momofuku fried chicken « blogging for burgers

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Arterial clogging, part one.

So it was burgergal’s birthday this past weekend, and of course this required eating out.

A few times.  And last week, too.

It kicked off with Wednesday night at Locanda Verde, for a double celebration with burgergal’s dad, (burgerman?) who also celebrated being another year older.  I didn’t take any shots of that meal, since, as you  may recall, Locanda is so dark that none of the pics come out.

But I can certainly write a lot about the meal.  In the absence of pics, I’ll keep it brief.

The meal rocked.

I had been to LV twice but had never experienced the pleasure of eating anything off of their regular menu.  BG had and thought it was great, so I was pumped.  I was finally going to experience something from LV that was not fried or coated in truffles.

On second thought, that doesn’t sound like a good thing, after all.

We started out with some crostini to enjoy with a few glasses of wine.  Some fresh ricotta with roasted garlic bread, another with sausage and pickled ramps (hello!), and a chicken liver mousse.  The chicken liver was the only one that was just “ok”– the liver was too smooth for my liking.  The sausage was exceptional, and everyone loves fresh ricotta.

For actual food, we decided to get a few things and share.  We started out with the lamb sliders, which I had seen recently in a photo and thought they looked eerily similar to the Little Owl sliders.  The taste, however, was compeltely different.  The delicate lamb had only a hint of gaminess, which I love about lamb, and the addition of a thin slice of cucumber and caprino cheese (a soft goat’s milk cheese) brings the slider to a whole new level.

We then had a couple of pastas: the gigante with Sunday ragu, and a ravioli with meat filling (veal, pork, and beef, I believe).  Both pastas were hearty and satisfying, the perfect interlude before the main event: the garlic roasted chicken.  It was garlicky and succulent, roasted to perfection, with some parsnips and other veg on the side.  It was a pretty perfect roast chicken.

Since it was a double birthday celebration, we had to indulge in a few desserts as well.  The maple budino was excellent, topped with roasted walnuts; the toffee date cake was fine, but nothing to write home about, nor was the “chocolate fantasy,” which was billed as something magical but was really just a brownie with two or three gelati on top.  All in, however, it was a great meal.

Part two of the BG birthday extravaganza was Friday night’s dinner at Big Nick’s.  This place was more on my turf than on burgergal’s, but after spending a bit more cheddar on her christmas present than originally planned, it was all that was in the cards for her bday (except for the present and brunch at A Voce– more to come on that in the next post).  Feisty Foodie had done a writeup about the Bistro Burger (I know, don’t get excited for a throwback to the old days in the West Village), and I knew that it was going to be mine.

And it was.

It was an enjoyable burger.  Although not the best one I have ever had, it was a solid representation of Big Nick’s, and I was glad to share it with my main squeeze in celebration of her day of birth.  But, if we keep eating like that, it might be a shorter list of future birthdays.

So what did we do?  We kept eating like that.  Fast-forward to Saturday night.  11.45pm.  Momofuku Noodle is the place.  Fried chicken in my face.

I had high hopes for the fried chicken at Momofuku.  Every blogger in the city knows about the $100 fried chicken dinner, with two types (one Southern style with Old Bay and one triple-fried Korean style with bibim sauce), so I won’t belabor that point.  The point I will belabor is that it really wasn’t anything special.

Yeah, I said it.

Everyone in this town has a hard-on for the Momofuku empire, including, to a degree, myself.  I can’t say enough good things about the bo ssam, and I’ve even given the guy second chances after a dinner at Noodle Bar ended up with me “giving back” the entire meal within 20 minutes of eating.  But the fried chicken was just not anything special.  When it comes to the southern style, I honestly prefer the colonel’s original recipe.  The old bay was not a great addition, and the chicken was so salty I’m still thirsty three days later.  Some of the meat was brutally undercooked (I’ve read about that happening on other posts about this, too), but I didn’t even care to send it back, because it was too salty to eat anyway.  Set me up with some bon chon or KFC any day.

The Korean version was a different story, and it was actually quite tasty, but again, not really worth the hype that surrounds it.  I enjoyed it.  I’ll leave it at that.  The sauce was good, the chicken was (thankfully) cooked.

That’s my plate.  Clearly I still ate my fair portion, and then some.  I gave the chicken the old college try.  I ate a lot of it.  I wanted to love it.  I really did.  But I just couldn’t.  I fell victim to the David Chang-hysteria that has swept this city.

But who am I?  Try it yourselves and let me know how it goes.