While the city waits for David Chang to unleash his newest restaurant Ma Peche sometime this winter, the overlords at Momofuku Inc. have decided to throw everyone in Midtown a little bone. Meet the new room service and mezzanine menu at the Chambers Hotel. Though the Team Momo has been serving the hotel guests for awhile now, this menu—which includes a $10 Midtown Lunch special—has been served on the down low for just two days now. The live report from operatives and Eater readers on the scene, and do please send your early word to the tipline:
11:10: Crowd is pretty sparse, a non-surprise given the news just came out. Cory Lane, the grand poobah of the Momo Beverage program, is in the house. 10 guests.
11:11: Tipster orders two banh mi, one burger.
11:21: Food arrives. Quick, great for business lunch, but keep in mind there is no one there yet. Typical MomoSoundtrack: Mazzy Starr into Aerosmith into the Hold Steady.
11:27: Tipster's insta-assessment: "One is the lemon grass chicken sausage
the other is the three terrine banh mi. Both are tiny? Each serving is the size of a momo pork bun, but for $10 what do you expect? Lemon grass chicken bahn mi:
consistency of patty similar to a McChicken sandwich. Tastes like a very good McChicken sandwich. The burger is a very good pub burger. Juicy. Three terrine Bahn mi taste like a Baoguette banh mi."
11:34: The place is at 75% capacity now. But remember it's a very standard hotel lobby sort of thing, comfy chairs, no real tables, just coffee tables. Note on the coffee: French press and espresso only.
11:41: Crowd is not exactly food bloggers, some serious olds here drinking coffee, and dudes in suits eating banh mis. Momo service staff: Typcially quirky-hot
and very nice.
11:45: Breaking: Cookie for dessert is ginormous, bigger than a standard Milk Bar issue. Says an operative, "it looks like a Disneyland snickerdoodle, the size of a 45 record." It is, of course, a Christina Tosi creation: Peanut butter cookie with peanut brittle and salt.
11:50: New insta-assessment from an Eater operative! "I think it's safe to say we have a new banh mi king in town"
11:55: Still no date on the grand opening, but a waitress says renovation has "just started." Cory Lane reports they've launched this menu because they were getting antsy waiting for the opening. They just wanted to get it going, figure out the space, start working the menu.
Noon: Shocker: the coffee is not Stumptown. The French press coffee is Dalis, the espresso is Lavazza. Bumping "The Chronic" Dr. Dre.
And we have our first wait at Ma Peche: "They're full and trying to get people to share tables/pay their check. Word has gotten out. I count six people standing by for tables...wait, make that ten!"
12:03: Five of those people left because there is no take out.
12:12: Says an operative: "The coffee needs a lot of work. But I gotta say, for an opening service, they're hooking it up. It's at capacity, but not a madhouse."
12:20: The Eater intern was just given the check and credit card of Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch King. To be fair, they look kind of almost similar.
12:55: A word from Eater HQ. The leftovers just arrived and this three terrine banh mi is pretty spectacular. Far superior to what's going on over at Baoguette. Chicken banh mi: Also good.
1:06: TONY is now on the scene, live tweeting their lunch.
1:13: PS, the burger is $18. It's sizable, it's juicy, it's pink and meaty, and a blend from DeBragga, but it's $18.
2:00: Brace late lunchers. Per @thefeednyc: "Momo midtown: Newsflash--waiter said they have the rest of the menu but no more banh mi!"
2:05: Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch files his full report and declares it the greatest day in Midtown history.
3:18: More food bloggers check in. Food in Mouth files the food porn.
—Additional reporting by Greg Morabito and Matt Duckor