The server placed a bowl in front of me: it contained pork sausage, lychees, peanuts, red onion and coconut milk.  She first cautioned me that the dish was spicy due to the addition of habanero pepper, and then she encouraged me to mix the bowl's contents well before eating.  The first thing I taste is the savory pork sausage, followed by the sweetness of the lychees and coconut milk, then the flavors of the peanuts and red onion.  Then a blast of heat from the habanero washes my palate clean and awakens my taste buds for the next bite.  I cannot stop eating the salad: I am completely enthralled by the combination of flavors from both Asia and the American South.  It is a bold dish, for sure, yet it is also delicate and welcoming.

When Peter Serpico opened his eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia last year, it was an instant hit among the locals and critics alike; however, I was less than impressed with my meal at the time, feeling that the dishes were pale imitations of Mr. Serpico's gastronomical creations at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Momofuku Ko.

For its latest iteration of the Late Night Dinner Series, Momofuku Ssam Bar invited the James Beard Foundation-feted Cochon of New Orleans to populate its kitchens for one night.  At first glance, Ssam Bar – with its Asian influenced food – and Cochon – a champion of Southern and Cajun cuisine – seem to have little in common; however, both restaurants have a love affair with the pig.

New Yorkers are notoriously finicky about their fried chicken, and with good reason: with a myriad of choices available in all five boroughs, there is a chicken for every one’s particular tastes and desires.  It is not surprising then that when it comes to selecting which bird is the best in town, tempers flare and arguments ensue.  Every new entry into the fried chicken wars is scrutinized, criticized and debated upon.

Uma Temakeria is the newest venture from chef Chris Jaeckle of all’Onda fame.  Inspired by the temakerias of Brazil that serve Japanese-style temakis or sushi rolls, Mr. Jaeckle has partnered with Cynthia Kueppers to re-create that same dining experience here in New York: casual Japanese cuisine but with the same attention to detail that sushi chefs are well known for.

Two months ago, the popular sushi bar Ichimura at Brushstroke was finally separated form the main dining area of Brushstroke by a glass wall, decreasing the noise level in the room and allowing the diner to appreciate the food better.  A six-seat private dining table was also added to the area, separated from the eight-seat bar by a screen.

On a quiet corner in the West Village, where Cru once lived and Lotus of Siam met a quick and welcome demise, there is a beautifully appointed restaurant serving French-Mediterraneau food called Claudette.  It is the brainchild of restaurateur Carlos Suarez and partner Mark Barak, owners of the uber-popular Rosemary's, who did everything possible to improve the bad feng shui of the place and lift the heaviness and darkness that seemed to permeate the space.

(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.

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.