Momofuku Ma Peche (Midtown NYC)

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This is the second post in the New York Thanksgiving series. Other posts in this series include Momofuku Ssam Bar.

It’s a well known fact that it’s really hard to get into David Chang’s restaurants. Securing a reservation at Ko involves setting up a special online account on the restaurant’s website and then logging in exactly 10 days before the date you want to reserve precisely at 10AM. The reservations are gone within seconds.

Similarly, you can’t make a reservation at Momofuku Ssam unless if you are a big party eating a Bo Ssam. If you don’t arrive early, expect to wait in long line before getting a seat.

The last time I was at the Milk Bar, I almost missed our taxi to the airport due to the long line of people waiting to buy cookies and soft serve.
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Yet interestingly, David Chang’s newest restaurant in Midtown, Ma Peche, is never full. Some say that the Midtown location just doesn’t attract as many diners. Others blame the weird ambiance – those cold, high celings and weird pink lighting doesn’t make for a cozy environment in which to eat. And then others say that the food is just not as good as the other two places.
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Despite all these reasons, Bryan and I decided we still needed to complete our “tour” of David Chang restaurants. This was the only one left in New York that Bryan had not visited yet (I still haven’t visited Noodle Bar, but Bryan’s been there before).

Around 6PM on our last night in New York, we showed up at Ma Peche – luggage and all – for dinner before catching a taxi to the airport.

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We started with the Broccoli Salad ($14) which came with smoked golden raisins, crispy kale and nori seaweed, and a sesame mayonnaise. Bryan wished for more crunchy broccoli but thought the overall dish worked OK if eaten together with the kale. I liked the overall flavors but wished for less raisins because I found it to be a bit too sweet. Overall, however, the dish was pretty good.
_DSC5086 Inpired by the childhood favorite combination of apples, celery, and peanut butter (something I never ate as a child but something Bryan always ate), our next course was the Apple Salad, which consisted of fresh apple and celery shavings tossed together in a sweet peanut butter and celery root dressing. Crispy rice on top provided a textural crunch to the salad.

I personally thought the salad was too sweet, but Bryan really liked the combination. Perhaps it made him reminiscent about his childhood?
_DSC5096 After falling head over heels for the rice cakes at Momofuku Ssam, we were anxious to try the Spicy Roasted Rice Cakes, which came with pork sausage “ragu”, water spinach, and tofu. These rice cakes were overall less crispy than the ones from Ssam Bar. They were inconsistent. Some were crispy while others were not. Though the flavors of the dish were perfectly serviceable, the execution was clearly subpar compared to the ones at Ssam Bar.
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Despite our disappointment with that dish, the next dish totally made up for it. We ordered the Fried Chicken ($48), an entire chicken deep fried and served with habanero, coriander, and black pepper.

We asked if we could order a smaller portion. Unfortunately, it’s all or nothing.

We convinced ourselves we could take any leftovers on the plane back to Boston, since we were leaving that night.

So we ordered a whole chicken.
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It was huge.

But it was so worth it. The chicken was fantastic.

“This is the best fried chicken I’ve ever had in my life. I like this better than the one at Ad Hoc,” Bryan declared.

The chicken was delightfully crispy and had a really nice deep, smoky habanero pepper flavor.
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It was definitely quite spicy though definitely tolerable. Bryan was sweating by the end of the meal. It tasted especially good with a squeeze of lime.
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We ate several pieces but just were not able to finish the entire thing. We knew we were pushing it by letting it sit out at room temperature for about five hours (we’d get back to Boston around midnight). However, the chicken was so good we just had to take that risk.
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Before we left, we enjoyed a nice pot of China Green Tea from the Rare Tea Company ($5).
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For dessert we had the White Chocolate, a delicious white chocolate mousse topped with popcorn, popcorn brittle, popcorn caramel powder, and popcorn butter. We were told to just “mix it all together”. I was surprised how much I loved this dessert. It was not too sweet (something I’m often sensitive to) and it had a lovely strong corn flavor.

For the second time at a David Chang restaurant, I found myself scooping up the last bits of mousse with my spoon. I was this close to licking the bowl clean.

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There is a Momofuku Milk Bar Midtown that’s right next door to Ma Peche. After dinner I took the opportunity to pick up some corn cookies (my favorite!). 
Momofuku Milk Bar cookie

All of a sudden, Bryan rushed inside the Milk Bar.

“Jen, the taxi is here. We have to go.”
I glanced up at the 5-6 person line in front of me. I forlornly looked down at the corn cookies I was holding. You could hear this collective sigh of sadness from the people in line. They all UNDERSTOOD.
“Awww, let the girl get her cookies.”
The next thing you know, the cashier turned to me and asked me what I was getting.
“Just these six cookies.”
Everyone kindly let me cut in line to get my cookies before we rushed out to the taxi.
Whoever you all were. THANK YOU. Thanks for letting a girl get her cookies. I will never forget your kindness.

We rushed out of there and made our flight in time.

We got home at midnight, exhausted.

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I’m happy to report that we happily ate the leftover fried chicken the next day for lunch. After a brief reheating in the toaster oven, it still tasted just as phenomenal the next day.

And dessert?

Corn cookies, but of course.

Ma Peche
Chambers Hotel
15 W 56th St,
New York, NY 10019
Ma Peche on Urbanspoon

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