New York City Restaurants



Momofuku Ko

Momofuku Ko, East Village

Fodorite Reviews

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Momofuku Ko Review

A seasonal tasting menu full of clever combinations and esoteric ingredients explains the deafening buzz for James Beard Award–winning chef David Chang's most formal dining option. Ko's small, intimate space is sparsely furnished with a counter of blonde wood and only a dozen stools. Diners get to see Ko's chefs in action as they prepare all manner of inventive dishes, including a signature preparation of frozen foie gras torchon grated over lychee fruits and white wine gelee. Reservations can be made only online, no more than 7 days ahead for dinner and 14 days ahead for lunch, and are extremely difficult to get. Log on at 10 am (credit-card number needed just to get in the system) when new reservations are available, and keep hitting reload.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 163 1st Ave., at E. 10th St. East Village, New York, NY 10003 | Map It
  • Website:
  • Subway: L to 1st Ave.; 6 to Astor Pl.
  • Location: East Village

    Restaurant Details

  • Reservations essential.
  • Credit cards accepted.
  • No lunch Mon.–Thurs.
Updated: 02-25-2014

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Food  

    Momofuku Ko Review

    WOW! Probably Our Most Amazing Meal Ever!
    Our mid-May 2011 meal at Momofuku Ko was one of the most amazing meals that my spouse and I have ever eaten! (Previously, the only David Chang restaurant at which we had eaten was Ma Pêche in mid-January 2011). Although we’re embarrassed to say, Ko wasn’t our first choice for dining, but when the choice wasn’t available (despite trying to reserve 30 days in advance), we became more creative in our endeavor. Knowing that David Chang has his own reservation system, we signed up for an account, and learned a little more about Ssäm, Noodle Bar, and Ko. While Ssäm and Noodle Bar sounded great, we were intrigued by their large-party offerings of the fried chicken dinner and the bo ssäm dinner. Being a party of only 2, these amazing meals wouldn’t work for us, so we decided to try for Ko, and added “make a reservation” to our to do list for 2 weeks prior to the date we wanted to dine (we wanted to eat lunch, where the reservations are available 2 weeks in advance, as opposed to dinner, for which reservations become available only 1 week in advance). We had no trouble securing a reservation for both the date and time that we wanted, which was a spring Saturday at 12:00 pm. The only option is the multi-course tasting menu for $175 per person, which doesn’t include beverages, tax, or gratuity. There isn’t even a menu provided to the guests, so you never actually read what you will be eating or the ingredients composing the dishes. Although we thoroughly enjoy blind tasting menus, we would have liked to have a written menu to take away with us. But since we didn’t receive a menu, we’ve tried to make a list of the dishes that we ate at the end of this review. Only 12 people dine at this restaurant at any lunch or dinner, seated at a upscale luncheonette counter surrounding the chefs and the grill. We read reviews about people complaining about the wooden (movable) barstools, and that they become uncomfortable after sitting for 3 hours, but we didn’t really notice because we were so enthralled with the food preparation. We’ve eaten wonderfully prepared and presented meals before, but we’ve never had them created and plated before our eyes. The chefs were engaging and entertaining, but we would have to agree with other reviews that we’ve read that the host and hostess, who also serve as the bartenders/drink deliverers, are a bit surly. The most memorable part of the meal for us was because we were the first arrivals. As we sat at the end of the 12-person counter, the chef in front of us began to prepare the live soft-shell crabs for their later incorporation into hand rolls. He cheekily said to us that he always waits until a few customers are present so that they can appreciate the freshness of the ingredients. We each received a small onigiri to take home, which was a bit odd because it didn’t travel very well. The restaurant has an outstanding menu, and we will definitely return when our schedules allow. We still talk about this meal often, and our visit was over 3 months ago.
    Oyster served on a bed of crushed ice
    Fried artichoke on parsley root puree with olive and lime served on a spoon
    Braised fennel served on a spoon
    Potato souffle tube filled with cauliflower and caviar served on a slate piece
    Vegetable tasting: chinese onion, asparagus
    Crudo of four types with:
    Fish topped with crispy fish scales,
    Fish topped with beets and freeze-dried soy sauce
    Clam with topped with poppy seeds
    Charcuterie: rabbit terrine, smoked duck slice with mustard, pig face with crispy pig ears
    Multiple mushroom salad: lobster, black trumpet, white cauliflower and chanterelle mushrooms with pickled red onion, served with mushroom consommé with basil oil
    Puffed Hillcrest Farms chicken egg, Benton's bacon dashi, kombu
    Bento box including:
    Soft-shell crab hand roll (the crabs were still living when we arrived)
    Smoked bacon fat sticky rice
    Mustard greens with black sesame paste and white sesame seeds
    Cold dashi broth, sugar snap peas, Santa Barbara uni
    Ricotta-filled dumplings served in fried chicken broth and topped with grilled ramps and crispy fried chicken skin
    Kimchi gelée soup with spring vegetables
    Fish with crispy skin, warm potato salad
    Spring chicken with leg and thigh sausage, green chick peas, asparagus
    Shaved torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras, Riesling wine gelée, lychee, pine nut brittle (SIGNATURE DISH)
    Goat cheese topped with 4-layer gelée of milk, honey, tea, pomegranate
    Spring pea ice cream
    Miso ice cream in sugar cone with sticky-rice mochi topped with burned rice krispies

    by fluffnfold, 8/10/11

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