week 48: momofuku ko

 molly! i did it!
exclaimed my teacher as he flung open the door to my practice room, circa a year ago.
did what, gordon? i ask. 
i got a reservation at 
mo mo fu ku ko!!!
{at where?}
david chang's restaurant! it's close to impossible to get a reservation there! it's all done on the internet and you have to go online at a specific time and pray that you get a seat! but i did it! and it's going to be outstanding! and my brother is flying in from paris this week! and he is going to come with me and it is going to be just incredible.
i had heard of a momofuku before... but, really, i had no idea what going to ko really meant. this was before the restaurant challenge, it was before i would ever be so brave as to try an 11-course meal {did i even eat 11 different foods back then??}
as i listened to gordon's details of the strenuous reservation process, i nodded, took note, and then continued to worry about my forthcoming lesson. but an idea had been planted... 
gordon's enthusiasm for restaurants was, in fact, one of the main inspirations for restaurant challenge.
so here it is. a nod to gg, my experience at ko:   
the first course set a standard for the whole meal. 
it schooled me.
it said,
you are about to eat a lot of foods that you normally hate, but this time you are going to enjoy them.
like this broccoli.
it was the third time i ever ate broccoli. 
and, yeah, it rocked. and i submitted. do your thing, chefs.
fish 1 & fish 2.
fish 1 was fine, but to sooth me from the shock of eating straight-up fish, i needed those crunchy onions.
fish 2 was the solidified smell of a nice fish store. best fish i ever ate... also maybe the fourth fish i ever ate.
easy. my comfort. 
but i'm starving and this dish is tiny, can i have a bowl of pasta please? 
 hah! did you read my mind?
can i have more?
note: the order of the courses from here on out is a little blurry.
someone insisted on the beverage pairing.
this course scared me a little. it was like, 
mushroom mushroom mushroom,
mushroom foam,
unidentified thing,
i gave it my all and tried my best, but in the end i only really enjoyed the pineapple.
sorry, shrooms. it's not you, it's the times...

the golden section, kind of.
this is the only course i knew of going into the meal.
it is a poached egg whose recipe in the momofuku book is humbling, to say the least.
but the perfect spoonful was like the breakfast you'd want on the last day of your honeymoon.
let's talk about this for a second. 
it is foie gras that has been frozen and then grated, and looks like parmesan cheese. and then it is with a sour-y riesling jelly and a sweet nutty brittle. 
it was really out. 
and eating it, i meditated on what it means to be frozen and then shredded. and then i made myself not think about what it means to be frozen and then shredded. 
and then it occurred to me that somewhere, there is an alien toddler that will not stop crying until she gets this for dessert.
turnip virginity, stolen.
duck that's not inside of a steamed bun virginity, gone. 
turnips are good! unoffensive and really quite adorable.
the duck was good too. by the time it came, i was sincerely craving a cut of meat. 
the only thing better than
it's time for your dessert.
it's time for your first dessert.
there were three main flavors in this course. each as equally distinct from the rest, each as sassy.
calamansi. vanilla{?} ginger.
the second dessert had the burden of revealing that it was time to go back to reality now. 
the chewy, gooey apple cake said winter. it is winter outside and you have to go outside when you are done with me. 
 it was time to snap out of the trance that that damn secret clubhouse of a restaurant puts you in.
our time had come, the ko was done.
after weeks of planning,
after hours in a practice room, shedding my ko reservation technique,
and after two and a half hours of "what's the next course? ooh. that was good. ok, what's next? and then??"
the future was now. and then it was then.
adieu, sweet ko.

...four more to go.



momofuku ko is on 1st ave at 10th st.