Category Archives: East Village

Momofuku Ssam Bar Large Format Rib Eye

After reading this Eater article, and adding to the comments, I decided I needed to go do this gigantic rib eye at Momofuku Ssam Bar. I went with my wife and two friends from Tabelog. We rocked it. Check out the pics and details below.

We started out with what we thought was a complimentary plate of sardines on toast with fermented chic peas and pickled hearts of palm. Why did we think it was complimentary, you ask? Because (1) we didn’t fucking order it, and (2) the fucking waiter told us that he brought it out to us because he wanted us to try his favorite item. I’m not gonna complain any more than dropping two F-bombs, but needless to say I was a little confused and pissed when I saw the bill and realized we were charged for it (after leaving and already paying, mind you). The app was great. Salty, juicy, earthy, “umami,” and all that good shit. But there was plenty of meat, potatoes and greens to go around with the rib eye special that we didn’t need an app. Now, the waiter was great and all, but a surprise charge like this, couched in “freebie” behavior, is kinda fucked up. Okay that’s three F-bombs now. Readers: make sure you check out the coolness of what Momofuku did in response to this review, which I updated at the very bottom. All is right and well.

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I’ll leave the meat for last… aside from dessert, of course. The art of anticipation…

Next was the bowl of perfectly fried french fries. Delicious. They came with a nice, smokey bacon ketchup too. Crispy outside, mashed potatoes inside. Mmmmm.

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Then a massive Caesar salad with brown butter croutons. Crisp and refreshing.

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Okay now for the blowout. This is a 107oz hunk of GODmeat. Dry aged for 50 days, originally hailing from the Niman farm in California, this cut of rib contains the outer fat slabs as well as what you normally get with a traditional cut of rib eye + fat cap.

Here are some before shots of a slightly smaller cut (not ours):

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It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, allowed to cool, and then sliced and plated on a thick cutting board. Some of the fat was the gristled kind, but much of it was the edible, meat bubblegum kind. Savory beef jelly. Awesome.

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It was served with four sauces: the bacon ketchup mentioned earlier, a bernaise sauce, a red wine + shallot marmalade, and rendered steak fat + brown butter and herbs.

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Also, four bundles of roasted garlic cloves, so soft that you could smear the garlic on your steak like creamy mashed potatoes or some shit.

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Was all this enough? Nope. Of course not. I’m a former fat guy. So we followed up with some dessert.

First was a popcorn cake. Instead of sifting flower in the pre-baking process, they sifted popcorn. It was really unique, and served with a little side bowl of strawberry jam to spread across each forkfull. All I can say is that you should get it if you go here.

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And finally we had the Thai tea pie. This cold dessert had the unique characteristic flavor of Thai tea with an added tangy tamarind sauce and some sort of chocolatey, tea-infused puffed rice kinda thing on top. Nice.

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So that’s all. Great fucking meal, aside from the fact that I was charged for something that we didn’t order. On the slightly brighter side of things, however, it looks as though they forgot to charge us for our third beer. So we were still overcharged, but only by $9 instead of $15.


UPDATE!!! The management over at Ssam Bar saw this review and made good on their mishap. Good people as well as good food! An honest mistake that stemmed from a desire to provide top notch customer service. And 100% classy that they reached out to me. See below:

Ssam bar email

207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Prime & Beyond

Prime & Beyond overall score: 74


People who plan to go here should realize and appreciate the fact that this is primarily a meat house, so the menu is limited on purpose. It is NOT meant to be a massive, traditional steakhouse with a never-ending menu and a gigantic, full-staffed kitchen. What they are doing here is focused and directed, purposeful and deliberate. Think ramen menu (limited, small) as opposed to diner menu (everything but the kitchen sink). So as a caveat, low scores in some of these categories really mean nothing when you think about it. Flavor is the big essential here, and they did a great job in that category. My wife and I came here for a secret $50 deal and to cash in some OpenTable rewards. The deal, running through the end of the month, is for a glass of wine, a soup or salad, a choice of app, and a wet or dry aged strip steak. Essentially you get the wine, soup/salad and app for free, since $50 is the regular cost for just the steak.

Flavor: 8
My bone-in rib eye was under-seasoned and unevenly seasoned (some parts had the needed salt, others were flat on taste). However it was very evenly cooked; quite impressive, actually. The scallion and anchovy sauce added that necessary salt back into the bite. Use it. I expected the fat to be broken down more from the 9 week aging on mine. It definitely had some waste. By itself the rib eye was a 7 out of 10, but the rating here jumps up because of the strip.

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scallion & anchovy sauce topping
scallion & anchovy sauce topping

The strip was nicely seasoned. And similar with the perfectly even cook job. The strip was a juicy wet-aged boneless cut that had been aging at least 20 days. You can definitely can tell the difference. It was better than the rib eye (9/10). The strip portion was a little thin, but since it was part of the $50 price fix it was to be expected.

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Both steaks a little under (these were somewhere between rare and medium rare, closer to rare) but I was expecting that from the minions at yelp.

Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 10
You have a lot to choose from here, both in the single cut steak section and the steak for two section. Kevin took me to the aging room downstairs and showed me all the goodies through the glass. Before they cook your meat, they will bring out a plate with your cuts to show you the superb marbling. The dry aged selections are a 50 day minimum in the aging process. The steak I had was at 9 weeks. For wet-aged, the minimum is 20 days. They have all the essential cuts and then some. Bravo.

