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Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner
Dec 17th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

Momofuku Ko is probably my favourite restaurant in NYC, so it was no surprise when my group of dining friends loved the whole rotisserie duck at Momofuku Ssam Bar and wanted to follow it immediately with the fried chicken dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar.

It was approximately an entire year ago that we did this, so my review will consist solely of photos and drool sounds spelled phonetically. Get ready.

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner
pork buns

With hoisin, scallions, and cucumber. Because you’re not going to Ssam Bar or Noodle Bar and not getting the buns. In fact, you might go to Noodle Bar after Ko just to get the buns.

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner
the chicken: Southern style and Korean style

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

Saucy!

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

Spice-ful!

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

So much sweet white meat! I can’t actually choose a favourite between the lip-smacking saucy Korean wings and the crunchy Southern wings with their spiced batter. The mu shu pancakes are simple enough, but somehow that oily fried bread ends up being the part of the meal I most look forward to when it comes to the large-format Momofuku meals. I barely touched the lettuce but plowed through the fresh herbs and hoisin sauce and filled up on just a few pieces of plump chicken; even with eight of us, there was no shortage of birdmeat to be had. The rest of the restaurant, on the other hand, looked on droolily as they stood reservationless, waiting in the perpetual Noodle Bar line for not even fried chicken but ramen. Ramen, people. Make your reservation, and get your fried chicken.

Momofuku Noodle Bar Fried Chicken Dinner

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10003 (map)

Reservations at Brooklyn Fare and How to Get Them
Mar 8th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

The Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare was a hard seat to get well before it was awarded three Michelin stars. I was basically laughed at the one time I called last year and said I wanted a reservation but would only take one on a Saturday, so when my boyfriend said he was ready for me to try–to really, really try–again, I did my homework. And I was successful!

Here’s how you can be, too:

1) Set a calendar reminder for 10:15 a.m. Monday. The reservation line opens at 10:30, and you’ll need those 15 minutes to stretch your dialing finger. Make sure you also go to the bathroom; it could be awhile before you have another chance.

2) At 10:29, dial (718) 243-0050. If you’re like me, you’ll worry that if you call too much before 10:30, they may blacklist you. But if you wait until anytime after, you’ll be out of luck. Remember that they book six weeks out and have a date in mind, but don’t be married to that date.

3) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.

4) Redial.

5) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.

6) Redial.

7) Get a busy signal. Hit the “end” button.

8) Redial.

9) Do this for approximately twenty minutes, switching fingers now and then to avoid carpal tunnel. Wonder how many people are answering the phones there. (What if it’s only one person, who needs a couple of minutes with each caller? Then calling every five seconds is ridiculous. But what if in the ten seconds you’re resting, a new caller was taken and you missed out?)

10) When someone finally picks up, ask for a reservation and get told to wait. (It literally sounded like someone picked up on the grocery store side of the restaurant and put the phone down on a nearby shelf.)

11) When the actual reservationist answers, she’ll tell you that the restaurant’s closed on Saturday for a private event or that Sunday is open to unmarried only-children with two children of their own or something like that.

12) Take that Friday night at 10 p.m. reservation, and be thankful for it.

Brooklyn Fare
photo by Evan Sung for The New York Times

As I was dialing and redialing for 21 minutes, all I could think was, “Why should I have to go through this? He’s lucky we’re coming to his restaurant to spend our money! César Ramirez should be calling me!”

But then I remembered that the restaurant fills up every week and he doesn’t care whether I review it or not. In fact, he’s not going to let me take pictures there, and he’s going to yell at me if he even suspects that I’m taking notes.

It doesn’t seem worth it, right? But as my commenter Timmy Lee said on a recent post, “My wife and I had dinner at Chef’s Table on Valentine’s Day. OMG! Do we dare say that the food was better than Per Se?”

We shall see, Timmy. We shall see. Six weeks from now.

Is It Easier for Celebrities to Get Dinner Reservations? Of Course!
Feb 17th, 2012 by donuts4dinner

My friend Ramblings & Gamblings sent me a link yesterday to this story by Deadspin.com: “Are New York’s Most Exclusive Restaurants More Eager To Seat Jeremy Lin Or Eli Manning?

The site called eighteen of NYC’s most notoriously unbookable restaurants–Per Se, Babbo, and Minetta Tavern, to name a few–posing as assistants to sports stars Eli Manning and Jeremy Lin to see who could get a last-minute reservation where. The results are unsurprising but saddening to those of us who will never be celebrities. Deadspin writes:

Final tally: Manning had only two flat rejections, while Lin had four. Of the restaurants that offered to seat Manning at another time, only one, Per Se, bumped him from his 8 p.m. request by more than a half-hour. Lin got a better offer than Manning once: at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Linsanité!

The only redeeming news is that neither of them could get a reservation at Brooklyn Fare. Deadspin says, “Brooklyn Fare, in a tone suggesting we’re stupid for even asking: ‘We take reservations weeks in advance.'” God bless you, Brooklyn Fare, even if you answered in the same tone when I called and said I would only take a reservation on a Saturday night.

To OpenTable or Not to OpenTable
Nov 17th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

My friend Erin tweeted this post from Kottke.org to me last night:

And honestly, I had no idea this was going on. I don’t think I’d ever considered that OpenTable was making money from the restaurants at all, let alone a lot of money.

But OpenTable has literally changed the way I dine. I basically won’t go to a restaurant at this point unless I have a reservation; I hate being told to wait at the bar, and I hate even more having to wait outside because tiny NYC restaurants don’t have proper waiting areas. Using OpenTable means I don’t have to waste time calling a reservation line, waiting through their greeting that describes the restaurant’s location/hours/type of cuisine/chef’s favourite vacation spots, waiting on hold for a reservationist, and ultimately finding out that the place is all booked up for the weekend. Plus, with OpenTable, I can add all of the restaurants I want to try to my favourites list and see which of them has open spots for any given time and date at my whim. Genius!

I used to actually get mad when a restaurant wasn’t on OpenTable (I’m looking at YOU, everything-Mario-Batali-owns), but now I understand why a restauranteur might avoid it. So what do I do?

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