Tag Archives: david chang

Bo Ssam Feast

I recently teamed up with @LetsDutch to organize a large format meal and promote the awesome service that they provide for their users. In case you missed it last time, I’ll explain a little bit about what Let’s Dutch is again.

Have you ever wanted to partake in a group experience but had trouble rallying your friends to join? Well, now you don’t have to miss out on that event. Let’s Dutch allows you to host or join in group events, curate a guest list and securely pay for things ahead of time. It can be used on anything from super luxurious vacations to simple discounted group rate experiences around town.

You’re essentially crowdfunding your fun, sharing the experience and splitting the cost.

The cool part is that you get to know people with similar interests. For example, in the two large format dinners I’ve done through Let’s Dutch, I’ve cultivated at least a half a dozen friendships.

So for this “meating” of the Carcass Club, we had a beast feast with some pork shoulder at Momofuku Ssam Bar. This is known as their large format Bo Ssam feast, which feeds 6-10 people. Let’s Dutch President Vincent Paradiso and I stacked the seats with four or five Instagram influencers, and then held a sweepstakes giveaway for the remaining seats.

Here’s how the meal went down.

We started with the famous pork belly buns. These were fantastic. Super tender, highly flavorful.

Then the Bo Ssam items started coming out. First the lettuce wraps and Korean sauces.

Then the oysters, which are meant to be placed into the lettuce wraps along with the pork and sauces.

And finally, the massive hunk of pork shoulder.

Pictures don’t really do this thing justice. To get the scale of it, you should really see it as it is being pulled apart with tongs.

The meat was tender and delicious, especially the fattier parts that held in a lot of juiciness.

We also had some nice mushroom soup with lotus root. This was absolutely delicious, and might have actually been my favorite part of the meal.

And then some dessert: green tea creme brulee with miso and blueberry crust.

And toffee cake with brown sugar ice cream.

The toffee cake was the big winner as far as desserts go. Great meal, great people, great service. I highly recommend both the large format feasts at Momofuku AND the Let’s Dutch service.

MOMOFUKU SSAM BAR
207 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

Ando Delivery Service

Ando’s Community Manager reached out and offered me some credit on David Chang’s new food delivery service app in order to gain feedback about a few menu items. I’d tried a few things that my wife brought home, but that was a few months back and I’d only tried them after the food sat for a few hours in the fridge between lunch and dinner time.

The way Ando works is that between 11:00am and 2:00pm you can order up some great fried chicken and various sandwiches for delivery in midtown. But the trick is that you have to order early, because sometimes they’re completely sold out by 11:30!

I was working with a $25 credit. Me and a buddy at work split an order of fried chicken and a Philly cheese (which they call a “NYC Cheesesteak”). We ordered at 11:00am on the dot, to avoid any sold out items. The food arrived to our office, literally, in eight minutes. They threw in a free cookie from Milk Bar too, as you can see.

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When we first read the description of the fried chicken box on the app, “thigh and leg,” we thought it wasn’t going to be enough food for us. And at $12 for two pieces of chicken it seemed a bit pricey. But the pieces of chicken were big and filling.

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The battered skin is absolutely delicious on these babies. It’s got a little spice to it, but not too much. It’s super crispy and stays crisp even if it’s in the box for a while, or refrigerated for a few hours. The meat underneath is extremely tender and juicy. This is one of my favorite fried chicken boxes in the city, and it’s much better than the stuff Chang serves at Ma Peche, in my opinion.

The chicken also comes with coleslaw as well. This brightly colored slaw was nice and sweet, with just a touch of savory. It wasn’t too watery either, which was nice because I dislike watery slaw. While I’m generally not a huge coleslaw guy, this version was pretty good.

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As for the cheesesteak, at $12 we both felt like it was a little expensive, especially considering that there were a few gristled bits of fat that I had to pull out of my mouth. The flavors, however, were great. The cheese is evenly melted throughout the sandwich, the bread isn’t greased up or destroyed from too much juice, and the onions are nicely cooked. It’s just a bit small and expensive, but then again this is David Chang’s food, so that is what justifies the price. Keep in mind, this is only $1 more than a Shorty’s cheesesteak, which is one of my favorite in the city.

