I rarely stand on lines for food. It took me four years to try the Cronut. I happened to pass by Dominique Ansel one early morning and there it was. A Cronut staring at me in the face, with no lines. So I picked it off the ground, brushed it off, and took a few bites. It was adequate! In the city that never sleeps, where the food options can be exhausting, lines are usually for FOMO (fear of missing out) sufferers. Perhaps if you are in the city for a short time, and you have your mind set on something, I get it. But for the rest of us, its like going to the Statue of Liberty. We have a lifetime of opportunities and endless possibilities.
But then there’s Momofuku. Over the years, I’ve waited and sometimes even elbowed my way to Ssam Bar and Nishi. And with the new Shawarma-esque Bang Bar opening at the Time Warner Center, a 40 minutes wait for a snack seemed very doable. 5 minutes answering email, 5 minutes on Trip Advisor forum, 20 minutes playing “Woody”, 10 minutes looking for new knife set (can knives be gifts to a spouse considering they can be used as a weapon?). And before you know it, you are in the delivery waiting room, having a conversation with David Chang. Ok, it was more like him saying “how is it going”, and me just staring at him.
This is not one of those posts where I woo you with food porn. Instead I woo with… lines I suppose. Simply leave it to Momofuku to make waiting fun. The line is broken down into three sections. Like a special exhibit in a museum, or in a way, a hospital delivery room
First section: A roped line near, but not directly in front of the entrance. Employees will chat with you, hand out menus, suggestions, knock knock jokes, and explain how the process works. The anticipation builds partly because you cant see anything. When time comes someone takes a small group to…
Second line: The lucky few get to stand by the wall watching the action through the glass. Anticipation continue to build, and so are second thoughts about what you want.
Third room: You now enter a small open waiting room where you place your order and just hang out, talking to the staff or other patrons. You may be given some freebies like rice pudding with kimchi stew, or a potato, mortadella casserole. Both almost as delicious as the main event.
The Bang (bread) like a soft middle eastern Laffa filled and rolled with spicy gochujang marinated pork or chicken, along with the accompanied sauces and pickled veggies. Looks like something you may get from a halal cart but undeniably Korean and delicious. The pork was packed with enough heat and flavor so no sauces required. But if you must you have the Ssam and the rest of them by the wall. There are also two “Dips” that come with the bread like the herby eggplant which is more of a salad. There are two communal tables.
But here’s the best part. The price! In this entire EWZ universe, I dare you to find a NYC post where I’ve said this. But $5.79 for a Momofuku product in the high end Columbus Shops, is what you would expect to pay at a Halal cart. Card only