Ssam Bar (Momofuku)
As far as I’m concerned, NYC is pretty much my home away from home when it comes to woes of my stomach. This city always offers us so much and even after a hard hit to the locals here the past week and still in a tough spot for many.
Despite all the mounting reasons why it would be better for a postponement of a department training, we continued. To make the best I could for my time in the city, I still tried to give my business to the proprietors of the city. This evening, a group of 8 hungry, hungry hippos (yes, it’s a MEGA version of the game) made its way down to East Village for Ssam Bar.
The last time I was at this Momofuku establishment was back in March, but it left a specific memory for myself – we need more people to eat! Last time, it was only my friend KF and myself. We did our fair share of sampling David Chang’s signature dishes, plus staff favorites. This time, we had more than enough mouths to sample even more!
This was a cold, small dish of noodles that was dressed in what seemed like some sort of sesame sauce. The roe added the little salt and the hearts of palm seem to freshen up my bite. It was good, but not stellar.
Wow….the pig ear was fried super crispy and seasoned so well that I thought I was eating chips! If you weren’t told you were eating pig ears, you could easily pass this for fried jerky. Yums!
This pretty much explains itself: kimchi-ed apples with bacon and arugula. This is served with a maple yogurt that cuts the pickled apples. The reason I ordered this dish for the table was because I remember this dish being the big surprise from my first visit. It was unexpected in how much I liked it!
Yes…we had a LOT of the bun appetizers (actually we ordered all of them). Everyone was floored at how good the steamed and bbq buns were. Seems like the consensus at the table was that the bbq buns were the favorite of them all. I personally had a gripe this time about the steam buns – the bread itself was too dry and just made me sad! The buns used for the bbq version were nice and soft and fluffy. Why?!?! As for the lobster roll…it’s nothing special at all. I would suggest skipping this one and go else where if the craving is lobster roll.
I didn’t get to try the quail itself, but my colleagues seem to really like it. One even said, “I wasn’t expecting anything and it is better than I thought it would be.” I did try the spaghetti squash that was coated with what tasted like curry and it was good.
This was the dish that I would say, should be the signature entree of the restaurant. It was just as good as the first time – spicy, tangy, savory, cripsy, chewy, meaty, crunchy. There is no way I was going to split one order with 7 other people, so I insisted on ordering 2 of them! Everyone was loving this dish as well and diving into them.
O.M.G…this dish was MY highlight of the evening. During my first visit, KF and I saw people ordering the octopus and it looked soooo good. That’s why this time, I was determined to get it!! Gee willikers batman! That is a darn good plate of octopus!! I mean…it was cooked perfectly that this was one of two times I’ve ever had octopus in my life when it was NOT chewy (like rubber). One thing I did have an issue with this was that it was overly salted. Other than that, give. me. MOAR!!!!
After two visits during different times of the year, I found Ssam Bar to be addicting and consistent (more or less….fix that dry bun issue!). The staff is attentive but not overly bearing and even took the time to talk to one of our colleagues because she wanted to modify an overly strong drink. Would I be back? Heck. YES.
Ssam Bar | momofuku
207 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10003