While the kitchen of Ma Peche has been serving up a limited menu on the mezzanine of the Chambers Hotel since last November, last week marked the real debut of restaurateur David Chang's first foray outside the East Village. The restaurant, located in the former Town space and helmed by Ssam Bar alum Tien Ho, has already entertained plenty of David Chang's celebrity friends and fans including Martha Stewart, chef Mario Batali and Ruth Reichl. But what does the Chang-adoring public think? On to the early word.
The Good News: NYC Foodie stopped by and was mostly impressed with his lunch experience. "Our final dish was bun du riz ($18); rice noodles, spicy pork, and sawleaf herb. After my first bites I was not impressed, but then taking the advice of my sister, and using a spoon to get all the elements in one bite, the dish evolved into greatness. It was addictive, flavorful, tasty, and had nice texture. This was the kind of dish that is signature to David Chang. In fact, it reminded me a lot of one of my favorite dishes at Momofuku Ssam; the spicy pork sausage and rices cakes with chinese broccoli and shallots." [NYC Foodie]
The Great News: Vice Magazine offers an extensive review of the food, drinks and atmosphere. At the bar, high praise goes to the Short Island, a variation on a Long Island Iced Tea, and the Moscow Mules. "We went heavy on the Moscow Mules;made with real ginger, and not ginger beer I think? Although we started ramping up by substituting the vodka with gin. Front-runner for drink of the summer." On the food front, raves go to the snails and pork sausage dish. "[They] were badass. Big fucking snails. Not some escargot bullshit." And to round-out the menu: "The mussels were very, very solid. Pork ribs were as good as you'd expect from any pork dish at a Momofuku spot. I really liked how accessible the food was. Nothing was weird or off-putting. I'm sure they used some molecular techniques, but it was all fairly straightforward. None of that, 'Hmm I wonder what this little nugget of deliciousness is' type stuff." [Vice]
The Not so Great News On Yelp, Ma Peche racked up a fair number of reviews during its limited menu days, with plenty of praise for it's $10 take-out lunch special. For the full-service experience, however, only one Yelper has weighed in, with mixed results. Yelp user C.R. was hoping the dining room would offer the $10 lunch special, and ended up turned off by the high prices. "Biggest problem i think is the prices are too high. this is the main reason i won't ever choose to go back.when i went, i thot i'd be able to get some banh mi and stuff but maybe they'll offer that later or just in the mezzanine bar, not sure. the rice noodle with pork ragout was tasty but $18. the roasted cauliflower was too salty and heavy with fish sauce but had an interesting texture, kinda airy. the shorts ribs with spaetzle weren't bad, i think $28 or something. i don't know why i was interested in checking this place out because i can't stand or understand all the hype over david chang." [Yelp]
The Bad News: Not all have been impressed. A friend of Eater writes in, "Ma Peche was not good. Squid salad ick." [Eater Tipline]
The Good News: Food blogger Edamame details the restaurant's welcoming atmosphere: "The restaurant is gorgeous--very uptown, spacious, modern and reminded me of the early days of the Whiskey Bar. First off, they were playing the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street at a perfect volume, so it wasn't overwhelming but made me feel like I had come home. But if I thought that I couldn't read the menu at the other Momofukus, there was no way I was able to read the one at Ma Peche. It was in Vietnamese. I recognized some of the words from having eaten at Vietnamese restaurants. There were a lot of symbols over the letters that I don't know how to copy here. It seemed definitely more exotic and upscale than the other restaurants." For her lunch, she raved about the mussels. "A cast iron pot of a dozen of the hugest mussels I've ever seen appears, along with toasted slices of baguette. At the bottom of the pot is a sauce that is salty, spicy, and tomato-ish. At first I thought the sauce alone was too salty, but realize once I sop it up with the baguette, it is a delicious soup for the bread and mussels....My waiter perfectly paired the mussels with a white wine from Austria, a Glatzer Gruner Veltliner. Perfection." [The Year of Eating Consciously]
The 'It's Another Momo News: The Eater commenters are on board but say it's just like another Momo. Says one, "Had lunch there today...food's good, service is also excellent. Mix of Midtown workers and tourists. It's like Ko but bigger." And another, "Just ate there. It's basically another Momofuku. Familiar and good. The snails with sausage kicks ass." [Eater Comments]
The Twitterific News: Over on Twitter, @ruthreichl described her inaugural visit: "Lunch at Ma Peche, newest Chang restaurant. Glitzy crowd. Favorites: fluffy frisee with slinky tripe, crisp jowl croutons jowl, soft egg." @ccopland says: "Ma Peche, full restaurant, for lunch: bright cocktails and delish food. Fluke delightful, snails and sausage earthy, rice noodles complex." And @lindsayishere offers some final praise: "Loved the skate/brown butter entree and crispy cauliflower app." [Twitter]