David Chang’s stripped down tasting table of a restaurant is often booked out well ahead of time, especially for a seat at the chef’s counter. The place is small, and table reservations are often secured 30 days in advance. But despite the difficulty in securing a spot, (or partly because of it) our experience at Momofuku Ko can only be described as a gastronomic adventure!
Sure, there were hits and misses, but with more than 16 innovative and surprising courses, you’re bound to find something to fall in love with. We were stuffed silly and still couldn’t put our forks down. Overall, it was one of the most interesting, fun meals we’ve had and is definitely an experience you shouldn’t miss when in New York. All set? Here we go!
Overall: ★★★★☆ Innovative and lots of fun, but with some misses.
First up, four bite-sized appetisers starting with this Pomme Soufflée filled with crème fraîche.
A fresh Lobster Paloise topped with avocado cream..
and these interesting Chicken Oysters with white kimchi shooters.
It was an open kitchen concept and it was fascinating to see how much work goes into creating those small morsels that disappeared within moments.
With our appetites whet, we were served Blackfish with Barrel Aged Bonji. Frankly, the sauce over the fish tasted like regular shoyu but the flavour of the leaves and a slight squeeze of citrus brought everything together nicely.
Next, the tantalising Ko Egg with Caviar. Just look at it! Lightly-smoked soft boiled egg topped with white oscetria caviar and served with a side of potato chips for some crunch and onion soubise to cut through the salty flavours.
This was a real explosion of flavours and textures in the mouth.
But there’s more. This Sweet Potato with Brown Butter may be simple but it really showcased the earthy flavours and creamy texture of the soft potato.
And then they started dishing out the meat. This dry aged Beef Au Poivre didn’t need much heat or seasoning to showcase its gorgeous texture and rich flavour.
Although i thought it could probably be plated a little better.
Up next, a refreshing twist to a traditional Japanese favourite. This Takoyaki with Buttermilk batter and Pine Mushrooms was turned to a golden brown on a skillet, crispy on the outside with a piping hot soft centre.
Topped with some ground pine mushroom and lime zest, it added an interesting dimension to the simple street snack.
This next dish of chilled Scallop with Pineapple and Basil was a bit of a miss for me.
I felt like the sweetness of the soup really overwhelmed the natural freshness of the scallops. Also not a big fan of basil seeds so didn’t quite enjoy this one.
And as if we weren’t filled up enough by this point, more potatoes! This Bouillabaisse with Potato and Saffron was infused with the savoury, briny flavours of fresh lobster.
The bisque was rich, yet not overwhelming and went really well with the hot potato.
Then, we were presented some palate cleansers of mixed pickled vegetables before the main event.
THIS. was the real highlight for me. Duck Squash is the incredibly unassuming name for something so divine.
I’d never had dry aged duck before and this one was aged two weeks before being roasted carefully over an open flame. This magical slice of heaven was born with just the right amount of heat and light seasoning.
That beautiful crispy char on its skin, and the inside — a beautiful perfect medium rare pink that was firm, juicy and yet seemed to dissolve in your mouth all at the same time. I’ll be honest and say I totally ignored the squash by this point, if only to make way for more of this mouthwatering treat.
And finally.. despite being full to bursting point, we somehow managed to make room for dessert. Again, to cleanse the palate (oh how we have sinned!) these sweet Pickled Strawberries.
Before we popped these light cream Cheese Sponges topped with Shaved Truffle into our mouths. The taste of the truffle was barely there but still felt very indulgent.
This next dessert really made an impression — Foie Gras with Lychee, Pine Nut and Riesling Jelly. It’s hard to imagine how all these flavours are able to come together in heavenly harmony but it really did.
The foie gras shavings in particular were buttery and full of flavour. So much glorious richness cut with the light, wine-infused jelly. Beautiful.
Then there was another treat in the form of this Wild Rice Kombu Ice-Cream. The textures in this were exceptional.
The light crunch of the shaved nuts on top, the light umami of the kombu powder and that delicious ice-cream made out of black rice. This was another hit.
And finally, to round off the whole meal, this refreshing Melon with Honey and Mint.
It’s amazing how something so simple can taste so sublime. The texture, tart and sweet flavour and the mint-scented oil left a lovely aftertaste in our mouths after a truly enjoyable experience.
Of course, it was even more awesome that we ran into our friends Heon and Shawn who were on their honeymoon and happened to be seated right beside us that evening!
What a wonderful coincidence and it was great to just kick back with some cocktails and dessert wines while we digested that magnificent meal.
You may not find every single dish exceptional, but you will definitely be surprised and at times even wowed. And there’s truly no other experience quite like one at the gastronomic playground that is Momofuku Ko. Give it a shot if you’re in town!