We love to give you new ideas on how to get the most out of this town in which we’ve chosen to roost, but we’re also into giving you gentle reminders of the known commodities that have given us a deep and textured love of its brilliant eccentricities. Momofuku restaurants are all over the city, so nothing new here. David Chang has created a rapidly expanding empire by turning classic Asian cooking on its head using American traditions to wow mouths from the East Village to Sydney, so us telling you about him would be like reminding you that the sky is blue. BUT, do let this serve as a reminder (or a very strong suggestion) to go to his Momofuku Ssäm Bar for lunch during the week and very soon. It’s bananas great.Start with the Pork Buns, as you should in any of Mr. Chang’s establishments. We’re not sure anyone on the face of the planet has so effectively mastered the art of cooking pork and its fat so well that they melt perfectly in your mouth as if Lucifer himself were administering his magic elixir to convert you to the traditions of Hades. These two little slabs of swine are so perfectly swaddled inside their soft and ever-so-slightly chewy rice bun with fresh pickles, hoisin sauce and Sriracha (to taste) that they leave you inwardly weeping and begging for more. But refrain from ordering more of these sinful buns, friends, there is more to come and remember, there’s no shame in ordering more pork buns for dessert.For the main course, Mr. Chang has chosen to riff on one of his famous and adored large-format dinners…the Whole Roasted Duck Ssäm, which is meant for three to six diners and must be reserved in advance for dinner. But, we’re not having dinner. At lunch, 20 bucks gets you a single and ample portion of this meal, and it is impressive. Really impressive. First, the obvious. It’s gorgeous. Six juicy thick-sliced pieces of duck breast over sticky rice with a quarter-folded scallion pancake in the big bowl. Six perfectly buffed, dried and arranged leaves of Bibb in the smaller and taller bowl. Our chosen side, the tangy and delicious pickles. And then the sauce cart…hoisin, Sriracha and toasted pearl onions. Round one of assembly, a slice of duck was nestled on a Bibb leaf, dressed with all trimmings, rolled up and to town we go. Ridiculous. Round two was the pancake’s turn. Two slices of duck and all the other good stuff to go with it. What made this part of the meal was the crunchy sea salt on the outside of the chive pancake. It’s on a different level. A slightly larger, slightly thicker moo-shu pork pancake on crack. To reiterate…ridiculous. After that, four more of the aforementioned Bibb ‘n Duck wraps. So good! We were full, but if you need more after that, get another pork bun for dessert or one of the really good looking options they have on the menu that we didn’t get for fear of cleansing the taste of rotisserie duck from our super-content palettes. So, there are your marching orders for your next week-day lunch. Avoid the lines. Enjoy your duck. Off you go!
It’s so amazing when you feel like you’re the first one to see something new, and Lulu, I, and, shockingly, Lesa (Mommy), felt like we were the first ones to see the newly opened stretch of the East River Park at Corlears Hook this morning.
First off, the city hired some amazingly thoughtful landscape designers to clean up this underused park with a very interesting history. Everything from the teak railing to the stone pavers to the indigenous foliage is just perfect. Second, the geography of the hook gives you the most incredible slow and wonderful reveal of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, both sides of the East River shore lines, and Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Seriously, get on your feet, bike, blades, or wheelchair to check out this fantastically renovated and newly re-opened part of the park. Really great!
So we headed over the Brooklyn Bridge and, on Jesse’s recommendation, went to Rucola. I had the pork sandwich. Oh, Lord it was good. Cravable. Ridiculous. That place is getting the very well deserved shout out TWICE today. Go!