Chef and Restaurateur David Chang has become one of the most famous chefs in the United States. He is a true individualist, like a culinary rebel who goes his own way and cooks whatever he feels for without listening too much to anyone else. Chang has many restaurants, but his best one is Momofuku Ko.
Ko means “son of” and it is David Chang’s third restaurant which opened in East Village in New York City just as his previous restaurants. There are only twelve seats and the restaurant has been notoriously infamous for its difficult reservation system which only can occur online two weeks in advance for lunch and one week in advance for dinner. A lot is very different when it comes to Momofuku Ko and one example of difference is the set lunch menu which is more expensive and has more dishes than the dinner menu. Around 16 courses à 175 dollars for lunch and around 10 courses à 125 dollars for dinner, plus beverage pairings. Yes, beverage pairings not wine pairings since the beverages matching your dish just as easily can be a beer or whatever the sommelier likes to serve you – no worry – it will match perfect with the food. All you eat and drink will be rather unique, but Chef Peter Serpico, who is the head of Ko and also a business partner of David Chang, makes sure that you have dishes you never had before. A lot of the food is Asian inspired and you eat most of it with chopsticks, but there are many European cooking techniques used in the galley kitchen just in front of you. Yes, forget about the tables – at Momofuku Ko you sit on a stool next to a plain counter and the cooks make the food just in front of you and they also serve you without any waiters. There are two waiters in the tiny room you sit in, but they take care of the beverage pairings and clean the counter when you are finished with each dish.
David Chang was born in American Virginia in 1977, but his parents come from North and South Korea and you will find Korean influences in the cuisine of Momofuku Ko as well, even if it might be well hidden. Chef Chang worked at several restaurants, like Mercer Kitchen, Craft and Café Boulud in New York and he has worked in Japan as well. He really knows fine dining and how to prepare it, but he turned his back on that for doing his own thing instead which proved to be hugely successful. His more casual style has been just what people were requesting, but his cuisine still has impeccable flavours and innovation without compromising any quality.
Momofuku Ko is a restaurant without any compromising and without any options. You eat what Chef Peter Serpico serves you and you can forget about any vegetarian alternatives. Luckily the cuisine is fantastic, with flavours and textures to create smile after smile which makes it worth all the effort to secure a seat at the smallest, but the best of all the Momofuku restaurants.
Written by Andy