The Noodle Bar
Last night we went to the Noodle Bar for dinner. As I have said before, and I will say again, there is a reason that David Chang is such a successful restaurateur…the food is innovative, delicious and like nothing else out there.
The place was jammed. We decided to literally taste everything. We began with a pickled scallop served in a deep spoon with nori, braised onions and cilantro. It was a one bite treat to kick off the meal. That loaded with tons of sakes, you really couldn't go wrong.
The next out was the Fluke. Thinly sliced fluke rolled standing up right over an apple puree, thinly sliced celery and an olive oil. SImple and fresh tasting. Quickly the next thing that came out was a pear salad. 3 types of pears, all poaches served with chopped hazelnuts and a Greek yogurt. Different and not something I was expecting at the Noodle Bar. One of the specials last night was an Escarole salad. Honeycrisp apples, sliced thin, with thinly sliced radishes and a mustard vinaigrette. Nice and light. Very fall like salad.
Then things started to come quicker. Of course, we had to split a pork bun. Honestly, they are so good that you want to have more and always regret not ordering more. It is not easy to make the actual bun part. I have tried. Many steps and there is something to it. Steam buns that are sliced half way through stuffed with pork belly that has been braised forever so that it is falling apart and a dollop of hoisin sauce and some scallions. Simple , sublime and not easy to make.
We then started hitting up some sides. Roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, kimchi and sliced carrots. So good and when did brussel sprouts become so big. Didn't we all hate them growing up? With that came out the Kale. This one was of my faves. Chopped sauteed kale that was still crispy and very dark green with thinly sliced fennel, pickled something and cooked in a pork broth. It was excellent. We also had the Tokyo turnips. Very small turnips almost the size of a pearl onion braised in miso butter with pearl onions in the dish and chopped chives on top.
We had an order of chicken wings which at the Noodle bar are made with pickled chili, garlic and scallions. The other dish which was a special last night was the striped bass. A nice size piece of Striped Bass, roasted with crispy skin and tiny pieces of cauliflower mixed in a salsa verde sitting in a beet jus. Quite good and different.
Next out, one of my faves at the Noodle Bar was the rice cakes. Roasted rice cakes that are tossed in a red chili pepper sauce with sesame. Signature.
The last special was the duck breast. Thinly sliced, crispy skin with roasted cipollinin onions, chopped celery in a spicy carrot puree. Quite good. With that came the one bowl of Ramen which is essential. Big bowl of soup with ramen, pork belly, pork shoulder and the most perfectly cooked soft poached egg that you have ever seen. Crack the egg and mix it up. Sooo good.
Special of the night was they had brought over a big bowl of the fried chicken from Momofuko for us. If I had known that was coming, I would have not ordered the wings. Momofuko was closed for a private party last night which how we ended up at the Noodle Bar. There is nothing quite like their fried chicken. Pieces with a crispy Old Bay crust and the other type comes with a spicy chili glaze. Oh wow.
We were so stuffed but they brought us out a small bowl of sweet potato pie crust soft ice cream twist. It tasted like Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, we polished that off too.
All and all, an incredibly experience. I have yet to go to Ko and really need to get there. I have never ever had anything but a fantastic food experience at everyone of Changs restaurants. A serious food genius.