Momo… What Did You Say? Asian Indulgence in New York City

My initial trip to New York City stemmed from the excitement of seeing Ryan play the Yankees. The rivalry, the new stadium, what isn’t there to be excited about? But the excitement truly kicked in when I got off the train at Penn Station and was smack in the heart of New York City. I am in the food capital of the country! This wasn’t going to be just a trip for baseball… this was going to be a trip for eating some of the best food in the country! I had the time to go to two of my favorite restaurants- Momofuku for Asian fusion with my good friends Sid and Rachel and Morimoto with my love to celebrate our amazing year together.

The Momofuku Empire is the creation of David Chang, whose innovative yet simplistic approach to food has made him a megastar in NYC. With nearly a dozen restaurants throughout the city, hungry diners have a number of chances to get their fill of Asian cuisine. Ma Peche is his most expensive restaurant, but Momofuku and Momofuku Noodle Bar bring the elements of street food to a restaurant setting. We went to Momofuku Ssam Bar, which has a little of both. The restaurants are notorious for their steamed pork buns- a light and airy bun filled with pork belly, hoison sauce, and cucumber. Their homemade hot sauce adds some zip to the rich pork belly. They are truly decadent, and I suggest ordering a total of one per person. It’s a dish that you’ve never seen anything similar, and you’ll leave already planning your trip to return for more. In addition to the pork buns we ordered the duck dumplings which were phenomenal- crispy and perfect with a sweet and spicy sriracha aioli- and the duck over rice, a simple but perfectly cooked dish that is great for sharing if you want to try the duck. If you go to Momofuku Noodle Bar, be sure to order the ramen to share for the table. Its clean but dynamic flavors will blow your mind. If you need a little something sweet after such a decadent lunch, cross the street to Momofuku Milk Bar, where Chang strikes again with Cereal Ice Cream- frosted flakes that are soaked in milk and strained. The milk is then made into creamy, delicious ice cream that brings all the pleasures of childhood straight to your palate.

The second meal I had was at Morimoto and named after it’s brilliant Iron Chef. Before Ryan and I started dating, circa 2008, I have boasted about Morimoto as my ultimate meal. Morimoto is painstakingly precise about the quality of his food and its preparation. Rarely will you eat fish as fresh or dishes that are plated with such precision. We decided that once Ryan had made it to the big leagues and we felt established there, we would celebrate at Morimoto. It was a really special way to look back at how far we’ve come since we started dating and how many wonderful things we had to celebrate this year.

Soft Shell Crab Roll and Salmon Sashimi- Morimoto

If you have the time to really sit and enjoy yourself, I encourage you to order the Omakase Menu- a twelve or so course tasting menu created by the chef. It’s the best way to explore pristine Japanese cuisine. If you don’t have time for a long dinner, here is my version of the Omakase, which is meant for two for a decadent (and expensive) meal. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and worth every penny if you’re a foodie like myself.

-       Tempura Calamari Salad with white miso dressing

-       Pork Gyoza with tomato crème fraiche or Crispy Rock Shrimp Tempura

-       Sashimi and Sushi- we ordered the salmon sashimi and soft shell crab roll)

-       Spicy King Crab with tobanjan aioli and micro cilantro

-       Wagyu Rib Eye with sweet onion and garlic jus

-       Chinese Broccoli

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