Scoring one of the 12 seats at Momofuku Ko—culinary sensation David Chang's smallest and most ambitious venture—sounds simple but is notoriously difficult: Log onto the restaurant's website at 10am, 10 days in advance for lunch and 14 days in advance for dinner. If a space is still available by the time the page loads, it's yours. A lot of luck goes into it, though, since reservations are gone in seconds. Once you are in the door, you are in for an experience unlike any other in New York. There are no tables, there are no waiters, there are no menus. There is only one room: half stainless steel kitchen, half wood-clad bar. This intimate setup has devotees (younger, more tech-savvy, and wearing tighter jeans than the crowd at other high-end restaurants), as well as its detractors (those who want to decide what to eat or think a barstool is not comfortable for a three-hour lunch). The casual setting does not mean lower prices, though, and this is also one of the few restaurants where lunch is actually more expensive than dinner. Lunch is 16 courses for $175, while dinner is 11 courses for $125. The dishes are constantly changing and you never know what to expect. Momofuku Ko's most celebrated offering, and one of the restaurant's few constants, appears as a large mound of sawdust in a bowl. It's actually a fluffy pile of shaved foie gras atop lychee fruit, pinenut brittle and Reisling gelée, a sweet-and-savory sucker punch to your taste buds.
L to 1st Ave.; 6 to Astor Place; N, R to 8th St.
What to tell a cabbie
Take me to First Ave. between 10th and 11th St.
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