Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar: It's Damn Good, Damn It!
What Is Crack Pie?
It contains no crack—no, really—just butter, heavy cream, brown sugar, sugar, and a little corn flour. Endorsed by Anderson Cooper, among others.
"When I eat this (the salty pistachio soft serve) I feel like I'm cheating on my wife."--SE: NY's Zach Brooks, considering how much trouble he was going to be in when his wife found out he went to the Momofuku Bakery friends and family soft opening without her.
I've always felt that sweets have been the weakest part of David Chang's game. Combine that with his premature iconic chef status, and I have to say a part of me wanted and expected to be disappointed by what he and pastry chef Christina Tosi would be serving at Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar, which opens tomorrow (Saturday) morning. It turned out that I was suffering from premature baked goods disappointment (could we call that premature bakulation? probably not.) Tosi, in concert with Chang, really delivers the (baked) goods at Milk Bar.
The sandwiches and savory breads are typical deeply delicious Changian creations, full of pork and fat and butter and cheese. The happy surprises here lie in the (mostly) perfectly-balanced-between-salty-and-sweet baked goods and ice cream. Salt has become a cliched ingredient in hipster desserts these days, but rarely is it used to better effect than it is here. You can see shots of the interior and a copy of the menu on Eater, but you know we prefer to show you the food porn.
First the savory items:
The Volcano: Imagine the most delicious knish ever, filled with potato gratin, gruyere cheese, and Benton's bacon. 'Nuff said.
A housemade English muffin made with deep fried soft poached egg, caramelized onions, and lardons. It's Chang's idealized vision of an egg mcmuffin. I will never be able to eat the McDonald's version again.
Pork and Egg Bun: Another excuse for Chang to gild the pork bun lilly with a deep fried soft poached egg.
Foccacia Chang-style with kimchi and Benton's bacon. Seriously delicious.
Blue cheese polenta bread: A moist but not too dense bread made with polenta veined with blue cheese.
They were out of the chorizo challah. That's right. The blasphemous Chang has dared to mix challah and chorizo. It may be sacriligeous but I'm sure it's damn tasty.
Now comes Tosi's sweet and salty creations:
Salty pistachio soft serve ice cream: The Electro Freeze soft serve machines in place at Milk Bar had to be customized to accommodate flavors like this. Whatever they had to do was worth it.This tastes like the smoothest and creamiest freshly roasted and salted pistachio gelato imagine, only it's soft serve. Incredible. See Zach Brooks' exclamation above.
An oversized pistachio cake filled with lemon curds, milk crumbs, and pistachio buttercream. This is real pistachio flavor on steroids, and the lemon curd is not very sweet. Yay!
Crack pie: This contains no crack, just butter, heavy cream, brown sugar, sugar, and a little corn flour.
The candy bar pie has toffee, housemade nougat, and a chocolate cookie crust. Bonus: it's topped with mini-pretzels for some extra-added crunch.
The high-concept compost cookie contains pretzels, potato chips, butterscotch chips, and, yes, chocolate chips. Sounds more interesting than it turns out to be. The peanut butter cookie was infinitely more satisfying.
Damn you, Christina Tosi and David Chang. You could have been taken down by the hype, but no, you had to go and deliver a mess of creamy, salty, and buttery deliciousness in just about every bite at Milk Bar.
Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar
207 Second Avenue, New York NY 10003 (on 13th Street; map)