Finally! We come to some of the dinners we had in New York City.
The very first dinner we had was at Momofuku Ssäm Bar; due to our large group, we had a fixed 5-course menu.
First up was the Diver Scallop Tataki served with snap pea, jalapeno, and dashi.
As it was communal-style dining, we shared all of the dishes… which meant I got just one superbly flavoured (albeit a tad on the spicy side) scallop. What a tease – I probably could have eaten several plateful of these scallops, even with the spicy kick.
The Heirloom Tomatoes with rhubarb, opal basil, and black vinegar was an interesting dish. It was bright and fresh, but tempered by the basil and rhubarb sorbet (which was intense!).
The salty Country Ham was accompanied with a red eye gravy that had a light coffee after-taste and pieces of baguette.
I’ve waited a long time to try Momofuku’s famous Steamed Buns stuffed with pork belly, hoisin, cucumber, and scallions. The pork belly was deliciously fatty and mind-blowingly soft – I loved how soft the buns were too.
For sides, we had Chilled Summer Beans in xo sauce and Seasonal Pickles.
The Bo Ssam, unexpectedly, also included Oysters, but more about that later.
What caught my attention was the Bo Ssam‘s whole pork butt. Look at it… Crazy! Minh ended up shredding the butt with scary efficiency, where we combined it with a bit of kimchi, a smattering of rice, topped with some sauce on a leafy, green lettuce (some also had it with oyster, which was a bit too strange for my tastebuds).
Dessert was Popcorn Cake with tri-star strawberry jam, and caramel corn. Quite nice, if on the sweet side for me.
Momofuku Ssäm Bar is trendy and has a pretty relaxed atmosphere; the staff were friendly and quite efficient.
Every one I met said I had to go to Katz Deli for their pastrami, even before I left Sydney.
I’ve never had Pastrami served piping hot, but I don’t think I can have it served any other way – it was absolutely amazing! I was also surprised at just how much meat they packed in.
The Brisket was great, but for me, the pastrami just had so much flavour that it wins hands down.
The Reuben had the added acidity of sauerkraut to a pastrami or brisket sandwich.
The Philly cheese steak was fantastic, the chicken broth that came with it was quite intense in flavour that the giant dumpling almost seemed bland in comparison.
What I didn’t know was that When Harry Met Sally was filmed right here. Pretty cool.
Katz’s Deli was actually a lot quieter than I expected with that many customers; everyone minding their own business – only there for the food, kind of thing. The guys behind the counter are efficient, brisk, and all business, though my friend took a photo of them looking really approachable with cheesy grins.
I still have a chicken aversion, but the strangeness of chicken and waffles served together really piqued my interest.
The General was fried chicken with General Tso’s sauce served with rice and broccoli waffle. This was apparently really spicy and I was warned off it.
The Buffalo Fried Chicken came with celery and carrot waffle, topped with blue cheese.
At the time we dined, the Chicken and Waffles Daily Special was Mike’s Hot Honey: fried chicken doused in a spicy maple syrup (apparently 8/10 in heat – I remember there was a bit of a kick to it).
There’s a choice of waffles available: classic, bacon and cheddar, dried cherry, rosemary and mushroom, walnut and parmesan, or spiced pecan – we ended up pairing the special with the walnut and parmesan.
To go with the waffles, there were lemon, berry, and herb butters (my favourite was the herb).
We also ordered the Sweet Chick Bucket, which consisted of 3 pieces of fried chicken, collard slaw, and buttermilk biscuit.
It was surprisingly good! I managed to eat 2 and a half pieces of chicken with a whole lotta waffles; my favourite would probably be the Buffalo fried chicken (that blue cheese!).
Sweet Chick was dimly lit (so, so dark) and had such a fun atmosphere; our waiter was totally fabulous, as well as helpful in recommending what to get.
Teresa said we had to go to Fette Sau, a BBQ restaurant with the promise of meat, meat, and more meat.
We ordered brisket, shoulder, and ribs – 1/2 lb of each – with sides of potato salad, broccoli, pickles, and bread rolls. (I’m not sure what’s going on with that random sausage).
Fette Sau was voted best BBQ in NYC and it’s not hard to see why: the meat was superbly cooked and flavoured, but not going to lie… the thickness of the meat made it a tad hard to cut with a flimsy plastic knife.
Fette Sau doesn’t take any bookings, so lining up early to grab a table is highly recommended.
Our accommodation wasn’t very far from a Momofuku Milk Bar (there’s a quite a few dotted around NYC), so it’d be totally remiss of us not to visit it and have some Crack Pie, Cereal Milk (I think), Cereal Milk soft serve, and chocolate-chocolate, compost cookie® and blueberry & cream cookies (I’m mostly certain of this).
My favourites had to be the crack pie and cereal milk soft serve.
I’ve heard so much about Dairy Queen that despite the lateness of the hour and that we were leaving for San Francisco early the next day, I legged it into town.
It… totally wasn’t what I expected and to be honest, I felt a little disappointed. It was more the presentation than anything else – at least the flavours were okay.
From top left: Chips Ahoy sundae, mini banana split, a custom ice cream, and waffle bowl sundae.
One of the guys put together his own ice cream – it was a monster of a dessert made with all sorts of random stuff that I didn’t quite capture (except for the whipped cream on top).
DQ (as it’s also known as) also sells burgers, fries, wraps, iron grilled sandwiches, hot dogs, and cakes! Huge surprise to me, as I only thought of it as something akin to Baskin Robbins.
Grand Central Terminal is gigantic and rather, well, grand; you can read up on its history here. It’s quite a lovely space and extremely good for people watching (or photobombing a friend’s photo [I see you, Mark!!]).
Being a self-confessed bookworm, I felt it’d be remiss of me not to check out New York Public Library’s Main Branch.
I was so glad I went… it was rather glorious, but was really disappointed to find that the Rose Main Reading Room was closed for renovations. So sad.
What I didn’t expect seeing in New York City (in general) were giant street art murals, which were especially prominent in Brooklyn.
If anyone could tell me who did the three heads, please let me know! I’d love to check out more of their work.
I adored our stay in New York – I think I was a little star-struck by the city itself with its wide streets, iconic cabs and sights, unbelievable amount of diverse food places… and there were still so many things to see and eat (we totally forgot about the lobster rolls! Still so sad about that) that a return trip (or 10) is definitely in order.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003, United States
Ph: (212) 254-3500
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002, United States
Ph: (212) 254-2246
178 Ludlow St
New York, NY 10002, United States
Ph: (646) 657-0233
354 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
Ph: (718) 963-3404
Momofuku Milk Bar
382 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
Ph: (347) 577-9504