Momofuku Noodle Bar NYC – good for what ails you
Even though we rented an apartment in NYC, it was gluttonous husband’s holiday too – from cooking. Apart from breakfast and the occasional lunch, we ate out all other times. It wasn’t surprising then, that we needed something restorative from time to time. We made a beeline for Momofuku Noodle Bar.
This had just opened in the East Village (home to most of chef David Chang’s eateries in NYC) on our last visit and we couldn’t squeeze it into our stay. This time, the need for ramen became intense. So, off we trotted to 1st Avenue and pulled up a bar stool.
Of course, Greedy Girl wouldn’t be greedy if she didn’t order more than just a ramen – and this would have been a very short post. We’d eaten Chang’s sublime pork (and other) buns at Momofuku Ssam Bar on a previous trip and, spying one of the daily specials, Greedy Girl was determined to try it – fried egg buns.
These are the delicacies pictured at the top of this post. Encased in the light and fluffy bun, are a smoked pork loin with a delicately fried egg (yolk still runny) topped with hollandaise and chives. OMG. So good. Just as well Greedy Girl loves her gluttonous husband because she wouldn’t share these with anyone else.
The layout of Momofuku Noodle Bar is not dissimilar to other Chang outlets. There’s a long counter, part of which overlooks the bar and the remainder the kitchen. There’s also some low tables to the other side of the central aisle; even though they’re individual tables, they’re basically jammed together as a communal space.
We had two visits during our stay – on the first occasion, we were at the bar end. On the second visit we overlooked the chefs at work and were able to watch the floor show. How they cooked the egg was particularly interesting – it looked like it had already been cooked sous vide and was contained in a small metal cup which the chefs upended (delicately, of course) on to the hot grill plate. The egg seemed to be cooking for a long time but it was still runny inside. Not an easy feat to pull off.
But Greedy Girl is getting ahead of herself. While she shared the egg buns with gluttonous husband, she also wanted some of his ramen. His first choice was the Momofuku ramen – pork belly, pork shoulder and a poached egg sat beside the noodles and chopped shallots, plus a large square of nori. The little pink ‘squiggle’ is in the narutomaki, a traditional Japanese fish cake that gets presented in most ramen dishes.
Gluttonous husband tucked in; it’s definitely good for what ails you. He’d been turned on to ramen in (where else) Tokyo when he popped his rather tall head through the curtains of a ramen bar in Tokyo’s gigantic Shimbashi subway station. It was a matter of pointing at pictures and nodding but the result transcended any language barriers – just amazingly good food. He was hooked.
Greedy Girl slurped a few noodles but she isn’t as much of a purist as gluttonous husband – until our second visit a few days later.
Once again the fried egg buns were on offer (so we took a serving) but of course, there were other delights – we opted to try the shrimp bun served with a spicy mayo, pickled red onion and iceberg lettuce. These were also very tasty, and incredibly messy to eat. Lots of finger-licking of the sriracha Mayo took place. Again, great comfort food.
Gluttonous husband decided he’d try a different ramen; the spicy miso version, first ensuring it wasn’t too hot. Wow. What a dish. The little kick of heat in the miso broth was utterly delicious. Greedy Girl was happy to leave the rest of the elements of the dish to gluttonous husband and just slurp the noodles and that divine broth. Of course, the rest of the dish was perfectly cooked, as you’d expect.
There are no reservations at the noodle bar and we were very fortunate both times to just walk in and get a spot without waiting. Still, food like this is well worth waiting for. One day Greedy Girl will try to fit her halo and order only things that are good for her. One day.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue, NYC (East Village)