One caveat of the Momofuku Noodle Bar is that it belongs in the Momofuku family of restaurants, which means you’re in for a wait, and yes, that wait will be brutal. When you combine somewhat reasonably priced food with a desired name in the restaurant business, you get an unebbing line of patiently waiting customers and tourists.
Is the wait worth it? Still deciding. Read on.
My usual partner in crime, Jasmine and I found ourselves waiting for a table, and since it wasn’t unreasonably cold, the wait was bearable. We finally got called, and hurried through the packed dining area. We finally stopped and were seated at a bar, which directly faced the cooks. This was a playful and fun idea, but I found myself staring at the staff pounding ramen after ramen, much like I’d find myself staring at a caged bear at the zoo. I somehow felt guilty, even though I found it very interesting, and couldn’t look away (although hopefully they’d be used to spaced out faces with hungry stomachs drooling in their directions). I think it proved to diminish conversation because I’d catch myself dozed off watching the line cook with poached eggs, rather than talking to Jasmine who was a few inches from me.
Note how hot and steamy it was from sitting so close to boiling pots of water.
We ordered one of the specials from the blackboard, the kimchi pork tamale, which should have been somewhat of an appetizer, but arrived after our ramen at which point we were too full to really appreciate it.
From what I remember, the tamale was actually somewhat bland (not that I think I’ve ever had an especially tasty tamale). It would have been nice if we had gotten it before I main course.
I ordered the “ginger scallion noodles – pickled shiitakes, cucumber, menma.” Unfortunately my biggest critique is that it was so salty that my mouth and tongue actually felt that brininess, and that’s what I mostly remember from my meal.
I am generally a fan of fresh scallions and mushrooms so I enjoyed my meal, however it got a little difficult to finish towards the bottom because of the salt content.
Jasmine got the “chilled spicy noodles – sichuan spiced sausage, spinach, cashews.” I have to say it had a lot more flavor than my dish, which I think can be attributed to the sausage. I tend to stay away from cold noodles as my entrée, but if I could have chosen her dish instead of mine, I would have. The candied walnuts were a nice touch, but as the sausage was a bit on the sweet side as well, I don’t know how it would have been after first few mouthfulls.
Overall, we both weren’t that impressed. I might go back again just to try something else, but I’m not hurrying anytime soon.