NYC: Momofuku Má PêcheTuesday, January 7, 2014
|Entrance begins with the Milk Bar, great for some Momofuku sweets! (Crack Pie & Compost Cookie!)|
Coincidentally, Jen of Tiny Urban Kitchen wrote a post a month ago talking about how her husband had what he claims to be "the best fried chicken he's ever had" at one of Momofuku's establishments, Má Pêche. Before reading Jen's post, I never really considered dining there as it seemed a bit far removed from his other two concepts, Noodle Bar and Ssam Bar which are both in the East Village. So with a gentle nudge, I made the trek up to Midtown to the basement of the Chamber's Hotel, where Má Pêche would end up satisfying my craving for Momofuku.
The past two times that I've been to Momofuku, I ended up ordering their large format meals, meals that you had to pre-order in advance like the Fried Chicken at Noodle Bar (meh) and the Bo Ssam at Ssam Bar (yum!!). Since the fried chicken Má Pêche was just a regular order, we didn't have to do much besides make a reservation for dinner. It was a relatively easy process online, and surprisingly I was able to make a reservation for 10 people on a Friday night at 9pm the week of without much of an issue.
Unlike the two aforementioned concepts, Má Pêche (meaning mother peach) focuses on a Vietnamese-French take on food instead of Chang's typical Korean/Japanese concepts. While there are dishes that are Asian-Fusion there was once upon of time when they served 7 Courses of beef here, a traditional preparation of beef in Vietnamese cuisine, sadly this isn't available anymore.
The night that we ended up going, there was a huge snowstorm in New York, so the restaurant was pretty empty. Not sure if it's because of the storm or if that's how it is usually. We ended up with a group of 8 and here's what we ended up ordering...
|Beet Salad w/ Sheep's Milk Yogurt, Lemon Vinegar and Berbere|
|Pork Buns w/ Hoison, Cucumbers and Scallions|
|Fried Chicken w/ Habanero, Coriander and Lime|
|Roasted Pork Chop w/ red onion, shishito and bonito|
Besides our two large share plates, we also ordered some sides. My favorite of the night is the Spicy Roasted Rice Cakes with pork ragu, water spinach and tofu. Each of the rice cakes was somehow crispy on the outside, and chewy in the inside. The contrast in textures is unlike any other rice cake I've had before, and having it mixed with a pork ragu just turned this into a fusion gnocchi dish that I come craving for. To note, this is spicy, so non-spicy friends at the table were also not in love with this dish like I was.
The Lobster Fried Rice had some coconut curry flavors but wasn't a standout to me. The lobster was few and far between so not worth the price of what I found to be regular fried rice. The Deep-Fried Brussels Sprouts had a ginger-scallion sauce with it, it just tasted fried and therefore, delicious. Not healthy but always delicious.
This sums up my experience at Má Pêche - enjoyable for a large group with easy sharable plates. Non-spicy eaters be warned as there is a punch of spice at every turn. I personally enjoyed all the dishes we had but maybe not enough to come back again for seconds. What I found rather strange was that the restaurant had last call for the kitchen at ~10 and we were the last ones there at 11pm. Are we really in New York City?