It's a tough life, living in the East Village. On a daily basis, one is saddled with a very difficult choice: Do you Ssäm or do you Noodle? Brutal, we know, and probably the toughest decision you'll have to make all day, other than whether or not to shower in the morning. You should shower by the way, the unlucky human stuffed inside your armpit on the rush hour L-Train will certainly appreciate it.
As the target audience (i.e. white people) for his Americanized version of Korean EEEEEATS, I'm not ashamed to admit it - I'm a David Chang junkie. Five years after our initial review, he's still got me hooked on V. Momofuku Noodle Bar probably drives ramen purists crazy. It's the ramen equivalent of going to Disney World, with Chang's massive bowl of Momo Ramen starring as the giant turkey leg, smiling at the camera, ready to be photographed. Authentic or not, we don't care. We fucking love this place. We love the massive photo of The Band on the wall. We love the playlists - everything from Atmosphere to Wu-Tang to Hall & Oates. We love the energy. We love being comfortably uncomfortable in the stools. We love that our water glass never gets past half empty before being filled. And most of all, we love the f*cking food.
Like Ssäm, Noodle is not for everyone (i.e. haters of salt), but Noodle Bar's ramen is indeed excellent. Yes, yes, yes, and yes to Ippudo, Totto, Ivan, Rai Rai Ken and whatever other ramen you want to challenge with - they're all awesome too. You know why? Because RAMEN IS DELICIOUS. However, ramen isn't the only reason to come. You can have a great meal and not even order noodles. The ever-changing menu of meat, fish, and vegetable options are always stacked, sometimes with more exciting listings than what you'll find over at Ssäm. Plus, staples like the steamed buns, soy sauce egg, and chicken wings never leave, which is good because we order those things every damn time.
So, which Momofuku should you go to tonight? We'll leave that decision up to you. The good news is that there is no wrong answer.
First things first, we need to discuss the large format fried chicken dinner that they offer at Momofuku because it's by far and away the best fried chicken experience you can have in NYC. A bold statement, we know, and nothing but the truth. Get your best chow-down crew together and make a reservation, it's a blast. This heaping plate arrives at your table and features two whole fried chickens, one Southern-style and one Korean-style with mu shu pancakes, bibb lettuce, four sauces, and a bunch of vegetables. Lettuce wraps for days.
They don’t even put the classic pork buns on the menu anymore, but don’t you worry. They have them. Plenty of them. We’d love to see some numbers on how many they move in a single day. Our love for these three bites of heaven are well documented, so we’ll just leave it alone for now. Order a pork bun. Order a brisket bun if they have it on the menu. Maybe a shrimp bun. A vegetable bun. A chicken bun. You can never have too much bun.
One of our favorite things at Momo Noodle. Whatever they do to these little scallion covered eggs, we like it a whole lot.
A staple on this menu, we love us some waaaangs and order them often. Now that we’ve had the fried chicken though, we wish these wings were both fried and smothered in their Korean-style sauce, because then they’d be the best wings in NYC.
Not at the level that Ssäm does rice cakes. However, still excellent. The Korean sauce we speak of above that we’d love to see on the wings? That’s what’s all over the spicy rice cakes. Order ’em both and borrow some of the sauce for the wings.
This is their most gangster and most popular bowl of ramen. A massive bowl of salty pig broth, pork belly, pork shoulder and a poached egg. Poached egg > hard boiled egg.
Smoked chicken, sesame, and a poached egg. This is the ramen I wind up ordering when I don’t want the heavy pork ramen, and then remember that it’s nowhere near as good. It’s just not as satisfying.
A crave-wrothy brothless bowl of noodles with shiitakes, pickled cucumbers, cabbage, and a bunch of other things healthier than pork. On a warm summer day, this is a great idea.
If you enjoy the sensation of a match being lit inside your mouth, then get the cold spicy noodles with sichuan sausage, spinach, and cashews. This sh*t is insanely spicy, so tread with caution.
There’s a Milk Bar soft serve machine in house with a rotating list of flavors. That’s how you end a meal at Momofuku.