"SOME COOKS ONLY KNOW HOW TO COOK DELICIOUS FOOD"
Momofuku's David Chang and his talented crew of cooks are folks that seem to only know how to cook delicious food. So it should be no surprise that the brand new Momofuku Ssam Bar (there's supposed to be two dots, an umlaut, over the a in Ssam, but I can't figure out how to put it in), opening tomorrow (Wed.) at noon, serves food I would happily eat every day if it were in my neighborhood. A ssam translates in Korean into wrapped food of any kind. So what kind of wrap did I try last night? Black beans flavored with ham hocks, kimchee puree that didn't taste like any fermented cabbage salad I'd ever had before, whipped tofu that was as creamy as sour cream, rice, and toothsome Berkshire roast pork. It was the ultimate Korean burrito. I also had phenomenal chicken and pork buns, similar to the ones you get at Momofuku, but made with braised and shredded meat instead, and a vegetarian salad with roasted mushrooms that had me believing there was meat in there somewhere as I wrapped it in a whole lettuce leaf . Think of Momofuku Ssam Bar as a Korean-American version of a Chipotle Grill (and that's a compliment). And unlike Momofuku there's even a few tables for those of us old fogies who like to eat facing one another.
207 Second Avenue at 13th St. 212-254-3500.
"IT'S RAININ' ICE CREAM SANDWICHES"
Let's face it. An ice cream sandwich is a beautiful thing, although the cheap commercial ones made with really bad ice cream and gummy chocolate wafer cookies are an affront to our taste buds.
In New York Magazine this week, Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite write about eight designer ice cream sandwiches they've uncovered in Gotham, two in Brooklyn and six in Manhattan. If they'd gone to a Cheesecake Factory location in Long Island or New Jersey they would have discovered this beauty/monstrosity.
Though they don't rate them per se, they do call the tiny pumpkin or chocolate "whoopie" cookie with Il Laboratorio del Gelato ricotta gelato from One Girl Cookies, 68 Dean St. (near Smith) 212-675-4996 the "best of the bunch."
What about the Haagen Dasz Brownie Bars, available in freezer cases everywhere? They're pretty damned good, though they would be even better if they were made with dark instead of milk chocolate.
That said, I look forward to trying each and every one of R.R. and R.P.'s discoveries. I'm going to try and do two a day and post shortly.
"OUCH! BRUNI CALLS THE MERCER KITCHEN THE SOHO VERSION OF AN APPLEBEE'S"
Ouch!! Frank Bruni in the Times last Wednesday calls the Mercer Kitchen the Applebee's of Soho. I haven't eaten at the Mercer Kitchen in a couple of years, but I guess it was his way of saying that the place has become tired and formulaic. He calls the restaurant that after noting that on a Friday night every third table had clay pots of excellent french fries. Last time I went to Applebee's the fries sucked.