When someone invites you to join in their Momofuku Ssam Bar duck reservation, you say yes… oh yes indeed.
And when they ask you if you’d like to start the meal with some uni, you also say yes. Uni topped with grilled croutons that were brushed with something spicy, topped with a sheet of ham gelatin. Loved the play of textures and flavors – uni is quite soft on its own, but the spicy croutons added a really nice crunch to the dish, while the ham gelatin offered a savory sweetness to the dish.
I shouldn’t mention that there was a lot of alcohol flowing as well.
The duck dinner comes with your choice of two sides, and I picked the pickle plate. It came with a nice assortment of various pickled veggies, all of which were truly lovely and perfect foils to the richer meat accompanying.
The other side choice was the broccoli salad – which came very lightly dressed with a creamy dressing and topped with crumbly bits of bacon – was freaking awesome. I really enjoyed how crunchy they’d cooked the broccoli, when lots of places tend to overcook broccoli or just cook it more than I prefer. Perfect.
Time for the main event.
A huge platter of duck landed in front of us, spread over rice, alongside chive pancakes and some fresh herbs. Then a giant bowl of butter lettuce and bowls of condiments – scallion ginger oil (you can’t see it in the pic), fried crispy shallots, a garlic chili oil similar to Sriracha but made in house, and hoisin sauce – joined the party.
And the duck… put it this way. The first 2-3 pieces made it into my stomach with zero adornment because they were just that succulent, soft, and delicious. It was simply incredible. Eventually, realizing I had to share with two other grown men who can eat, I started wrapping slices in the butter lettuce, with a bit of the chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, crispy shallots – which added so much texture, omg so good – and then fresh cilantro. That’s how I ate the remaining duck – so freaking good. I held my own against the two men and ate&drank my weight in duck and wine. YEAH I DID. 🙂
Before you think I’ve made up with David Chang and no longer hate him… no, not at all. I enjoyed some things at Ma Peche, though not EVERYTHING. I practically despised my meal at Momofuku Noodle Bar, his first establishment. And while I enjoyed the duck at Ssam Bar – and would go back for this in a heartbeat – that doesn’t mean I’m suddenly Mr. Chang’s biggest fan. I like some things he offers, I don’t like others… so perhaps he’s on his way to being not-on-my-bad-list, but I haven’t made up with him completely just yet.
I think I may have to see about a fried chicken dinner first, then we’ll talk about getting him off my crap list.