Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Those pork buns still haunt me

Have you ever had the pork buns at Momofuku? Unbelievable. Supplanting, possibly, the soft-shell crab hand-roll from Nobu, these are the single finest thing you can eat in a restaurant with an Asian name.

Well, that may be an exaggeration. But still, outstanding. More than outstanding. Exemplary, if that's better than outstanding. Superlative (ditto).

Look at that pork. Look how white the bun is. In high school, during the summers, I had a job as a plumber on a construction site. We used to think it was fun to go to the sandwich bar at the nearby drug store and order sandwiches that we would eat with our unwashed hands. It was a guy thing. Or a red-neck thing. Anyway, I can honestly say that our hands were so dirty you could see the fingermarks we made on the buns. Quick reminder: this was construction plumbing, so we're talking dirt and grease, not you-know-what. Looking at the mushroom white/bottom-of-a-fish white of the pork bun above arouses a number of sensations within the old noggin, including the memory of those plumbing days. Like that Proust guy with those cookies.

All of which brings us to this--the computerized reservation page for Momofuku Ko, the supercharged, 14-seat, prix-fixe jewel in the crown of the Momofuku empire. I'd show it to you, but the cutandpaste thing doesn't seem to work for the image. That said, forced to improvise for your benefit, dear reader, it looks something like this:


The #s indicate seating times and the Xs indicate, of course, seats that are not currently available. There are, I assume, big Os for times when you can actually make a reservation, but in my history of going online and trying to get a reservation (the only way you can actually do so--no phone; no stopping by to say "Hello. And oh, by the way..."), it is the Xs that have prevailed. Exclusively. Or: Xclusively. Without Xception.

This is the line at Momofuku Ko.

You sit at the counter, barely visible on the right side of the image. And even though it is an omakase-style dining experience (お任せ--if you only speak Japanese and are visiting The Year of Magical Painting for the first time), if you are seated with a woman (and you are a man), she gets slightly different stuff than you do. It's a gender-discrimination thing. Or a red-neck thing.

Anyway, the thinking here was that with the damned place now being about a year old, and the economy in pieces and all that grim stuff, a stray O might pop up every once in a while.

Apparently, no. Which Xasperates me.


Post a Comment

<< Home