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Overall the food is very good; even the cookie was soft and delicious. Our food came to $24, and with tax and tip we were at about $30. We were full and satisfied for about $4 or $5 after the press review credit was applied. I definitely recommend this service. The chicken is pretty great, and has a unique flavor with a wonderful crisp.

ANDO
Food Delivery App
Available on iTunes

Fuku+ and Ma Peche

In need of a fried chicken fix, and with no real deal fried chicken joints in my area, Fuku+ became the spot to hit on a Sunday evening.

My wife and I tried the “mini me” sandwich and some bites. All of the chicken is dark meat, so you’re getting good flavor and tenderness each time you sink your teeth in. One thing to note: the green sauce that comes with the bites is fucking incredible. It’s a jalapeno jelly of sorts. Spicy, sweet, thick and the heat stays with you a few minutes.

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Each item was $6, so reasonably priced. I just feel that the mini me sandwich needs lettuce, tomato and mayo and it would be perfect. All that comes with it are two slices of pickle. But the breading and crisp are nice, and the potato bun rocks.

While we were there we ordered some fried chicken from Ma Peche to go; their famous habanero fried chicken. Kind of a let down, in my opinion. The batter was overcooked and slightly burned, and it lacked seasoning. The habanero kick was barely present at the aftertaste mark. Also one of my drumsticks was not fully cooked on the inside. Bummer. At $30 per order (pictured below are two orders), this is simply not fucking worth it. You’re better off going to Fuku+ for a few orders of the bites if you need your fried chicken fix.

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On a second visit to Fuku+ with my friend Matt Bruck, we sampled a few other items. First was the “Juicy Lucy” burger, which is made with a cheese-stuffed Niman Ranch patty, topped with grilled onions and special sauce, and slapped between a nice, soft, supple-yet-strong potato bun.

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This fucker was cooked to about medium well, despite the waitress warning us that it would be “cooked through,” presumably to well done (so that all the cheese inside adequately melts down). Some reviews online reported that this was a rubbery, overcooked burger. We didn’t have that experience, though I do sympathize. The all-natural burger, being cooked and formed a bit differently than a traditional patty, certainly has a different texture than you might expect. The flavors smack of teriyaki or some other Asian influence. It reminded me a bit of the burger I had in Maui at Bully’s (the roadside joint I will mention in my forthcoming Maui blog post).

Next we had the mission Chinese chicken fingers. These are nice and spicy, and it’s the only white meat chicken you will find here at Fuku+. These were breaded with a crispy crust that was steeped in chili and five spice. Really nice, and I highly recommend it.

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Last was the pickled mussels. These were okay. They were a little bit unwieldy, being served in a jar and meant to be eaten on the provided toasty slices of French bread. They were definitely pungent and had a touch of spice from the pickling process.

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FUKU+ / MA PESCHE
Chambers Hotel
15 W. 56th St.
New York, NY 10022

Momofuku Ko

My wife and I came here as one of my Christmas gifts to her. We had heard lots of amazing shit about this place, so we were excited to go. This meal happened at the new restaurant space on Extra Place. Since it was relatively recent since they made the switch, we had the pleasure of actually seeing and meeting Chef David Chang in the restaurant. Pretty awesome, seeing as I feel he is one of the most important and innovative chefs of a generation. Here’s a shot I took of him and my wife after we finished our meal:

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So anyway, check out the tasting meal we had: easily one of the best meals of my life. My wife’s photos came out amazing, so I included them too (overhead shots).

We were seated at the corner of the U-shaped bar, and felt that our every need was attended to, constantly. The service here is amazing, and it feels as if each diner has a pair of chefs and waiters all to him/herself. The presence of management is always felt as well. They really go above and beyond to make sure you are having a great meal.

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First was a Concord grape soda & jelly shot to prep the taste buds. Fizzy and sweet.

