Joanne has the practice of not naming anyone she dines with on her blog. Admirable restraint. Here, it’s the opposite: if we’re dining together, expect to get namechecked. In fact, expect more than that: after a few more months, we’re reviving Ken’s genius idea from back in the day and finding out who the various personages here can take in a fight. Stick around for that; good times assured.
Long way of saying that I went to a very special dinner at the new Momofuku Ko on Extra Place in the East Village last week with Joanne and Ken and Michelle and Lindsey, and Joanne beat me to blogging it. As per usu, Joanne’s got the complete rundown, so I won’t double up effort here. The crux of the thing is that the new MomoKo has two six-person tables adjacent to the horseshoe-bar where patrons normally dine, and executive chef Sean Gray and team are creating an experience that’s entirely different from the “normal” MomoKo deal — which, based on a friends and family tasting back in November, remains sublime unto itself.
Dave Chang explained it to me thusly: “I want the people at the bar to be jealous of the people at the tables, and I want the people at the tables to be jealous of the people at the bar.”
And so it shall be, eventually. We were only the second party to dine at the tables, which are being crafted as a wine-first experience by MomoSomm extraordinaire Jordan Salcito. Jordan and I talked in the days leading up to the dinner and picked four amazing wines to accompany what turned out to be a nine-course meal, depending on how you count things like amuses and canapes. Everything was a highlight, but especially the raw platter…
… which everyone couldn’t not Instagram, even as Jordan and Sean looked on…
… because the thing was it was a GIANT FISH STUFFED WITH SASHIMI, and that’s sort of the thing that in my experience one is drawn to Instagram. Pity the amazing uni atop pureed watercress, served with this course but in separate bowls, that didn’t merit the photographic attention.
We were told there’d be pie, but who knew it would be meat pie, even after they showed us two perfectly roasted pheasants then severed up cuts from them alongside, both bathed in foie gras and black truffle sauce? If this isn’t one of my five favorite courses of 2015, then 2015 will have been a really, really good year.
And that after that, we’d get an entire Tribute to an American Steakhouse, with creamed spinach encased in parker house rolls and twice-baked potatoes served along with the New York Strip? And yet, like Joanne, I wasn’t overly full either. It’s possible we’ve genetically adapted in some unforeseen way; studies to follow.
We finished with dessert and then canapes and still more wine. Mercy. All-in, we came to this conclusion: the Momo folks are crazier than ever, and God bless them for it.