Thursday, November 19, 2009

Momofuku Overload Part 2 (food)

Part 2 of the Momofuku overload consists of the fried chicken lunch/dinner they serve at the Momofuku Noodle Bar. This meal requires a special reservation through the system just like a reservation at Ko or the Bo Ssam at Ssam Bar. However, I actually think it's the hardest reservation to get. Even though you go through the same process, there are less available time slots and I assume more competition, since the fried chicken meal is significantly cheaper.

After spending a good deal of time trying to get a reservation, I finally got one for a 2pm lunch last Friday. They allow 4 to 8 people per reservation, and I chose to go with a total of 4 people. I'd read that the meal consisted of 2 whole chickens, and considering that eating half a chicken isn't outrageous at all, I thought we'd handle the food easily. Then came the chicken.

That is a big plate of chicken. The fried chicken meal consists of a korean style fried chicken (the redder, sauced, chicken parts on the left) that is triple-fried and a Southern style buttermilk fried chicken seasoned with Old Bay.

Also included in the meal is this bowl of fresh vegetables and herbs to be eaten with the chicken and wrapped into mushu-type pancakes with the dipping sauces.
And these are the dipping sauces. Clockwise from the top: hoisin sauce, scallion sauce, jalapeno garlic, and korean red pepper paste.

Let's start with the Korean fried chicken. The triple frying created a terrifically crisp skin that is common to Korean-style fried chicken. I thought there was a good seasoning to the sauce that was not overly sweet like some other Korean fried chicken that I've had before. With the crispy thinner skin, this was perfect to cut into slices and put into wraps with the vegetables and the dipping sauces. Of the sauces, everyone thought that the scallion and the garlic jalapeno were superior, and I frequently added both to my wraps. The crisp skin, juicy meat, fresh vegetables and herbs, fragrance of the scallions, and little kick from the jalapeno garlic all wrapped up was pure deliciousness. The weakest part of the meal was in fact the mushu pancakes which were dry and hard at times.

While the Korean style chicken was tasty, the buttermilk fried chicken was extraordinary. Taste-wise, it might not be for everybody. While I enjoyed it, I can easily see how some people wouldn't like the mix of Old Bay in their fried chicken. What made this fried chicken special was how incredibly moist it was. The outer coating was not like a skin, but rather more like a shell, that protected the meat from outside exposure. While the coating was thick, it was well seasoned and crunchy, and not hard to bite through.

Overall, it was just a great meal and a fun time. The food is great and you get to be hands-on with the wraps and stuff. While we could each eat a good amount of food, we decided that six people was probably the best number for the meal. The cost for the meal is 100+t/t, and that's a great deal as it will feed 6 easily. I highly recommend the meal, but the hard part is getting the reservation.

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