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We were already sipping on some cocktails. Mine was a gin drink (on the left) called “Shrub,” and my wife had a bourbon drink called “Quartet.” Both were excellent. We had a pair of hot damp towels too, to get all that subway stripper pole germ shit off of our hands before eating. The cool thing about this meal is that it’s not pretentious by any means. You eat with your hands for most of the meal.

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The first food items were a lobster & mint cylinder, and a dry aged beef tartlet with carrot. The beef was really flavorful and savory. I wanted more! The lobster and mint combo was surprisingly good, and it was a refreshing bite.

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Next was an amazingly tasty bite of sushi. Striped bass with nori, pickled veggies and daikon.

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Then came a millefeuille of rye phyllo dough layered with trout roe and green tea powder. Absolutely stunning to look at, and even nicer to shove down your throat. Just be careful not to breathe while eating or that green tea powered may have you coughing.

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This red snapper tartare may have been my favorite dish of the night. It came mixed with a jelly made from the fish bones broth/flavor, and dressed with yuzu, lime and shiso spray.

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Another refreshing and light dish was this raw scallop with pineapple dashi, drizzled with basil seed and basil oil soup. Awesome.

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Next was probably my least favorite dish, but it was still nicely executed. Beets with brown butter and bonito (dried anchovies).

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The following is the absolute best preparation of uni (sea urchin) I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Prior to this, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of uni. I’ve had some great preparations (like at Takashi), but nothing ever really blew me away to the point where I would go out of my way to have it. This was amazing though. It was raw, and served with a fermented chic pea puree and topped with lemon olive oil. So fucking creamy!

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This next dish was fun to watch them prepare. It was torched mackerel with rice, wasabi and dash ponzu sauce, sitting on a wasabi leaf. Sushi, essentially. The cool thing was that they used an infrared torch to get that char on the fish without imparting any fuel flavor from something like a butane torch.

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After some googling at home, I found that Chef Chang has actually endorsed the product, and supported their Kickstarter efforts. The product is called the Searzall. Check it out – it’s fucking cool:

The trout mousse with pickled sunchoke and kale in a dashi broth was warm and comforting. A bowl of this on a cold winter night would hit the spot. They poured the broth in table side. I shot some video of it (six seconds), but it really wasn’t that exciting so I decided to just show the photo.

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Another highlight of the meal was the soft scrambled egg with Siberian caviar and sweet potato flakes. It had great texture from the flakes, great briny salt from the caviar, and the egg was perfect.

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They also served the egg dish with some sourdough bread and watermelon-radish salted butter. The butter was very unique and flavorful. Very fresh and light. The kind of butter you can eat by the vat and not feel guilty about it.

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My next favorite course, and my wife’s first favorite course, was the celery root agniolotti pasta with Tandoori spice and fucking white truffle. This was perfect in every way. It was soft and pillowy, yet it had crunch from the truffle (it was crisp!). It was slightly salty, but I really didn’t mind because the flavors were so robust.

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Next was a slow cooked branzino with yogurt sumac sauce. It was toped with spiced sunflower seeds, which came off slightly bitter, but still nice to eat. Also mixed in was artichoke. This dish had the skin on. Typically I don’t eat fish skin unless it is crispy, but this was awesome. It was soft and tender. It felt like any other part of the fish meat when I popped it into my mouth.

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This next dish was both salty and spicy. It was roasted lobster tail and sweet potato in a lobster sauce with fried ginger. The sauce would have been perfect if it wasn’t so salty. I found that if I didn’t dip too often into the sauce, then I really enjoyed this dish. The lobster meat was cooked perfectly.

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Most interesting dish of the night goes to the Hudson Valley foie gras that seemed to be grated as if it were super soft cheese. It was garnished with pine nuts, Reisling wine jelly and lychee. This, too, was salty, but I enjoyed it very much.

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Here comes the meat, bitches! Venison loin with a sauce made from cranberry and deer blood. It was served with a side of whipped potato that had been combined with with butter and a cheese that was reminiscent of a Stilton or blue cheese. As you can see below, the venison was cooked rare, and if I had to guess, it was sous vide style, and then lightly torched.

