Momofuku Ssam Bar - Dude Grade: B
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 254-3500
We dudes here are big fans of the Momofuku restos, as are most food nerds in the area. What you'll get at Momofuku is comforting food that is spot on with the seasoning and such perfect balance - acidity is prevalent which I dig a lot. Ssam bar is no exception and I'm surprised that this is my first time eating here.
jonah crab claws – harissa mayo *
I'm a picky oyster guy, but the ones here are probably the best I've had from a NY resto in a long time. Great flavor and texture to this sucker, but still making me amped up for my annual return visit to Elliot's Oyster House. Crab claws had good flavor although I wanted something more - not sure what? The harissa mayo was killer though.
steamed buns – pork belly, hoisin, cucumbers, scallions **
A classic and a must get especially since we had our friend Elina visiting from London. Perfect balance of flavors and textures - rich, sweet, brightness, meltingly fatty, and crunchy.
asparagus – trout roe, lily shoots, sunflower seeds **
The asparagus at Ma Peche made my knees weak, so I figured I had to get some asparagus here as well. Good call as this was another classic momofuku combo of great textures and flavors - nuttiness from the seeds and a bright salty pop from the trout roe.
veal sweetbreads (provitello farm) – almond, sauerkraut, thai chili **
Love sweetbreads and these were pretty friggin great. Creamy and the chili served as a perfect foil to cut the richness.
braised oxtail dumplings – turnip, satsuma, shio kombu **
A great dish that was crazy addicting. Dumpling skin texture was so perfect - chewy, yet still soft. And the broth was like crack.
roasted lamb loin & belly– bulgur, ramp scapes, egg yolk ***
The first dish that was a big time wtf dish. The lamb belly was so eff'n sexy with the egg yolk. Way over the top richness, but it kicked so much ars.
Trout was cooked perfectly and a great combo with the artichoke and pistachio.
Dessert special *
A big ars croissant with some fruit cream in the middle topped with an ice cream supposedly flavored by szechuan peppercorn. We didn't get the peppercorn so much, more a coffee thing going on. The dessert was good, but I wouldn't order it again. Plus, we didn't realize this served 6-8 people - tough when we only had 3.
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way
Overall Restaurant Experience
- Food (B+) – Classic momofuku - all dishes were delicious, extremely comforting and perfectly balanced.
- Service (B) – Server was attentive and food came out at a solid place.
- Atmosphere (C) – This is what detracts most people from this place - the music is crazy loud here and you sit on stools which are a tad uncomfortable. The place has this sushi thing going on with all wood (walls, tables, floors), but it's dark and feels more like a bar. The place seats maybe around 50? and was completely packed. We got there at 6pm on a Sunday and had to wait a couple of minutes. Around 7pm there was a good amount of people waiting in line.
- Price (C) - Meal was around $90 a head which seems a bit too pricey. The food was solid, but it's a bit too uncomfortable there for the price/quality of the meal.
If I want this style of food, I would definitely go to Ma Peche which is a much more comfortable environment and I think the food is more exciting. Regardless, Ssam Bar is still serving out some great food and I definitely want to check out the place for the Bo Ssam.