The obsession started well before the restaurant opened. The other Momofuku restaurants have been among my favorite in NYC. I loved what the restaurant represented to me. They play by their own rules, and cook food that chefs and serious foodies want to eat, completely without pretense.
When the Ko reservation system went live my obsession became unhealthy. I truly wanted to go, but what I was really obsessed with was getting a RESERVATION. I wonder if the Momofuku website has a counter for all of the attempts made by each registered user. I have no doubt that if there was, my counter would be in the thousands. I actually looked into getting a new computer to increase my connection speed in order to give me an edge during the 4 seconds a day that reservations are available.
At 5:15 today when I tried one of my random middle-of-the-day reservation attempts I saw an open slot at 6:15 for today. I immediately clicked on it knowing that if someone got to it faster than me, it would be over. So after countless failed attempts, I actually got a reservation during a time that Hilary and I could actually go to! We had about an hour to get dressed and drive from Jersey City to the East Village.
Ko was an experience I will never forget. I will spare you the details of the food. Everyone with a computer has written a detailed documentation of each course with pictures to go along with it. In that sense, the surprise was somewhat ruined for me, because I knew what to expect. But by no means was the experience ruined. The food was exciting and playful. He pushes the envelope with combinations of certain flavors, without getting too avant garde. At least for me. (Hilary will tell you that she will eat anything. I am telling the world right now: HILARY IS A PICKY EATER!!! I had to eat at least 3 of her courses because she was wierded out by soft, custardy textures.)
The place is not for the masses. No wines by the glass, only pairings or bottles. No coffee, no tea, only espresso. Wooden backless stools. However, it was so incredibly up my ally, it’s incredible. Ko is a restaurant that many chefs (including myself) have always dreamt of doing. I congratulate David Chang on having the balls to actually do it.