David Chang's enigmatic new restaurant Ando launched earlier this week with service for 200 people, and a delivery range limited to Midtown East. Throughout the week, Team Ando has been sending access codes to more customers, and now, bits of information are starting to leak from the Momo Mothership that suggest that Chang has some very big surprises in store for this new venture.
Vegetarian Expansion Pack
The opening menu features a handful of extra-hearty entrees, all of which contain meat, but the menu might soon get some new vegetarian items. Last night, Food & Wine's Kate Krader attended some sort of private meal where these dishes were served:
Fun and Games?
At another private opening party last night, the spread included chicken tenders like the ones that Ando's friends and family received last week. One attendee tells Eater that they were different from the fried chicken that's currently on the menu in terms of texture and seasoning. Also of note: The party was full of video game iconography — old N64 consoles, big pixelated food props, and a drink called the "Rainbow Road." With both the food and the aesthetic, Ando is playing the comfort and nostalgia cards.
Who the Hell is J.J. Basil?
Although Chang often taps Momofuku up-and-comers to helm the kitchens of his new restaurants, the chef at Ando, J.J. Basil, is mostly known for his tenure as Wylie Dufresne's sous chef at wd~50. At one point, Basil was working on Washington D.C. restaurant with fellow wd~50 alum Chris Wolff, but it didn't pan out. Chang put J.J.'s name front and center at the top of Ando's digital menu:
A Bag Full of Surprises
In other Ando news, Team Eater learned from a recent experience that users cannot purchase more than $60 worth of food (possibly to discourage group lunches), and every messy order comes with an Ando-branded bib. Here's a Facebook Live video of the unboxing: