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I’ve tried really hard to not order pork every single time I go here but it’s impossible. The Momofuku steamed pork buns might just be my favorite dish New York City has to offer, and the BBQ rib sandwich? Are you kidding me? That thing is unbelievable! So there you go, two pork appetizers before we even get into the mains. The bottom line is, if you’re going to Ssäm Bar, you’re drinking OB’s by the bottle (the Coors Light of South Korea) and eating a serious amount of pig. If you really want to take your pig consumption to the next level and are rolling deep, you can call ahead and have them prepare the $200 Bo Ssäm that easily feeds ten. It’s a whole butt served with a dozen oysters over kimichi, rice, and bibb lettuce. New Yorkers aren’t stupid. We wouldn’t voluntarily wait 45 minutes to an hour at David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants if the food wasn’t ridiculously amazing. Believe the hype, it’s worth the calories. The haters are just jealous.
Steamed Pork Buns with Hoisin, Cucumbers, and Scallions
I lived 28 years of my life without eating a single pork bun. I spent the last year of my life catching up (and going to the gym). I’m going to guesstimate here and say I’ve inhaled 1,731 steamed buns since discovering them at Momofuku about a year ago. 95% of said buns from Momofuku Ssäm or Momofuku Noodle Bar, the other 5% from Ippudo. Stang likes to tell people that Ippudo’s are better, but honestly the kid has his head so far up Ippudo’s ass that they could shit out a Wendy’s style fish sandwich and it would be “the best fish sandwich EVER.” The Momofuku pork bun is one of New York City’s finest delicacies. They melt in your mouth, and leave you thinking about them all day like a girl (or guy) you just met and can’t wait to see again.
BBQ Rib Sandwich With Red Onion Slaw
Momofuku needs to get into the lunch truck business immediately and serve only steamed buns and BBQ Rib Sandwiches. That hot truck would destroy Midtown Manhattan and rake in money. Not to take the spectacle away from the bun, but this rib sandwich is another mouth watering miniature pork special that needs to be ordered every time you step into this place. The combination of a cool red onion slaw and steaming hot pork rib on a small ciabatta roll is perfect.
Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes
Another course, another pork dish. This is one of their signature meat dishes and one that you can’t miss. It’s very unique with their small, gnocchi style rice cakes mixed into a bowl of spicy pork chunks, Chinese broccoli and crispy shallots. The rice cakes are what make it stand out so much, well done D. Chang once again. Three for three!
Grilled Hanger Steak with Tarragon, Manchego, and Potatoes
You can’t do everything perfectly can you? Obviously not, since this dish left a little too much to be desired. It was well cooked and moderately tasty, but we all agreed that it just wasn’t as good as the rest of the food we ate. The next time through, we got the Diver Sea Scallops which were a way better choice and a perfect balance to all the pork.
There are two dishes that are on the lunch menu that they may serve you at dinner (or later) if they have leftovers. The fried brussels sprouts with mint and scallions (amazing), and the braised brisket large dish with rice noodles and Thai basil are both worth asking about. If I go to Ssäm for lunch, that’s what I’m getting….plus an order of pork buns, obviously.