At the very end of last year, I met my sister and her boyfriend in New York for a weekend eat-athon/visit. One of our meals was at Momofuku’s Ko.
Walking in is almost transportative. You sit at a counter surrounding the entirely open main kitchen and watch a flurry of lovely dishes being prepared.
It is a prix fixe menu with no add ons or substitutions – just eat what we give you and we will give you a lot of loveliness.
It was 21 courses, if you count all the little bites and nibbles, which I do for the sake of fun. You can relive all of them (with ingredients listed) in this album on Flickr, as they couldn’t all make it into this post.
My sister and her boyfriend are in the restaurant industry, and are thus hard to please when it comes to dining out. From our conversation after, they found it to be a near perfect experience, with decor, food, and service hitting all the right notes.
I also noted the impeccable service, though I was perhaps less attuned to the brand of their flat top and the clever cabinet placement. I enjoyed watching my food being carefully prepared right in front of me in a way that enhanced my enjoyment of it, but didn’t detract from the intimacy of the courses and conversations.
Bonus points because it was well lit for photos.
There was a run of raw seafood appetizers, which concerned me a little because, although each was delicious, I began to hit my personal squishy food threshold. (I have some minor texture issues.)
But then we got into the entrees and suddenly each dish was my new favorite. If I reflect, it was the soft cooked eggs that rises to the top in my mind. Such a simple comfort food, impeccably prepared with a contrast of crispy potato crumbs and elevated with a tangy pink sweet potato broth, fat pearls of caviar and slices of perfect crusty bread.
The celery root agnolotti was another standout with house made pasta, crunchy celery root chips, crispy shaved celery, and a white truffle-enhanced sauce. Another surprising favorite was the mackerel sabazushi. Although my sister doesn’t usually like mackerel and, for me, it had the strong potential to fall into the squishy-dish category, the two-bite torched sushi “taco” wrapped in a wasabi leaf won us both over.
Given it’s length and depth, a meal at Ko is not for the faint of heart, or stomach. It is the perfect place for a special occasion, or when diners are looking to elevate their dinner from “a meal” to “an experience.”
8 Extra Place
Rating: Like sitting in a tree full of perfect ripe peaches on a sunny summer day.