"We don't have a New York cuisine," Eater's Joshua David Stein reported Chef David Chang as saying at Gastronomika in San Sebastian, Spain last week. "I don't want New York to be known as a place that tries to make authentic dishes. We need to have our own cuisine and that's what we're trying to do."
Perhaps it was a statement out of context, but it's not easy to swallow. Cuisine, after all, according to Merriam Webster is "a manner of preparing food, a style of cooking; also: the food prepared." What are we talking about? Plating? Service? Dish origination? There was a whiff of authenticity there, which is worrisome, considering that 'cuisine' doesn't necessarily denote authenticity. And what's to say any one city corners the market on an 'authentic cuisine' any longer? Not in the 21st century. Not in a time where the world feels smaller than ever.
If anything, Chef Chang was part of what New York City's cuisine was, or is at least, until he opens his second place outside the East Village, the restaurant he has planned for Australia. And until that happens, part of New York's Chang cuisine stays here. "Wait," you're saying, "The online Milk Bar store ships across the country! Those of us in San Francisco and Seattle can finally sample all the treats we've been hearing about for so long."
Well, yes. And no. The new site means you can try some of this New York cuisine: pies and cookies. And there are a few truly exceptional treats included there. It's true. But there are also some things that are still part of Chang's New York cuisine, at least for now, and you can find them in this slideshow.