’t ask for a better food day. In fact, if we hadn’t gone to both of those restaurants this weekend, I probably would have chosen to go to at least one of them for my actual birthday (Nov. 3, mark your calendars).
We took the train down to the East Village at around 7 in the hopes of getting a table by 8:30 or 9. We got to the restaurant and surprisingly there was only an hour wait. I put our name down and the hostess told me to make sure we’re back in about 45 minutes so that we could hear our name being called. So, we headed to a bar nearby to grab a drink while we waited.
Exactly 45 minutes later we made our way back to the restaurant and went to check in. “Hm, there’s no Parks on our list,” said the hostess. Literally my worst nightmare ever. She told us that maybe we had come in to check the time but hadn’t actually put our name down. Um, no. I asked you if you were going to call me when our table was ready.
I won’t lie, I got a little sassy with her and told her that the next four top better be ours. And even though she was a little (very) rude, she did get us the next available table. Phew, crisis (and heart attack) averted.
As always, first things first, we ordered a bottle of cold sake (they don’t do hot) and a couple of beers for everyone to share. I don’t think I’ve ever had cold sake before, and I loved it. The beer was great too, of course.
Then, we put in an order of Seven Spice Chips and Soy Sauce Eggs as our “snacks.” The chips tasted like lays with great seasoning on them. The eggs (or should I say egg) was marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, ginger, and soy sauce, and topped with crispy shallots and chives and was delicious. By far the best and most inventive hard boiled egg that I’ve ever had. Both dishes were light, delicious, and a perfect start to our meal.
Time for round two. Smoked Chicken Wings with pickled chili, garlic, and scallions, and Grilled Octopus with little neck clams, apple, and brown butter. I don’t love octopus, so that dish never really stood much of a chance for me, but this dish was actually pretty good (besides the fact that there was only one clam in the bowl… which according to our waitress, is done on purpose). Chicken wings, on the other hand, are one of my favorite foods. I’ve had so many good wings in NY, but this dish just didn’t measure up. They were plain and even a little boring in my opinion (nothing like Pok Pok’s wings… sigh…).
Round three was the Roasted Pig Tails in sweet and sour glaze served with pickled pears. I’ve never had pig tails before (or pickled pears, for that matter) and had no idea what to expect. They were flavorful, delicious, and I loved them! This was my favorite appetizer of the night.
For our entrée course, we ordered Shrimp Buns with spicy mayo, pickled shallot, and iceberg lettuce, Brisket Buns with horseradish, pickled red onion, and cucumber, and then of course, the Momofuku Ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, and poached egg. Of the two buns, I expected to like the brisket best, but surprisingly, the shrimp were my favorite. The buns themselves though were what really stole the show. So delicious.
And then the ramen. I mean wow. Most definitely the best ramen I’ve ever had. No contest. The pork belly was amazing, the pork shoulder was amazing, the broth was amazing, and then there were the noodles… They were really like no other ramen noodles that I’ve ever had before. I literally could not get enough.
Aside from the little seating mishap we had at the beginning of the night, our meal at Momofuku Noodle Bar was amazing. This is one of the first restaurants that we’ve heard amazing things about, have really been looking forward to, and was not a disappointment in any way. All I know is that I will 100% be going back for that Ramen and now I can’t wait to try all of the other Momofuku restaurants!