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Momofuku Noodle Bar, East Village - Chef Sean Heller in David Chang's First Restaurant at 1st Avenue and E. 11th Street


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From today's NY Times--- for all of you debating how many restaurants David Chang has......

MOMOFUKU David Chang’s expanded noodle bar opens today with 53 seats, including five tables. The kitchen is “so enormous we’re all giddy,” he said. The menu is pretty much the same as in the original, which is being turned into a small restaurant for prix fixe dinners: 171 First Avenue (11th Street), (212) 777-7773.

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Momofuku Noodle My favorite meal of the whole trip, bar none. We had the “smoked hudson valley duck breast – mustard seeds, sour cream, cinnamon” “steamed buns shiitake” and “roasted rice cakes - shrimp, tamago, cashews” My mouth is watering just thinking about these dishes. Umami defined.

The "Momofuku Ramen" at Momofuku Noodle was about the best thing I've eaten so far this year. A rich, porky broth with poached egg, two kinds of pork (pulled and belly) and noodles. This place totally lived up to all the hype. I'm itching to try Momofuku Ssam next time.

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Has anyone done the pasta tasting menu at Babbo? Is it worth it?

Also, any suggestions for Ippudo?

I'll be trying Babbo's pasta tasting menu in June, so I'd appreciate some feedback also.

I liked the atmosphere at Ippudo more than the ramen - based on one visit each, I strongly preferred Momofuku Noodle Bar which is much smaller. That said, this was back when David Chang had only one restaurant, so who knows?

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Anyone had Momofuku's fried chicken or rotisserie duck?

I really like the chicken, especially the Korean style one. The glaze is nice and sweet, skin crispy, the meat is moist blah blah blah. Not a bad way to feed seven people, and it'll be in your price range if you don't go crazy on pork buns etc. There's a pretty healthy markup on the booze though.

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pork buns were mushy (if they could just get a good sear on the pork belly, they would be sublime)

The pork is braised and it's supposed to be somewhat soft/mushy in the traditional Chinese pork belly bun. I wasn't amazed by Momofuku's pork belly bun because it's nothing special. I grew up eating better stuff.

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The pork is braised and it's supposed to be somewhat soft/mushy in the traditional Chinese pork belly bun. I wasn't amazed by Momofuku's pork belly bun because it's nothing special. I grew up eating better stuff.

We loved the special brisket buns--tender juicy braised and then crisped on a griddle. Outstanding. Tamales weren't as good, but ramen was delicious loved the slightly sweet smoky broth. So happy to finally get here.

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I really like the smooth lines, neutral color tones and simple decor of the noodle bar - it's quite zen-like. The staff was incredibly patient and helpful for a first-timer here.

I ordered the Ham bun special ($10 - ham, pickled celery, julienned apple and mint), which was enough for a quick lunch. The ham, which was more like a tasso ham or ham hock slice, compared to american ham, was really thick and thankfully, not overly salty (just right for me). The additions were distracting and sadly, didn't add to the bun itself.

I do find fault with how they make the gua bao - some thing about how it's made is off - could be the rising process, but it distracted me, along with the additions, in really enjoying the bun. Either way, to quote Zora, "So happy to finally get here."

I was quite disappointed in not having enough room to try the ramen. However, for $6, you can order the kids ramen (ramen plus plain broth) as a sample size, if you have room. I couldn't take anything to go because I was going to walk around Manhattan for most of the day and did not want to lug any excess spillable luggage. Boo hoo on me.

I don't know why I found this interesting, but about half the diners were Asian, and the other half mainly caucasian. The place filled up by 12:34pm that day and it opens at 12noon, I think.

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Tuesday night indecision, but made the right choice by stopping by Noodle Bar...

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You can't go wrong with an order of these...

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And certainly not with these...

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This was a delicious take (to my taste) on a Greek salad. Favas (hidden), anchovies, feta, freekeh dressed with a great vinaigrette...

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Rocking as usual at 9-ish, but no wait for a seat. Still really good after all these years.

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What can I say...after all the hype, cookbook, and subscription to Lucky Peach, Momofuku delivered.

Wandered in around 1:30pm on a beautiful Saturday afternoon and the place was slamming.  Put in my name, 20 minutes later they sat the three solo diners at the far end of the bar...by the bathrooms and the kitchen door.  But you know what, we didn't care.  Great view of the kitchen.  Solo diner #2 owned a small winery in Sonoma (Forth Wines) and was in town meeting with distributors.  Solo diner #3 was a pastry chef from Boston in town for a cooking expo...she had just met Morimoto and was gushing.

oh, and how was the food.  Pork buns were everything as advertsied and made you remember why pork belly became the culinary superstar that it is.  Scallion noodles was a simple but complex dish and made me wish that one could get noodles like these on a regular basis in DC.  All in all a lovely 45 minute lunch...and now I have a new winery to try in California.

Off to Baohaus.

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