Executive chef: David Chang
Location: 171 1st Ave, (between 10th St & 11th St), New York, NY 10003 (East Village) (Map)
Phone: 212.777.7773 Menu: click
Resident Foodies say: The lines may be long, but this restaurant is definitely worth the wait! Chef David Chang is probably the hottest chef on the planet. In 6 short years, he has ascended from relative obscurity to the most talked about chef in NYC. “Momofuku” means lucky peach in Japanese, but Chang reportedly liked the name given its similarity in sound to “mother f–er” and its tie to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles. This month, his Momofuku Cookbook hits the book shelves and is likely to bring even more fame to Chang. Momofuku Noodle Bar was Chang’s first restaurant, which opened in 2003. Now he has 4 “Momofuku” restaurants, going on 5. Momofuku Noodle Bar remains the most affordable in price.
Chang’s philosophy is cooking first. True to his word, Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar is all about the food. To some, the service and decor may fall a distant second and third. The ambience exudes busy noodle bar–which is, after all, what it is. The food, though, is an innovative mix of Asian influenced dishes, many with an unabashed use of pork. Chang pushes the boundaries of Japanese, Korean, and French cooking–with results that are distinctively American or Chang’s own. The most famous noodle dish–Momofuku ramen–has pork belly and pork shoulder, topped with a poached egg! And, of course, the steamed pork buns are just as famous–and delicious. The dishes were very comforting and so amazingly tasty, but perhaps might be too much pork in one night for some people. We made ourselves feel less guilty by ordering the delightful (and light) pear salad to start. Although a few vegetarian options have crept onto the menu, they’re not the reason to go to Momofuku.