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Pete Wells Can’t Believe Momofuku Ko Bar Isn’t Mobbed

It’s two stars for the under-the-radar David Chang restaurant

Guests look on as a chef prepares a dish.
Momofuku Ko Bar
Photo by Louise Palmberg

The critics are in agreement on David Chang’s under-the-radar Ko Bar, which today got two stars from Pete Wells at the Times. Wells’ review follows a glowing three-star from Eater’s Ryan Sutton.

The front room at Momofuku Ko, which peddles a $255 tasting menu, is home to an a la carte bar where offerings from chef Sean Gray change nightly, and Wells is in disbelief that’s it not more mobbed. He describes the cold fried chicken as an example of the experimentation happening there:

Even if you’re used to the signature Momofuku move of white-knuckle bungee jumping from the high end to the low, certain juxtapositions may call for Dramamine. Alongside the masterly pork pie, you can find a $5 sandwich of pickled daikon and cucumber sticks inside a grilled and buttered Martin’s hot dog roll. The pickle sandwich is just the thing to eat with the cold fried chicken that is battered three times, fried four times, brushed with a spicy mirin-yuzu glaze and served nearly at refrigerator temperature. I don’t believe I’ve used that phrase approvingly in a review before, but then I don’t think a restaurant has served me cold fried chicken as good as this before.

Beyond the other food he liked — which included scallops with pineapple and shiso; a pork pie; and Japanese cheesecake — Wells particularly raptures the wine selections, writing that he “can’t figure out why the wine-geek crowd doesn’t bring tents and sleeping bags to camp out at Ko’s bar.” His only gripe with the place is that it doesn’t have much for non-meat eaters. Two stars.

Momofuku Ko

8 Extra Place, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 203-8095 Visit Website