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Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portions are good here, considering how much is lost during the lengthy aging process. My rib eye was 20oz, bone-in.

Price: 9
As I mentioned above, we had some OpenTable cash AND took advantage of a special deal, so the price was right for us on this trip. The steak prices are average and on par with other competitors, and the appetizers are fairly large portions, but you are in a very different kind of atmosphere here, so you have to take that into consideration for your own pricing judgment. When you see the ambiance section you’ll understand.


Bar: 5
This is not a proper bar, but it really doesn’t matter for what this place is about. They only offer wine, beer (bottles and taps) and soju. Good enough. I couldn’t have a martini, but this is the kind of environment where it’s not needed. The bar is small, with room for only 4 people, but it is close to windows and the steps up to street level.

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Specials and Other Meats: 6
The menu is pretty much beef-centric with the exception of the apps, which offer some great pork selections. They have kalbi and bulgolgi, and a really delicious looking “burger rice” item that I may have to come back for some day soon.

Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
The apps here are strong. We had a bunch of shit.

The bacon was perfectly roasted, then cut up and served with a spice salt.

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The yuzu dressing salad was very refreshing and properly dressed.

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The butternut squash soup was flavorful and not too thick and filling, though I was sort of taken back that it was being served in the summer.

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The Wagyu salami was incredibly soft and spicy. There was a LOT of it too, for only $8. I would almost prefer this to be available per slice as opposed to a large app size order of 8 slices. It was too much, almost. Maybe they should make it $1/slice?

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The pork soo yook is essentially braised pork belly in a sweet, tangy, and spicy BBQ sauce. So soft and delicious. The sauce was a little too sweet and too salty, but still really yummy. It came with braised carrots and peppers, as well as some crispy chip things to add texture. The mixed greens on the side went perfect with the excess sauce used as a dressing.

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Dessert was called “the planetarium.” It was milk choc mousse with a pear filling. Pretty good. Not overly sweet but I definitely had to chug water to calm down the taste buds.

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Seafood Selection: 2
Unfortunately there’s only scallops and crab cake on the app menu. But please recall what I said above in the introductory paragraph. That said, perhaps some shellfish or octopus could make their way onto the menu in some prominent form. Korean cuisine is known for excellence in preparing those great items.

Service: 9
Our experience here was great. Nathan was a great waiter, very attentive, and with great suggestions. And Kevin was very helpful and informative when he took me down to see the aging room.

Ambiance: 7
This has the feel of a small neighborhood restaurant. It’s clean, white interior and painted bricks make the dark brown tables and chairs pop. The old timey 1930s and 1940s music was great too.

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90 E. 10th St.
New York, NY 10003

Whole Rotisserie Duck At Momofuku Ssam Bar

Check this shit out, you salivating scumbags:

Keeping in line with my recent non-steak-related commentary dealing with other delicious foods around NYC, I present to you the whole rotisserie duck at Momofuku:


This particular dish is available at Momofuku Ssam Bar on 2nd Avenue at 13th Street. For $140 you get the duck (breast stuffed with duck sausage just under the skin and roasted) served atop a bed of jasmine rice; some chive pancakes and Bibb lettuce for wrapping; two seasonal sides (we chose the pickled veggies and kimchi, and the baby bok choy seasonal greens); and crispy shallots, cilantro, mint, Thai basil, watercress, hoisin sauce, Korean BBQ sauce and duck scallion sauce for toppings. They even bring out some duck broth made fresh at the end of the meal.

The duck is locally sourced too, for all your eco-assholes out there that actually give a shit. It’s from Crescent Duck in Aquebogue, Long Island.

crescent duck

Now on with the pics. Duck off, or go duck yourself:

First, my wife ordered a Bloody Mary. Here. it’s made with rye, sake, tomato, apple, ham, and togarashi. We thought it was a little on the small side for $11, and a little sweet, but it was meaty, spicy and otherwise good. Nice ice cube in there too.

bloody mary
bloody mary

Next we ordered an app of liver mousse. Delicious, light and creamy. Topped with pickled radish and some greens.

liver mousse
liver mousse

Here is one of the side items that came with the duck meal – the pickled veggie jars:

pickled veggies
pickled veggies

And the “seasonal greens” – aka baby bok choy:

baby bok choy
baby bok choy

Then they brought out the pre-sliced duck to show it to us:

pre-sliced duck
pre-sliced duck

Here it is all sliced up and presented nice-nice:

rotisserie duck platter
rotisserie duck platter

Here’s the lettuce and sauce collection:

Bibb + sauces
Bibb + sauces

And finally they bring out a little bowl of duck broth to finish off the meal. Very rich.

duck broth
duck broth

Here are some more pics of the duck. If you look closely you can see the layer where the duck sausage splits from the duck breast. Each little slice was like a two-in-one punch of roasty, crispy, juicy flavor. Fucking awesome.

crispy deliciousness
crispy deliciousness
served on a bed of jasmine rice
served on a bed of jasmine rice
constructing a duck ssam on a scallion pancake
constructing a duck ssam on a scallion pancake


And here’s one last shot – the kitchen in full swing:


207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003