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A palate cleanser came next: Clementine sorbet with Campari.

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The dessert was highly anticipated. A guy a few seats down from us when we first arrived had just gotten his bowl, and was flipping out about how great it was. He didn’t want to eat it because he didn’t want it to end. Coconut lime sorbet with banana rum meringue and wafers.

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There was complimentary coffee:

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And a small tray of macarons and chocolates came along with the bill:

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I should also make note of the music at this place. It was excellent, as if the selection were based off of my favorites. There was lots of 80s music, and oldies. They even played our wedding song, which was nice. I felt bad because I was in the middle of chatting with one of the chefs about all the delicious shit in the fridges at the back of the restaurant, otherwise I would  have liked to bust out and dance with my wife beside our seats.

It was so cool though – floor to ceiling fridges make up one whole wall in the back, and you can actually see what you’re eating and how it is stored. Here are some of the awesome things I found in the fridges: truffles, aging tuna, cheese cloth wrapped foie gras, aging venison loin (unless that is some sort of sausage) and a variety of aging beef.

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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.

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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

MOMOFUKU SSAM BAR
207 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Sik Gaek Seafood Hot Pot

Me, my wife, and some of our friends went to this pretty crazy Korean restaurant in Woodside called Sik Gaek. Good luck reading the website if you can’t read Korean. However the pics are nice under the “Delicious Table” drop down menu. They have some nice looking meats and fish.

I say “crazy” not to be judgmental of other cultures, but rather to demonstrate the purely subjective boundaries which I needed to cross to actually partake in the ingesting of food here. It’s crazy for ME, in other words. I typically eat my food cooked (with the exception of sushi, ceviche, shellfish and tartare). Not only that, but I usually eat my animals and fish AFTER they are good and dead (again, with the exception of shellfish). Also – my food usually isn’t MOVING. As you’ll see below, these western culinary conventions are thrown out the window at Sik Gaek. And that’s a good thing.

This place (the Flushing location rather than the Woodside spot we went to) was actually featured on an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s show on the Travel Channel called “No Reservations.” The show is now off the air, as he has moved to CNN with “Parts Unknown” (it’s essentially the same show). In the “No Reservations” episode clipped below, he was in the midst of doing a tour of various “hidden” Asian food and culture spots around Queens with renowned chef David Chang. Watch as he eats still-moving, live, marinated and chopped octopus:

It makes me think of a shocking scene from the Korean film Old Boy, which has one of the most fucked-up twist endings ever, and is one of the most fucked-up but excellent movies of our time. No doubt this film will garner even more attention when Spike Lee fucks it up upon the release of his remake later this year, starring Josh Brolin:

Anyway… on to the actual food that we ate. It turns out there was a huge disappointment. They were out of live octopus. So after all that babble above, I didn’t really get to test the limits of my culinary tolerances. We did enjoy some delicious food though, and some of it was still moving while it cooked in the hot pot. Check out the pics below.

First, the drinks. Two types of beer, two types of soju, and a watermelon full of vagina juice (watermelon punch):

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Almost forgot the Psy shot glass:

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Next, the starters. First up, eggs and veggies:

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Then rice cakes and tofu skin with spicy sauce, along with some pickled items and dips:

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Then we had some thick cut pork belly:

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Then we moved on to the seafood hot pot, which contained lobster, blue claw crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, razor clams, abalone, baby octopus, squid, udon noodles, bean sprouts, and cabbage. They even give you a trash bucket beside the table to throw all the shells in.

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And YES – the lobster was still moving at our table while it cooked:

Since they knew we were there for the live octopus, and we had made the reservation and tried to reserve a ‘pus for the table way in advance of getting there, they felt bad and gave us a plate of bacon wrapped mushrooms on the house:

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One of the best parts of the meal was using the broth pan to cook fried rice. Packed with flavor, and nice and crispy:

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Two more shots – one of the restaurant space, and one of a little kitchen flood:

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SIK GAEK
49-11 Roosevelt Ave.
Woodside, NY 11377