Ma Peche (Momofuku Midtown)

>>  Sunday, November 22, 2009

I just came back from a wonderful trip to the Big Apple. While I was there, I enjoyed a great lunch with some New York City based food bloggers - Andrea from High/Low Food/Drink and Cindy from Chubby Chinese Girl, Michelle from Taste As You Go and Christine from Fresh Local and Best.  We met at Ma Peche, the new midtown restaurant by David Chang of famed "Momofuku."
I guess the actual restaurant is technically not open yet.  However, they are serving a limited menu full of $10 lunch specials at the mezzanine level of the Chambers Hotel in midtown.  For $10, you get a choice of a lunch entree and a drink.  You can add a cookie from the Momofuku Milk Bar for an additional $1.85.

The space is nice although definitely not designed to be a restaurant.  You sit in couches and enjoy your dishes slightly hunched over a coffee table.  Although I found the couches extremely relaxing, I can see how it might be awkward to enjoy a full blown meal in that setting.
Cindy and I shared two dishes.  The bun du riz is a sauteed rice noodles dish with pork ragout and saw leaf herb.  I thought the flavors of this dish were great, and the rice noodles had a nice and chewy texture.  The dish was not huge, though I actually prefer the smaller portion size because I could finish it with no problem.  Plus it wasn't too greasy, which is often characteristic of these types of noodle dishes.  Michelle especially enjoyed the deep fried shallots because they provided a crunchy, contrasting texture.  Definitely a good choice.
The Goi Calamari is a squid salad with fish sauce, Thai basil, and greens.  This dish was nice, light and refreshing.  It was a bit on the tart side, which makes it an excellent summer salad.  Cindy thought it was good but not wow, more like a papaya salad, sans papaya. I think having it as the starter and then finishing with the bun du riz was the perfect idea.
I have never been to any Momofuku restaurant before, but apparently the Banh Mi is pretty well known.  The Banh Mi Maison (of the house) consisted of three different types of terrine with cilantro and diakon.  The Banh Mi Poulet (chicken) had chicken, lemongrass, lettuce and mint.

I did not try either of these, but Christine was rather pleased with her sandwich, and Andrea says if you're a pate lover, this would be your choice.
Of course, we all got to enjoy the incredibly delicious cookie.  Definitely get this if you go!  It was a peanut butter cookie that had some sort of toffee inside.  It was SOOOO GOOOD!!  I still can't stop thinking about it.
In summary, this is a great place to go if you are in midtown during lunch.  The $10 price tag is very reasonable and a great way to sample a bit of Momofuku without spending too much money.  Definitely arrive early.  We arrived right at 11AM (opening) and had no problem finding a table.  By noon, almost all of the tables were filled up.
Thanks again gals for a wonderful lunch in New York City!

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