Momofuku Ssäm Bar
Meals at this ever-evolving East Village hot spot have wowed critics and won faithful followers since the beginning, and no wonder. David Chang's food at Momofuku Ssäm Bar offers bold, Asian-inspired flavors — like his duckaholic lunch (fried duck wings, duck dumpling pho, and rotisserie duck over rice) and popular bo ssäm dinner (slow-cooked pork shoulder, oysters, rice, kimchee, and sauces to be wrapped in bibb lettuce leaves). The classic bo ssäm is just one of three large-format meals now being served (booking one of these is the only way you can make a reservation at the restaurant), but after you’ve had one, you’ll want to collect them all. There’s also a large-format whole rotisserie duck (from Crescent Farms and stuffed with a duck and pork sausage under the skin, oh yeah) with chive pancakes, bibb lettuce, hoisin, duck scallion sauce, and crispy shallots. The chef’s newest large-format meal is dry-aged rib-eye with fries, Caesar salad, roasted garlic, condiments like dry-aged fat and brown butter roasting juices, red wine and shallot marmalade, béarnaise sauce, and bacon ketchup.
Chang has gone beyond kitchen cool kid to become a member of America’s culinary elite. He continues to cement this status as a top-tier chef by constantly expanding his empire, and everything he touches seems to turn to gold (his high-tech cocktail bar, kicked off with Dave Arnold, Booker and Dax, is already ranked among the city’s finest, and even his least successful menu item, his ssäm burritos, have made a lunchtime return). As an influence on younger chefs, as an animator of the downtown New York restaurant scene, and as a really good cook, Chang deserves a high spot on this list.
— Arthur Bovino, 101 Best Restaurants, April 1, 2015
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