Ruth Reichl Pens First of Many Love Notes to Momofuku KoIt didn’t take long for the Momofuku Ko bandwagon to start rolling, did it? Ruth Reichl has filed a panegyric to her dinner there on the Gourmet Website, and it’s only a matter of time until her fellow food-media elders do likewise. Every other chef can only sit back and watch: Chang has become the official sanctioned face of the gastronomic Now, even though he’s not really even the primary chef at Ko, as he is always the first to admit. (The names of co-chefs Tien Ho and Joaquin Baca don’t even appear in the post.) Chang comes off as some kind of combination of Escoffier and the Dalai Lama in this review: Reichl writes of eating “the richest, silkiest short rib you have ever tasted,” “translucent petals of silky fluke folded into a soft pink puddle of buttermilk and Sriracha,” and “drum roll please — a bowl of lychees topped with grated frozen foie gras is set before you. It reconstitutes in your mouth in the most amazing way as you take one bite, then another, fascinated by these textures.” (Ew!) Batten down the hatches and prepare to get a little cynical: A veritable onslaught of acclamation is coming your way. Odds are you’ll be very weary of reading them — and very desirous of getting a Momofuku Ko reservation, probably in about the same proportion.
First Taste: Momofuku Ko [Gourmet]
Back of the House
Yet More Kudos for David Chang! (Shoot Us Now.)Is the David Chang superstar era over yet? If not, can you wake us when it is? We just opened the October Gourmet, and there’s a multipage lovefest to the Momofuku Man, complete with the usual musings on pork (“a mystical, magical animal,” he calls it, echoing Homer Simpson) and the usual close-ups of him eating. Coming on the heels of Bon Appétit’s even more ridiculous Chef of the Year award, we think the time may have come to say what everyone we know is already thinking: that Chang, earnest and talented as he is, has turned into the Sanjaya of Soup and needs to be reassessed.
Ssäm’s Ssecret Chef’s TableVisitors to Ssäm Bar, David Chang’s sleek new “Asian burrito” emporium, may have noticed a big, unused kitchen that runs the length of the room. Chang fires it up tonight for the first time, rolling out a late-night menu of multiple-element small plates prepared by the chef and a rotating team of ambitious cooks — including his co-chef at Momofuku, Joaquin Baca; Cafe Gray and Cafe Boulud veteran Tien Ho; and several other classically trained Momofuku alumni.