A few weeks ago we went to NYC for a long weekend. It has been a long time since we had been to NYC so we were quite excited to try several places we hadn’t tried yet. Some friends of our from Boston, met us in the city. One of our friends is obsessed with fried chicken and when he heard that David Chang’s Momofuku Noodle Bar offered a fried chicken dinner he was sure we got reservations. This meal is only offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday with limited seating times early in the evening and late at night. I believe this is to avoid large groups taking up seating during prime seating times. We had a 11:45pm reservation so we only had a couple of appetizers earlier in the evening in anticipation of the chicken dinner. We had a group of 8 so there were enough people to take care of the chicken.
The space is quite minimalist with a long wooden bar and a few wooden tables with squat stools. We opted to get an appetizer before the fried chicken came out. We started with the famous pork buns. The pork buns are truly incredible! The buns themselves are delicate soft and airy. The filling uses pork belly which is extremely flavorful and rich! The pork is simply brined and roasted and served with the slightly sweet hoisin sauce. The entire dish is a perfect combination of textures with the light airy buns, the rich chewy pork and the crunch of cucumbers and scallions.
Soon after the appetizers the large platter of chicken was brought out. The chicken is served in pieces and includes two whole fried chickens. One is prepared Southern style with simple seasonings. The second is prepared Korean style which is double fried and coated in spicy, slightly sweet, chili sauce. The dinner comes with mu shu pancakes, long spicy peppers, baby carrots, red ball radishes, shiso leaves, bibb lettuce, four sauces and an herb basket. The Southern fried, though prepared with simple seasonings, was delicious! The meat was extremely tender and juicy. I believe it had to be brined in order to achieve that type of juiciness. The Korean style fried chicken wasn’t quite as juicy but the flavor was great. The spiciness was addictive due to the slight sweetness. The Southern style chicken lent itself well to being eaten in the mu shu pancakes because it could be ‘doctored’ up with the sauces and vegetables.
We ended our meal with some ice cream. That evening they were offering two flavors, coconut and burnt sugar. I had the burnt sugar which was just wonderful! The nutty sweetness of caramelized sugar came through in every bite.
The fried chicken dinner is a delicious fun event with a large group of people. The chicken was juicy and tasty but the pork buns truly stole the show. I am sure we will be getting those again when we are in NYC.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003