Chang's Duck Lunch, Does Success Get Boring?
I've sung David Chang's praises before. If "Momofuku" means "Lucky Peach," the recent transformation of Momofuku Milk Bar (which is now tucked into a diminutive spot right across the street) into the lunch annex of Momofuku Ssäm Bar, part of the rapidly rising sun of David Chang's restaurant empire, should be called Kamofuku or "Lucky Duck." Of course, it is those of us who can get there before 3:30 p.m. for the duck lunch who are the truly lucky ones.
Chang has stuck a rotisserie into the old space which looks like a carnival shooting gallery of beautiful fat dripping duckies, the likes of which I haven't seen or tasted since my beloved Ariane Daguin shuttered her too short lived D'Artagnan restaurant years ago.
I started out with a platter of Benton's smoky mountain ham served with Chang's brilliant take on redeye gravy which is essentially mustard mixed with coffee grounds. The leftover redeye gravy compliments the rotisserie duck served a perfect pink with clingingly crisp skin over rice and your choice of a lettuce leaf wrap or chive pancakes.
Other condiments (I mixed 'em all) include a hot sauce, dried scallions, the duck fat drippings doctored up with garlic and mini squirt bottles of sweet hoisin sauce. Besides the signature pork buns, Chang has brought back as a permanent item the duck buns which I hadn't seen except as an occasional special since the original Momofuku Noodle Bar opened. They also now offer a nice variety of wine and beer to cut the fattiness of the duck. If you can waddle across the street to Milk Bar, I'd recommend the chocolate crumb covered hazelnut brittle filled banana cake truffles.