March 4, 2005 2:43 AM | By Adam Roberts | 4 Comments

Momofuku: This Ain't Your Momo's Fuku

Earlier this year I cheated you, my beloved audience. I ate at Momofuku and I didn't tell you about it. It just sort of happened. I didn't have my camera with me. It was late at night; I was drunk. I'M SORRY, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO FORGIVE ME? YOU CAN'T BE ANGRY AT ME FOREVER!

Perhaps tonight I will put us on our path towards healing. I went back JUST FOR YOU because I love you. Ok, that's a lie. I went for me because I love Momofuku. But you shall benefit.

I was with Jason (who lives near Momofuku and introduced me to it), Alex B., Molly and Colin. The latter three were like "what's Momofuku? Why are we going there?" and Jason and I were like: "Trust us, you'l love it."

We got there and the place was tightly packed. Luckily there were five stools facing a wall near the front. Here's a pic that gives you a feel of the place:


It's an open kitchen type atmosphere. See that girl in the pink vest? The distance between her and the wall is not much---I had to scoot past all those people to get to the bathroom. Momofuku keeps things tight and intimate. It's like a honeymoon in that way---a Japanese ramen honeymoon.

Yes, Momofuku's famous for its ramen. Also for its pork buns. But first, sake.

Alex and Molly shared a bottle of sake. Colin ordered a Japanese beer. Jason was sick so he stuck to water. When it was my turn I ordered a glass of Nigori Sho Chiku Bai. The waitress asked: "Do you know what you're ordering?" I responded: "How dare you! Of course I know!" Then I paused. "Ok," I whispered, "What is it?"

"It's unfiltered sake so it's sweet and there's granules in it," she responded. I like sweet so I said yes. Here it is:


It was sweet and milky. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I gave it to Molly to try. She made a face and said, "I don't care for it."

But how often does one CARE for an alcoholic beverage? Emotional connections with alcohol are dangerous prospects. And so I had a purely platonic relationship with my sake and it suited me well.

I encouraged everyone to share pork buns with me because I'd heard they were good. The pork eaters (everyone except Jason) agreed to it and soon the pork arrived in their buns.


Alex poked the bun. "What exactly is this?" she asked curiously. "A bun!" I scolded. Then we all bit in and "mmmm"ed. We liked these buns.

For my ramen bowl I ordered Ginger Scallion. So did Jason. Alex ordered the Chicken Soup bowl, Molly got the Ginger Scallion and Colin got the house specialty, I forget what it was. But here's mine:


This picture doesn't really do it justice. In the darkened space of Momofuku this bowl has an allure; the flash gives it an anaseptic quality. So ignore the picture and focus on the components. Particularly, the cauliflower and scallions---they make this dish whacky good. The noodles are oily but flavorful. Everything marries well and all of us ate with great enthusiasm---twirling, lifting, slurping.

I scraped my bowl clean as did Jason (I didn't see Molly's or Colin's). Alex didn't love her Chicken Soup bowl and regretted not getting Ginger Scallion. Keep that in mind when you go to Momofuku.

Soon the check came and soon we paid and soon we were on our way. Usually I chew gum after a meal--it's a nasty, juvenile habit. But here I let the taste linger in my mouth on the way home. It's that momo fuken good.


those buns look good

Mmm, I love unfiltered sake! If you ever come to San Francisco, you can visit the factory where that sake is made:

And after that (I'm creating an itenerary for your imaginary trip here), the Scharffen Berger Chocolate factory is nearby and offers tours:

Thanks for the review!
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Thanks for the great review.

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