From: Mimi Sheraton
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2007
To: eater complaints dept.
Subject: RE: NY Times David Chang Profile
This is re: NYTimes May 18th, 2007 Public Lives profile of David Chang, celebrated chef of the Momofuku Ssam Bar, etc. In this he is quoted saying, "I think our stuff is overrated." So do I. Not yet able to get to either of his restaurants at night when the real action is supposed to take place, I dropped in at Ssam for lunch a few weeks ago. The staff assured me that at night it is an entirely different place, menu and all, but some of his touted specialties were on the lunch menu. Most especially, there was "The Original Momofuku Ssam" with Berkshire pork, pickled shiitake, red kimchi puree, etc." So I ordered it.
It was a messy, stewy wrap of steam table foods, much overcooked and characterless. What flavor interest there was came from the combination of many things together, and from my own generous addition of hot sauce. I opened the pancake to evaluate each item separately and found nothing more distinguished than anything I could get in a standard Tex-Mex wrap.
The wrong time, you say? But how wrong should anytime be when a place is open for business? The message is that the customer will get the best the house can do. If Mr. Chang cannot turn out better food for lunch due to certain limitations, why is he open at all at that time? In my book, he is responsible for every morsel, every time his doors are open and customers are being charged.