Last week was Alex’s birthday, and as luck would have it I had been able to book a table at Momofuku Ko for the Friday night. Perfect way for us gastro ninjas to celebrate. Now I am not sure how much luck was involved in getting a reservation at Ko as it was probably more down to sheer perseverance. Ko is a tiny 12 seat restaurant, part of David Chang’s Momofuku empire, and to keep things fair you can only book a table through their online reservation system which springs into life at 10am each day. Trying to get a table this way is not for the faint hearted, many wannabe dinners get dispirited after a few rounds of battling their fellow foodies and give up. Not me though because I knew that Alex really wanted to eat there and after a month or so I was able to snag a reservation for 9:50pm. Ugh – so late but so worth it.
The first thing you need to know is that Ko is tiny. The space could house a sandwich shop or some other hole-in-the-wall eatery but you wouldn’t expect a restaurant serving this type of food. All twelve diners are seated at the bar facing the galley kitchen, and watching the magic happen. Chang has managed to create a fine dining-esque restaurant without the restaurant just the kitchen table. Genius.
The second thing is that there is no menu, and vegetarians should go eat at the falafel cart outside because Ko does not accommodate those who aren’t willing to cheat on tofu. As we were working our way through the tasting menu I was trying to keep a mental note of what we were eating but I failed as I got lost in the creativity of each dish. But, I can tell you that there was an egg with caviar, scallops that had been drowned in butter, an Asian ricotta dish that baffled the taste buds (“Is this Asian? Is this Italian?”), duck, frozen shaved fois gras, and oatmeal ice-cream with a caramelized apple cake. I think there may also have been a pate and a panna cotta, and who knows what else.
It was an amazing experience, and the birthday boy left happy.