(To my followers: In honor of the tenth year anniversary of Momofuku Noodle Bar, I have decided to dedicate this week's post to define the lasting impact David Chang and Momofuku have had on my life for the past decade.  Yes, there will be food porn in the end, but for the better part of this post, I will be extoling the virtues of everything Momofuku.  Please indulge me this one time, my followers.  Thank you.)

If you had met me a decade ago, you would have been surprised to discover how little I knew of the New York culinary scene.  At that time, I rarely went out for dinner, and when I did, I tended to eschew fine-dining establishments for all-you-can-eat restaurants and local food joints.

For its second annual Late Night Dinner Series, the folks at Momofuku Ssam Bar invited a restaurant whose love for all things porcine rivals that of Momofuku -- Paul Kahan's Publican in Chicago.  The James Beard award-winning restaurant is notable for its charcuterie and extensive beer selection, and the demand for tickets again required two separate seatings for dinner: one at 10:00 PM and one at 1:00 AM.

The NoMad Bar is the opulent and sensuous extension of the NoMad Restaurant from Daniel Humm and Will Guidara.  Patterned after its sister establishment the Elephant Bar, the NoMad Bar is steeped in mahogany and bathed in an amber luminescene, resembling a cross between a gentleman's club and an English pub.

Nothing says "Fourth of July" quite like lunch at Momofuku Ko.

OK, you can all stop laughing now.  Just think about it: what is more American than the son of immigrants finding his way in the world to become one of the best known chefs and innovators in the country?  Success stories such as David Chang's have been the inspiration for countless generations of  Americans, as well as the motivation of thousands of immigrants to risk life and limb to come to our shores in search of a better life.

With the Torrisi Team's Gallic-influenced restaurant Dirty French still weeks away from opening, and with the bar team already in place and ready to go, cocktail impresario Thomas Waugh elected to do a soft opening of the Lobby Bar at the Ludlow Hotel this evening, partly to attract attention to the bar and partly to start training the staff for the inevitable onslaught of tourists and city folk that will undoubtedly come to enjoy the alcoholic creations of Mr. Waugh.

Last year, Joaquin Baca hosted a dinner featuring members of the Momofuku OG ("Old Guard") at his restaurant The Brooklyn Star.  The event proved to be so successful that Mr. Baca decided to host another dinner last night, this time featuring ex-Momofuku Ko executive chef Peter Serpico.  On paper, the two chefs seem mismatched: Mr. Baca specializes in Southwestern cuisine, while Mr. Serpico is known for his modernist take on American cuisine.

After being somewhat underwhelmed with my dining experiences at Lafayette, I was

wondering whether chef Andrew Carmellini's creative days were already behind him.  This feeling was only strengthened when he and his partners opened Bar Primi in the old Peels space last month: Italian cuisine is in his wheelhouse, and he could probably do it in his sleep.  In a city filled with Italian restaurants of all shapes and sizes, what would Bar Primi offer that would make it stand out, other than Mr.

I first met Curtis Duffy during my very first visit to Chicago four years ago: he was at the helm of Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago at that time, which had just earned two Michelin stars.  I enjoyed my meal at the restaurant, and I commended Mr. Duffy on his culinary technique, but in a city that was dominated by Grant Achatz, I felt that this was just another knock-off of Alinea.  I felt that in time, he will develop his own identity and really show his true potential as a chef.
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The hostess leads me to a bright red lacquered table across from the restaurant's entrance.  A tall glass cylinder serves as centerpiece on the table: in it are some herbs, tomato segments, and a Chinese okra squash (patola in the Philippines).

Alinea is one of those special dining experiences that I recommend any serious food enthusiast should have at least once in his or her life time.  From the delight and fascination that accompany each food course, to the sheer pageantry of the food service, to the wonderful wine pairings that go with the food, dinner at Alinea is to witness art and science coexist in perfect harmony.
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