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Ko Envy

[Kalina via Eater]

David Chang’s latest restaurant, Momofuku Ko, is all set to open on March 12. Always attuned to his own self-promotion, Chang chose a Wednesday, so that Florence Fabricant can announce the opening in that day’s Times food section.

Dinner service for Friends & Family began this week, and already the blogosphere is a-ga-ga. Ruth Reichl files a review that sounds like it would be four stars if she still wrote for the Times. She is ready to fellate Chang. Ed Levine keeps his pants on, but loves the place too.

At least two lucky eGullet members have photos posted (here, here). Pro photographer Kathryn Yu has a beautiful set up on flickr (here). The photos even show David Chang himself in the kitchen; and there, we thought he hadn’t actually cooked anything in years.

eGullet founder Steven A. Shaw isn’t one of the fortunate few to have dined there yet, but he’s already a skeptic:

Those dishes all looked entirely within the capabilities of the Ssäm Bar kitchen (indeed, as noted above, variants of several of these dishes have been served at Ssäm Bar over the past few months). Maybe the portions in the Ko photos are smaller and the plate compositions slightly more precise, but that’s about it….

I’ve been as enthusiastic about the food at Ssäm Bar and Noodle Bar as just about anybody, and have made the case that Ssäm Bar is the best restaurant in New York right now, so I’m not saying that it would be a bad thing for the Chang team not to be able to cook food any better than what they’re serving at Ssäm Bar. It’s already fantastic. But it won’t get better by virtue of being put on smaller plates with dollops of caviar.

Momofuku Ko hasn’t got a phone. An online reservation system is the only way to get in (preview here), with bookings accepted up to a week in advance. As there are just 14 seats, you can expect this to be New York’s toughest table—at least for a while. I’m picturing thousands of foodies in their pajamas with fingers poised on the refresh button at 12:01 a.m. every day.

Such is the hype that even the URL is a subject of speculation. Eater, who’s in-the-know, posts that “The system will go live sometime between now and Saturday.”

Momofuku Ko (163 First Avenue at E. 10th Street, East Village)

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