ma peche, beef seven ways
I returned to Ma Peche last night with quite the food crew. Dana Cowin, editor of Food and Wine and her charming husband, Kate Krader restaurant editor of Food and Wine, Gail Simmons, Top Chef judge extraordinaire and Ben Leventhal, foodie and man around town heading up Feast at NBC. Not sure what my tag line is but I was delighted to be part of the night. The funniest part was everyone was taking pictures and notes.
I believe the beef seven ways is in the unveiling stages and we were the first crew to have a taste. No surprises, the attention to detail was incredible. The food, well, it was quite delish and that almost goes without saying. Has anyone ever had a bad meal at David Chang's restaurants?
First out were two dishes. Thinly sliced seared wagyu topped with a ginger scallion combo and thinly sliced pieces of radish. Simple and tasty.
The other was a tongue salad. Makes me laugh because I grew up with my father eating tongue on rye at the Jewish deli. Not a part of the cow that most people indulge in but as Ben pointed out, as the price of meat continues to sky rocket, chefs are looking for clever ways to use relatively inexpensive pieces of meat. Tongue is probably not a best seller. Leaves of basil, thinly sliced sauteed crispy tongue with a plum vinaigrette. Really tasty and different.
The next dish was a twist on the signature bo ssam at Momofuko. Set in a gold Le Cruset pan nice sized rare slices of roasted rib-eye and thick pieces of a lemon-grass and thai basil sausage. What was clever about this dish was that the meat part was served in an elegant pan and is also a top cut of meat yet the dish is communal and interactive because wrap the meat in lettuce with the condiments of your liking. The meat was absolutely fantastic.
He could have easily done a hanger steak instead of rib-eye but the combo of luxury and down and dirty is clever. This came out with a bowl of lettuce, pickled dakon and carrot strips, jalapenos, plum sauce, crispy shallots, a few other things and a fish sauce vinaigrette which was a key.
Next out was the piece de resistance (sorry about the flash). A huge pan with a beef shank ( think Flintstones ) that had been braised in shrimp, crab paste and chilies. Served like the bo ssam with a pair of tongs. The meat just pulled off the bone. In the pan was also pieces of oxtail that had been braised but in soy, sherry and scallions. Super rich.
To clean our palate, in tea glasses, a beef consomme was served with herbs and sliced scallions. Not sure I loved this. Tasted more like fish sauce. Seriously salty but I will say that one sip definitely cleansed the palate and that is all I needed.
Next out was one of those dishes where life is too short, you have to eat up. A room temperature gooey cheese where we were each given a huge spoon on our plate with hot bread crispy bread from Tom Cat.
With this they served an oxidized beer in a champagne glass that almost had the flavor and consistency of a rich wine. It was outrageous. I am already attempting to hunt down a few bottles for myself.
Ben went upstairs and brought down a few items from the bakery which was not necessary but with that given 3 different cocktails to try. They do not serve the bakery items at the restaurant but they are happy for you to go upstairs and purchase a few to finish the meal. Our drinks included a rum drink that was reminiscent of High School days at Benihana, the other was a bitter cocktail and the third was outrageous. I can't remember exactly what was in it but a type of Vermouth and bitters that are for soothing your stomach. So good and I'd go back for a few more of those.
A bunch of people were in the house who we knew which is always fun. The conversation with the foodies, the food and the whole experience was really a treat. Chang is truly a genius and the people he has working with him are wonderful.
Wow… sounds amazing! Vegans, stay away! ;-)Your comment about beef tongue made me think of an old joke: two guys go into a restaurant. First one orders a tongue sandwich. Second one says, “How can you eat something from an animal’s mouth? Waiter, I’ll have the hard-boiled eggs!”Tee.Hee.
Definitely not for the vegans!
You ask “has anyone ever had a bad meal at David Chang’s restaurants?”Well, I have. While I think Milk Bar is a work of genius and I had a *very* memorable 2nd date with my now-wife at his place around the corner from Milk Bar (I can never keep them straight) I had an *extremely* disappointing meal at Momofuku Ko about… 2 months(?) after it opened.I was able to secure one of the much-sought-after reservation through a little bit of psychological trickery. And not just any reservation. 7:30pm on a Sunday.My date and I got dressed up, braved the torrential downpour, and sat down among several empty seats (not everyone was as brave as we were.) The food started coming, wave after wave. It was presented, explained, eaten and cleared.Next thing we knew, 90 minutes had passed — we’d had one of the most expensive meals in NYC — and we were both utterly underwhelmed.I remember eating at French Laundry and swooning over almost every one of the 22 courses. I didn’t like Per Se as much but I still had a dozen delicious plates. I eat at Applewood every month or so and multiple times a year I have a dish so good I consider not sharing with my wife.Ko? Only 1 plate was revelatory, most were blah and a few were downright nasty.This might be ok if it were a la carte. or it were priced more reasonably. But it’s a mandatory $125 at Ko — which is more than all but maybe 3 or 4 restaurants in all of NYC (Per Se, Masa, and… what else?)So… is Change a genius? Yes. Is Ko worth it? Not for me.
Ko is the only restaurants of his I have not been to although I have onlyheard good things. Sorry to hear what happened. Being under-whelmed at aplace like Ko is such a huge disappointment. I need to get there myselfand see what it is all about.