The chef behind the Momofuku restaurant group, David Chang, is probably the hottest, most precocious food talent in the US at the moment. Most of that star power is down to talent but a lot is down to having an uncanny marketing savvy that creates queues of rabid New Yorkers at all his eateries. I hate queueing for things unless I've travelled half way around the world to experience what I'm queuing for! So I guess I was gonna queue.
We couldn't get a seat at his Ko restaurant so friends suggested we try his Saam bar which lets you wait in his adjacent Milk Bar so we didn't petrify in the -5 degrees temperatures outside.
The way it works is you put your name on the waiting list, have a few drinks in the Milk Bar and then a little buxom lady with a megaphone voice yells out your name when a table comes up. Saam seats only about 80 people so you can get quite tanked before you've even eaten. Luckily we were catching up with friends so there was much chatter, and only-in-America stories to exchange. I think it was an hour before we heard our names over the bar noise.
It was too dark for any of my photos to do the meal justice so I'm afraid you'll just have to use your imagaination with a little help from my descriptions.
Honeycrisp Apple Kimchi with bacon (a truly wondrous flavour combination and the evening's stand-out dish for me)
Crispy pig's head with sauerkraut and pear mostarda ( served - and concealed for the feint of heart - in crumbed patties - delish!)
Long Island skate, old bay fingerling potatoes, spicy aioli ad preserved lemon (the skate was cooked with a lovely buttery crust and the preserved lemon provided a tangy counter-balance)
Hangar Steak with romesco, cauliflower, marcona almonds ( a bit too chewy but enjoyed the addition of crunchy cauli florets)
Dessert - next door at the Milk Bar
Soft serve cereal milk ( made apparently with pureed cornflakes giving it a malty, baby food flavour. Odd sounding I know but I loved it!)
Chocolate Chip Cake layered with passionfruit curd, chocolate crumbs, and coffee butter cream (mmmmm....)
Crack Pie - chewy caramel toffee on a butterscotch biscuit honeycomb crumb base (rich but moorish and with a name like that I had to try it)
Overall I enjoyed the experience, food and vibe. Didn't enjoy the cattle round-up, food-lot vibe at the beginning. Felt I was at the epicentre of the food universe though - even if it was just for one night!