Gael Greene’s Ko Conspirator Goes on the DefensiveBy now you might be almost as sick of hearing about Gael Greene’s and Tom Dobrowski’s Ko reservation debacle as you are of, say, trying to get a reservation at the place — but we thought we’d post Dobrowski’s latest e-mail to us by way of a coda.
Gael Greene Takes David Chang to SchoolGael Greene finally weighs in on her date with Tom Dobrowski, the Craigslister who was accused of canceling his reservation at Momofuku Ko only to show up playing dumb.
Gael Greene’s Craigslist Ko Date Speaks Out!After accusations that he may have reserved seats at Ko and canceled them after his Craigslist ad didn’t get any responses, Thomas Dobrowski, who doesn’t appreciate being called a “weird guy” by Frank Bruni, tell us about his date with Gael Greene.
Encounter David Chang in This Week’s ‘New Yorker’Late in Larissa MacFarquhar’s profile of David Chang, the Momofuku man makes a confession: “I’m slowly realizing that I’m a highly complex individual,” he says. It’s not an insight likely to surprise readers of the piece, which will appear in The New Yorker this week. Chang comes across as brilliant, inspired, and high-strung to the point of actually giving himself shingles, a diagnosis made by a doctor after the chef literally incapacitated himself with worry and anxiety. But if you want to get a sense of how intense Chang really is, just read the passage where he reads the riot act to a group of hapless Noodle Bar cooks, who had committed offenses ranging from using tongs on the family-meal chicken (a Chang bête noire) to cutting up the fish cakes for the ramen carelessly.
Ko Reservation System, Day Two: You Missed the WindowAfter an extremely dicey launch yesterday, the Momofuku Ko reservation system seems to be functioning more or less like a normal Website today. As the site notes, reservations book one week in advance; booking for each new day begins at 10 A.M. So we leisurely logged on at 10:20 a.m. to check out the situation and were greeted with the ugly image at right. In under twenty minutes, and after 24 hours of some serious bugs, Chang’s keg for the week is already tapped. If you’re serious about scoring a table in the first month, best to get an intern on 9:55 a.m. duty.
It’s Not a Good Day to Be a Restaurant WebsiteThere’s been some to-do over Momofuku Ko’s resy site going up and down (the latest: Momofuku is telling Eater that it’s the result of a concentrated attack; an eGulleter speculates that David Chang dropped beer on the server, but more troubling (in the long run, anyway) is the fact that the Shameless Restaurants board has been down for at least two days. The gossip “industry workers stories” site bounced back from a similar hiatus a while back; let’s hope, for the sake of juicy reads, that it’ll do the same this time.
Shameless Restaurants [Lunar Pages]
Momofuku Ko Reservation Site Live But Not WellEater is reporting that Momofuku Ko’s reservation site is live at reservations.momofuku.com, though we got several “Service Unavailable” messages before we succeeded in breaking through, only to get the message again when we tried again, at about 10:35 a.m. Reservations will be available a week to the day, except for Tuesdays, when the restaurant takes a breather from the hysteria. An eGulleter has managed to score a resy along with a telephone number that you can call if you’re the begging type.
Ko-BOOM: Ko Resy Site Is Live (Almost!) [Eater]
What Goes on Behind Momofuku Ko’s Closed DoorsWhile you wait with extremely bated breath for the Ko reservation Website to go live (don’t go thinking the general public is going to eat in there anytime before Wednesday), a snapshot of what was going on behind the heavily armored doors, at least for a brief moment last night: Occupying some of the fourteen precious seats were New York’s “sexiest chef” Johnny Iuzzini (and date), Shorty’s.32 star Josh Eden (and date), and former Bloomberg critic and current current GQ blogger Alan Richman with Time Out New York food editor Gabriella Gershenson (presumably not on a date). Every other minute, a curious passerby outside would stop and press his nose against the exterior’s ornate metalwork and just awkwardly peer inside for 30 seconds, trying his hardest to see something through the obscured windows. It was pure shamelessness, New Yorkers gawking like tourists, but who could blame them? The place looks like a dungeon from the outside. And all that attention no doubt made the lucky few on the inside feel all the more special, like prized little angelfish in Chang’s velvet aquarium. —Jessica Coen
Momofuku Ko Reservations May Go Live Tonight; Madman Live-Blogs Meal From iPhoneEater reports that Momofuku Ko’s reservation system may go live as early as tonight, and seats are still available for opening night. Meanwhile eGullet’s Ko thread is turning into high drama — first “Fat Guy” Steven Shaw tantalized readers by showing them his reservation confirmation, only to have it stripped from him when it turned out the system was only in beta mode. Then another user makes it beyond the doors and live-blogs his meal from his iPhone, giving a multi-post play-by-play — “Next pairing looks like it will be a sake. It is” — and even picking a dish of the year: the “shaved foie with a Riesling gelee, lychee and something crunchy.” When another user begs him to take photos, he demurs, “Sorry. I don’t take pics in restaurants. Generally try to keep a low profile.” You want to keep a low profile? Put down the phone and eat!
Momofuku Ko, Collaborative Cooking from David Chang [eGullet]
Ringside Seats at the Chef’s CounterChef’s tables used to be the final word on special treatment: the one table in a good restaurant to which the chef paid personal attention. But as the entertainment ante is upped each year — blurring the line between gastronomy and theater — chef’s tables have given way to the even more intimate chef’s counters. There, the lucky diner sits only a few feet of burnished wood away from the action. From the high-end bar at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon to the counter-only option at Momofuku Ko, diners are eager to see the sausage being made. Here are a few of our favorite counters, each an example of the narrow border between feeder and fed.