Tuesday, September 4, 2012

NYC Diaries - Momofuku ko

Fashionistas, if you think scoring a Hermes Birkin bag is a tough feat, foodies will tell you that getting a reservation at Momofuku Ko will win hands down. I can personally vouch for that I was one of the lucky ones to have dined there.

No concierge or Amex Centurion can get you a reservation. You have to set up an account and do your own reservation. Everyone is equal, for even celebs and VIPs do not get any special treatment at ko. This makes dining reservation at ko so coveted that you earn instant street cred (while evoking envy) when you say you have dined there. Oh well, at least to those who know their stuff that is.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times summed up the reservation angst pretty well in his review back in 2008. "You must have patience, an efficient computer and nimble, fast-moving fingers, because the way to grab one of the 12 coveted seats is to click-submit a reservation request at precisely 10 a.m. precisely six days before you aspire to dine there and then hope against hope and dream against dream and promise the cyberspace gods your firstborn male child if they speed your electronic wish to Ko before all the other electronic wishes get there." He is not exaggerating.

So, what makes ko so sought after? For the foodie snob, here's what you might like to know. ko has two michelin stars, which it has retained for four years. ko is also #79 on the san pellegrino world’s best restaurants list. David Chang is a multiple award-winning chef who is very well-respected in New York.

ko has a very discreet facade. I guess if you are that good, people will seek you out and a large screaming signage is not required.

Only a small peach logo and a tiny word tell you that you have arrived at the right place.

At 'ko' (which means "son of"), guests sit at the kitchen counter of David Chang's 12 seater restaurant, where they are served by the chefs directly. The decor is simple and the bar stools uncomfortable, but brace yourself for one hell of a dining experience.

Due to the size and intimacy of the space, ko only accommodates parties of 1, 2 or 4 diners only. Dinner is omakase-style and is usually about 10 courses long. Sorry I didn't have the pics to show this time about my amazing dinner. I was politely asked by the sous chef to stop taking pics (they have been rather strict now). Not wanting to risk being thrown out, I obediently abided.

However, I managed to find some pictures online that were part of my omakase and are ko's signature dishes.

Amuse bouche of pork crackling

Beef carpaccio with radish

Coddled egg with caviar and homemade potato chips

Shaved foie gras with lychee and Riesling gelee. This is the star dish. It was so good that it brought a uncontrollable smile to my face when I tasted it. Divine!

The verdict? Excellent meal that offers unexpected pairing of flavours and textures that will excite the palate (of even the most jaded foodies). At US$125 per pax, it is good value for money to experience this gastronomic journey at one of the most exclusive restaurants in New York.

For more information, please visit momofuku.com

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