Ever since Matt first read about David Chang, he wanted to eat his food. Chang grew up not far from him and is famous for combining Asian and Western flavors together. We’ve had his first cookbook, Momofuku, for a few years and have made a few of his recipes in the past. Then, last week, we were able to visit his DC restaurant: Momofuku Central City DC.
(Bear with me, as I’ve never done a restaurant review, other than a few short sentences on Yelp.)
What we ate
Daily special: Buffalo chicken biscuit – I’m not a fan of buffalo sauce so I didn’t try this but Matt said it was quite good. Biscuit was not quite good enough to eat by itself but served the sandwich well.
Sweet and spicy pork jerky: I really enjoyed this as it did balance the sweet and spicy rather well. It was not what you’d think of as jerky – bit more chewy and limp, but the same idea.
Rockfish with yuzu, bonji, Honeycrisp apples: Served crudo style. You can’t see from my blurry photo, but there’s a whole layer of thiny-slice rockfish (AKA striped bass) under the apple slices. This was absolutely the best thing I ate during the meal. I would happily order three of these next time.
Pork buns: We had to order these as Matt has made them multiple times from the recipe in Momofuku. They did not disappoint. Subtle dough with Hoisin – one of my favorite flavors – wrapping up pork belly.
(This is where I decided to give up on photos. The light outdoors had gone and, well, the food was too good to pause long enough for a photo.)
Momofuku ramen: Another must-order, based on Matt’s making of it from the recipe. This was the only disappointment of our meal. The broth was simply without flavor. The toppings – braised pork, pork belly, fish balls, nori, and soft-cooked egg – were as tasty as expected but isn’t ramen really about the broth?
Crack pie: I’m not even sure what this is made with, but it tasted mostly of cooked sugar. Tasty, tasty cooked sugar.
Cereal milk / fruity cereal milk ice cream: Both are quite sweet, in align with the pastry chef’s taste profile. We both preferred the fruity version to the other. They were fun but I much prefer a closer to savory dessert.
Atmosphere and Service
You sit at basic wooden tables and chairs in a well-lit area with simple art. It’s neither too loud nor too quiet; tables are a decent distance apart so you can still have a private conversation. Music is fun and eclectic but not distracting.
Service is casual but very attentive. You never had to wait for a dirty dish to disappear or a water glass to be filled. But, somehow, you also didn’t feel like you were being served, but helped by a friend.
Price to Quality Ratio
I won’t lie. It was not a cheap meal, but it was rather inexpensive for the high quality. You won’t leave here completely full without ordering quite a few dishes, but you won’t really care because it’s so tasty.
Would we return? Should you go?
I think Matt’s face says it all – and this was before we even ate anything. It was a wonderful experience, minus the ramen as I noted earlier. Fun, easy, tasty.