Momofuku Ssäm Bar for lunch

Mini burger, CHOMPED

A few weekends ago, I’ve went to brunch with Robyn, Kåre, Alex, and K at Dumont Burger (that’s their burger on the photo above) a few weekends ago (click here for my photo set) I’m not writing about them since it’s covered by Robyn. (To keep it short and sweet about the burger, the beef patty is tasty but the ciabatta bun ain’t working for me.)

During brunch, Robyn and K has spoken about the awesomeness of Momofuku Ssäm Bar‘s prix fixe lunch. Thinking about it, it’s been about a year since I’ve eaten there and thought it’s about time to haul my butt from the Upper East Side from work and eat there for lunch.

Momofuku Ssam Prix Fixe Menu
This is what I’m talking about…

Arriving there around 12 PM, the place is a lot more calmer compared to what I remembered during the evenings when I ate there for dinner. I grabbed a seat at the bar and practically started to order after sitting down for a few minutes.

Sprecher Root Beer
Root beer served in a Mason jar

Curious about the root beer menu after talking to one of the guys working at the bar, I’ve ordered Sprecher‘s root beer since I heard it’s delicious and he told me that it’s very smooth. What sort of surprised me was the fact that it’s served in a Mason jar – how cute. But in terms of the actual root beer, it was indeed awesome as I’ve heard. It’s nicely spiced, smooth and drinking a whole bottle by is sort of a feat for me (it’s like 14 ounces) to finish this in one sitting. It’s best to share it with someone else unless you’re really parched.

Apple Kimchi Salad
Apple Kimchi Salad

Starting off my lunch was the apple kimchi salad. I remembered eating this before and I think it tasted as good as ever. The crisp, sweet, pickled yet spicy honeycrisp apples worked well with the tangy, creamy maple labne (thick yogurt). The salty, smoky, and crisp slices of bacon added onto the crisp texture and added the lovely bacon-y pork flavor. Mmmm…

Satur Farms Fried Brussels Sprouts
Fried Brussels Sprouts

I added an additional course, Satur Farms fried brussels sprouts to my lunch. I can’t help it since I love their version of brussels sprouts. What is there not to love about it? It’s deep fried, plays with the salty (from the fish sauce), bitter and sweet (from the cooked/fried brussels sprouts), crunchy (from the puffed rice) and it sort of has a refreshing zing at the end from eating the herbs sprinkled on top. I forgot the name of it unfortunately but it tasted like cilantro but not as piquant.

Rice cakes of hot burning love...
Spicy Rice Cakes

By the time I gotten my spicy rice cakes, I was feeling full. I have to try it after Robyn telling me her love for it. I don’t know if they made it hotter than what she had or they made it spicier but my mouth and esophagus felt the slow burn of chilies when I swallowed the rice cakes or practically anything from this dish. Don’t get me wrong everything was tasty – the chewy (fried?) rice cakes, sweet fried shallots, and the minced pork meat. But OH GOD, I thought I was my stomach wall was going to singe. The server warned me that this dish is very spicy but I didn’t expect it to be this hot. I stopped myself from eating this dish halfway and told them to wrap it up for me. I’ll save it for a chile loving friend of mine.

I'm seeing RED


After waving the white flag on the rice cake dish, I drank as much water I can to calm down the fires burning in my stomach. Eventually, my dessert, PB&J was set before me. This is basically a saltine panna cotta set on top of a disc of peanut crunch, sauced with concord grapes. I do like this dessert, as it plays on the nostalgic flavor combination of peanut butter and jelly, but the panna cotta was very salty if it’s eaten on its own. Come to think about it, even when I had a bite with each element on it, the salty zing still remains in the background.

In all, this lunch was relatively a bargain compared to what I remembered spending on dinner (except for the added root beer and brussels sprouts) and it’s a lot less hectic. I just wished my tolerance for heat was a bit higher.

Momofuku Ssäm Bar

207 2nd Avenue (on 13th Street)
New York, NY 10003 (map)


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. joan nova says:

    The food looks delicious…especially the apple kimchi, fried brussel sprouts and rice cakes(?) which don’t’ look like rice cakes. I’ll have to remember it for my next trip to NYC.

  2. Momofuku’s roasted brussel sprouts are my favorite! I always end up ordering more then one bowl. I believe the herb on it is called delfino. I’ll have to try the root beer next time I’m there!

  3. thewanderingeater says:

    VeggieGirl: No worries. It’s not terrible but it’s just too salty for my preference.

    joan nova: It’s rice cakes, well the Asian kind. They come in many different shapes. You MUST go there!

    Eat Me Outta Here: I remembered it started with the letter “d” but that’s it! You should definitely try it if you like (or love) root beer.

  4. Danny says:

    Oooh the rice cakes. I need to find a way to get all the way there for lunch. Do you know if they do this lunch menu on the weekends too?

  5. Norlinda says:

    The rice cake dish is very interesting. It definitely reminds me of a Malaysian “peasant food” recipe. Malaysians eat cubes of pressed rice, notably with satay. Leftover rice is then fried with whatever ingredients the cook fancies. Of course, it’s always spicy!

  6. Chris Ann says:

    The Honeycrisp Apple Kimchi & Brussels Sprouts are two of the best dishes I have had there! And, the Kimchi is a number one top taste!
    This is a must if you are in NYC. Cheers!

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