Times critic Pete Wells has one star to give to David Chang’s latest Momofuku concept, the fast-casual bread bar called Bāng Bar that slid into Time Warner Center in October. The critic positions it as a possible subversion to the otherwise high-end, expensive restaurants in the fancy shopping mall, writing that it’s “essentially a shawarma stand.”
The takeout spot, plagued with lengthy lines in its first few months, serves Korean-style wraps filled with spit-roasted meats from 8:30 a.m. until it runs out in the early afternoon. He finds the two $6 wraps offered at lunch — one filled with yakitori-glazed chicken and another with gochujang-marinated pork shoulder, both carved off the spits — solid but in need of a lift due to the sweetness of the meat. The bread that these wraps come in, however, are a highlight for the critic, who calls it “really very good.”
And he also recommends breakfast at Bāng Bar, particularly the mortadella breakfast wrap, made with lardo and American cheese. Wells writes:
Building logs of mortadella layered with lardo and roasting them on spits is exactly the sort of thing the Momofuku group was put on this earth to do. I am glad this revolving meat torpedo exists. I respect Bāng Bar’s cooks — this collaborative effort has no chef, Mr. Chang said in a phone interview — for realizing that the proper garnish for caramelized mortadella shavings is a slice of yellow American cheese and hot mustard. I appreciate the respect the sandwich pays to both fried baloney and Taylor Ham. And if I were in the habit of turning up at Columbus Circle with a hangover in the mornings, I would probably become a regular consumer of mortadella minis with Ssam Sauce. With a clear head and stomach, though, the saltiness can be a little too bracing.
He also praises the cinnamon rolls inspired by Korean doughnut sticks, which he says go well with the restaurant’s Vietnamese coffee. One star.