Keith and I went to Momofuku in City Center for an early dinner and I was surprised by how packed the place was. Since we had reservations, we were seated right away. (As we were leaving, there was quite a line out front and I overheard that wait times were up to 90 minutes for a table.) The dining room has a large loft feel with super tall warehouse style ceilings, graffiti walls, and pop music pumping in the dimly lit space. I suspect it is much brighter during the day, as the whole side wall is floor to ceiling windows. This large space is quite the contrast from Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC.
Instead of the fried chicken dinner, we came for the ramen. And it was the perfect chilly night for it. But first, we ordered drinks. I had a glass of 2013 Stein ‘Blue Slate’ Riesling from Mosel, Germany while Keith ordered the DCGNT made with local gin and house tonic. Both were clean and complimentary to our Asian meal.
To start, we shared the pork buns made with thick pork belly, hoisin, scallion, and cucumber. While I really liked the flavor of the bun, the pork was just way too fatty for me. I've never been a huge pork belly fan anyways. But I ate as much of it as I could. We appreciated the even meat to bun ratio.
We also shared a lighter salad crudo of sorts made of black bass, yuzu, bonji, and thin slices of honeycrisp apple. For $18 this dish was the most expensive that we ordered, and had great flavor to lighten up the heavier meat dishes.
There are several noodle dishes on the menu, but Keith went for the classic Momofuku Ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, and topped with poached egg. This soup surprisingly lacked the depth of flavor of typical pork based broth. The broth itself was quite fatty, and several squirts of the ssäm sauce (a combination of gochujang, miso, sake, soy sauce, and rice vinegar) did not add much more complexity, though he really enjoyed the noodles.
I ate the vegetarian Hozon Ramen with scallion, kale, and panisse - a wonton-like strip made from chickpea flour. When mixed together, this ramen had great umami flavor. The noodles were nice and thick and overall this dish was very satisfying.
All in all, there are other better restaurants in the area that serve ramen, and the service was not the best in this busy restaurant. If we returned to Momofuku CCDC, we would probably just sit at the bar for buns and drinks.
Total Rating: 3.43
Food: 3.5, Price: 2.5, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5