New York foodies have been salivating over chef David Chang's Asian-influenced fare since he opened his first restaurant, Momofuku, a Japanese noodle shop, in 2004, and Ssäm Bar, with a more extensive menu, is equally worth the raves. The restaurant is packed nightly with downtown diners cut from the same cloth as the pierced and tattooed waitstaff and cooks, and the no-reservation policy (except for large parties or special dinners) means you'll likely have to wait for a chance to try Chang's truly inventive flavor combinations. The menu is constantly changing but the not-to-be-missed riff on the classic Chinese steamed pork bun is almost always available. Have a nightcap at Chang's inventive cocktail bar, Booker & Dax, right around the corner.
Sep 18, 2013
My spouse and I dined at Ssam Bar for lunch in mid-July 2013. We have dined at several other of David Chang's restaurants, including Momofuku Ko and Ma Peche in NYC and Momofuku Seibo in Sydney. Ssam Bar had been on our "to do" list for a long time; however, the fact that they do not take reservations for small tables, and the fact that we were waiting to go with a group to order one of the large format meals held us back from visiting sooner.
We ordered five dishes to share, each of which was adequate for a party of two - the pork buns were amazing, as was the cold noodle salad, the sliced ham with black-eyed mustard sauce, the fried duck wontons, and the duck bologna sandwich, and we felt that our particular combination of menu items showed us a great variety of what the restaurant has to offer. We would still love to try one of the large format meals someday - the bo ssam or the whole duck, but it seems that you need at least a party of 4 or more to do them justice. Service was terrific! Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about the dishes, and offered suggestions on our choices to make sure that we tried a wide variety of menu items/categories. The space is somewhat stark, with small wooden tables and wooden stools, as well as a really long bar with counter seating. Space is a little tight, but the food and service make it all worthwhile! We look forward to trying David Chang's last NYC restaurant, Noodle Bar, before moving onto his new Toronto restaurants!