Saturday, December 26, 2009

Lunch Again at Ma Peche (food)

Most people seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Momofuku empire. But no matter how you feel about the reservations system, David Chang himself, or anything else Momofuku, you have to admit there is genius in the food. So when I had business to conduct in midtown a couple weeks back, we went back to Ma Peche at the Chambers Hotel for lunch. The restaurant itself is still not open, but they are serving a small menu from the kitchen in the meantime, including a $10 lunch (with soda/water) that is a terrific value.

My friend had the banh mi maison, a three terrine sandwich with daikon, carrots, cucumber, and cilantro. It looked just as good as when I had it last time.

This bun de riz was also from the lunch set and featured rice noodles, pork ragout, saw leaf herb. This was flavorful and fragrant, but there is something about this dish that I do not like. Similar to his spicy pork sausage and rice cakes with chinese broccoli and crispy shallots served at Ssam Bar, the rice noodles were crisped on the outside. I understand that completely if they crisped the outside of something that was soft. But both the rice noodles in this dish and the rice cakes at Ssam were chewy and dense. With something that I have to keep chewing at, the crisp outside quickly turns into a tough, hard, layer that's uncomfortable to chew through. The flavors of both those dishes are great, but that texture just doesn't work for me.

We added this course, because frankly, there's not a ton of food in the midtown lunch special. Although served in the same way as last time, the terrine this time had pork, chestnuts, and bacon. The bacon flavor definitely came out and the chestnuts added an interesting texture component to the terrine.

While we're all anxious to see what the full restaurant can do, I'm very happy to have lunch here if I'm in the area. The couches are very comfortable and the food is not expensive for a hotel just south of Central Park. I wouldn't go out of my way to have lunch here, but it seems like it would be a terrific place for the big-time shoppers to chill and refresh.

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